How Can Child Custody Affect Child Support Payments?

If you have recently filed for divorce in Florida, you may be dealing with strong emotions as you negotiate the terms of child custody and child support. Whether you receive sole physical custody of your child or you are working out a joint-custody arrangement, the amount of child support you receive or pay may be directly affected by the amount of time you spend with your child.

When calculating child support, the parenting plan, made by the court or by the parents through mediation, is taken into account. If the child spends less than 20 percent of nights with the non-custodial parent, the amount of child support will be calculated according to traditional methods of sole physical custody. If, however, the child has more than 20 percent of overnight visits with the non-custodial parent, the child support amount may decrease, depending on the discretion of the judge.

As the judge presiding over the case determines the final amount of child support to be paid, he or she will look at the number of overnight visits and determine whether these are in the best interest of the child. Is the non-custodial parent keeping the child purely for the financial benefit of reducing the amount of child support owed or because they truly want to spend more time with the child? All of these things are taken into close consideration when negotiating the terms of the parenting plan, as well as the divorce settlement.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.