Recently a woman retained my services for a post judgment matter. She had been divorced for a number of years and was faced with an intriguing problem. Last year her former husband inquired of her as to whether he could perhaps spend more time with their minor child. She was at first hesitant, but after giving it some thought, she decided that she would not stand in the way of the “father/child relationship”. She agreed and a formal Modification of their Final Judgment was filed with the court. Her former husband and child were given more time together on a weekly basis. It appeared to be a “win/win” situation for all concerned.
Within two months she was served with a surprise! Her former Husband filed another Petition for Modification, this time requesting a decrease in his child support obligation. It seems that the additional time she graciously gave to him, resulted in a visitation schedule which gave the former husband approximately 40% of the overnights each month. If the mother had consulted with an attorney before she agreed to the increased visitation she would have known that the additional time would result in a decrease in support.
child support in Florida is determined by the Florida Child Support Guidelines. It is based upon the income of both parents and normally does not consider the amount of time a parent spends with a child. However, if the non custodial parent spends a minimum of 40% of the overnights each month with the child/children the support is based upon time spent. This results in a reduction in support. The concept is based upon the theory that the more time a parent spends with the child/children, the more money he/she will directly spend on the child/children. This is normally a positive approach to issue of support.
For my client, however, was faced with a situation she never anticipated. By agreeing to give her former Husband additional time with their child she was now facing a rather substantial decrease of several hundred dollars a month. For a single mom this could be a financial dilemma. The law requires a mandatory reduction in support based upon the increased time sharing. It appears however that the court can adjust the amount based upon a number of factors including the economic hardship it might cause for the child.
In any event, we settled the case for an amount less than what she was previously receiving. She mentioned to me how she wished she had consulted with me before she agreed to the extra time. Hopefully, those of you who need the advice of a lawyer will keep that in mind.
If you are currently facing a potential change to your child support judgment, or have general questions about child support terms, contact the premier child support lawyer in Broward, Evan H. Baron today.
About the Author:
Evan H. Baron is a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer in Broward specializing in divorce and child support cases. Evan Baron is also a married father of 2 sons and 3 stepchildren.
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