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Overnights and Child Support

The amount of child support paid has a direct correlation to the number of overnights that the child spends with each parent.  Therefore, child support is not just based on the respective incomes of the parents, but must also include the number of overnights that the child spends with each of the parents.

When you are seeking review of an inaccurate calculation for child support, generally the lack of having a transcript of the of the record from the trial court will be fatal to your review of any errors.  However, child support is a whole different matter, separate and apart from review of alimony or equitable distribution errors.  The reason for this is that child support is not a requirement imposed by one parent on the other, rather it is a dual obligation imposed on the parents by the State of Florida.  See Quinn v. Quinn, 169 So3rd 268 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2015).

The right of child support is a right that belongs to the child, and the parents do not have the right to waive the amount of the child’s support.

When minor children are involved in a proceeding, a parenting plan will have to be either executed by the parties, or determined by the court.  Additionally, a child support guideline worksheet must be filed in the case.

You must exercise caution in making certain that the number of overnights that each parent has, as provided for in their parenting plan, are the same number of overnights utilized in the calculation of child support in the child support guideline worksheet..

If not, when a discrepancy like this occurs, it is impossible for an appellate court to determine whether or not an unintentional mistake was made, or the number of overnights were intentionally contradictory in order to arrive at a certain amount of monthly child support.

Florida law does provide for a deviation in the amount of child support provided for under the guidelines.  A trial court has a right to deviate from the guidelines by more than 5% of the amount stated in the guidelines.  However, a final judgment must specify all the various findings in order to justify a deviation of more than 5%.

There is a point to be made here.  If the intention was to create a deviation from the Florida child support guidelines amount, be certain that the final judgment specifies all the reasons why a deviation is occurring, otherwise your case may be reversed on appeal.

No one likes to face the unnecessary expense involved with an appeal.  It is important to get things right the first time.  Call Alan R Burton, a Boca Raton divorce attorney for valuable advice regarding parenting plans, child support, overnight time-sharing, and any other matters related to family law and divorce.  Mr. Burton professionally represents individuals in divorce cases at the initial trial level, as well as the appellate level,

Mr. Burton can be reached at his office or on his cell phone any time of the day or night, 7 days a week.  Call him today at 954-295-9222.

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