The legal standard in every child support case is for the court to approve a time-sharing plan that operates in the child’s best interest. The court will consider several factors to determine this parenting plan, such as financial and daily decision-making responsibilities. The following is an excerpt from Florida Statute 61.13 pertaining to a parenting plan:
61.13 (2)(b) A parenting plan approved by the court must, at a minimum:
- Describe in adequate detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child;
- Include the time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child will spend with each parent;
- Designate who will be responsible for: (a) Any and all forms of health care. If the court orders shared parental responsibility over health care decisions, the parenting plan must provide that either parent may consent to mental health treatment for the child; (b) School-related matters, including the address to be used for school-boundary determination and registration.
- Other activities; and
- Describe in adequate detail the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child.
The court determines all matters relating to parenting and time-sharing in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. It is public policy in the State of Florida to “provide for frequent and continuing contact with both parents” and to “order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents” (unless it would be detrimental to the child). The court may divide between or identify one party to which the ultimate responsibility falls regarding the child’s welfare, including education and health care. In certain circumstances, sole parental responsibility without time-share may be ordered for a minor child.
In some cases, substantial timesharing is awarded to one parent, which can have a significant financial impact. If a parent has the child less than 20% of the time (less than 73 overnights/year), the basic support obligation is multiplied by 100%. When there is “substantial time-sharing” between the parties (each parent has a child for 73 overnights or more) the child support obligation is a function of both the parties’ respective incomes and percentage of overnights on an annual basis.
Refusal to Honor Time-Sharing Schedule
Unfortunately, in some cases, a parent may refuse to follow the time-sharing schedule. The following is a summary of Florida Statute 61.13 sec. 4.c pertaining to this situation.
61.13 (4) (c) When a parent refuses to honor the time-sharing schedule in the parenting plan without proper cause, the court:
- Shall, after calculating the amount of time-sharing improperly denied, award the parent denied time a sufficient amount of extra time-sharing to compensate for the time-sharing missed, and such time-sharing shall be ordered as expeditiously as possible in a manner consistent with the best interests of the child and scheduled in a manner that is convenient for the parent deprived of time-sharing. In ordering any makeup time-sharing, the court shall schedule such time-sharing in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of the child or children and that is convenient for the nonoffending parent and at the expense of the noncompliant parent.
- May order the parent who did not provide time-sharing or did not properly exercise time-sharing under the time-sharing schedule to pay reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the nonoffending parent to enforce the time-sharing schedule.
- May order the parent who did not provide time-sharing or did not properly exercise time-sharing under the time-sharing schedule to attend a parenting course approved by the judicial circuit.
- May order the parent who did not provide time-sharing or did not properly exercise time-sharing under the time-sharing schedule to do community service if the order will not interfere with the welfare of the child.
- May order the parent who did not provide time-sharing or did not properly exercise time-sharing under the time-sharing schedule to have the financial burden of promoting frequent and continuing contact when that parent and child reside further than 60 miles from the other parent.
- May, upon the request of the parent who did not violate the time-sharing schedule, modify the parenting plan if modification is in the best interests of the child.
- May impose any other reasonable sanction as a result of noncompliance.
(d) A person who violates this subsection may be punished by contempt of court or other remedies as the court deems appropriate.
Parents often engage the services of a Forensic CPA to assist them with child support calculations or other family law-related issues. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.
Harper Forensic CPAs: 727-726-3600