Although technically child support is a mathematical equation; recent changes in the law make it more complicated than one might imagine.
The biggest change is the concept of “substantial time sharing”. In the not so distant past, it was considered against the best interest of the children to have what has been called “rotating custody, substantial time sharing, or “equal access”. The legislatures did away with that presumption and as a result, more judges began routinely awarding substantial time sharing.
Initially defined as access of at least 40% of the overnight for both parents, recent legislation has altered the nights to just 20% to be deemed substantial time sharing. As a result, if both parents have at least three overnights every two weeks (i.e. 3 of 14 =21%) then you must use the substantial timesharing worksheet to calculate child support. The results can be dramatic, particularly when you get closer to 50/50 access and parents that have similar incomes.
In closing, whether your seeking to establish child support or modify child support, it is critical to remember to correctly calculate the percentage of overnights each parent has.
If you have questions about child support, please feel free to contact my office for a free initial consult.
’till next week this has been Chet E. Weinbaum, M.S.J.D.
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Chet Eliot Weinbaum is a Family Law Attorney in Port Saint Lucie, Florida – Divorce Attorney, Family law, Child Support, custody, handling cases in Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Indian River and Martin County.