Like many other states in the country, family law judges in Florida are increasingly deciding to award joint custody to both parents as opposed to just one. Research that shows that children tend to be more well-adjusted when they split their time equally between both parents' homes has motivated them to do this. This latest trend has made many wonder what happens with child support when parents share joint custody.
The idea of one parent paying child support to another began in the 1960s when judges tended to award primary custody to their mother with the father enjoying only weekend privileges with their son or daughter. Back then, the noncustodial parent paid the custodial child support to ensure that their son or daughter didn't go without necessary health care, food, shelter, transportation, childcare, clothing or water.
A representative with the Center of Parental Responsibility (CPR) argues that United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) latest statistics show that it should cost parents no more than $233,000 to raise their child from birth through adulthood. This breaks down to $12,900 a year or around $1,000 per month. This means that each should be contributing $500 monthly to the raising of their child.
Now that family law judges have begun awarding joint custody to parents, they often split time with their child right down the middle. The CPR spokesperson argues that this negates the need for child support.
Even though this trend has become more popular in recent years, state child support enforcement agencies have a formula in place for calculating whether such payments are warranted. It tends to be based on a percentage of the higher wage-earning parent's income. If they deem that the state's cost of living exceeds what the USDA says it takes to raise a child, then they may recommend that support is paid.
The amount that it costs for parents to raise their children can differ significantly. Unexpected costs may arise that require both mom and dad to come together and decide how they're going to jointly pay them. If you and your ex are struggling to see eye-to-eye about these expenses, then a Fort Myers child custody attorney can help you devise a new parenting plan that is your son's or daughter's best interest.