Understanding Child Support: 3 Things Every Parent Should Know

If you are a parent of a minor child, separated from or divorced from your child’s other parent, you may be entitled to child support, or you may be obligated to pay child support.  How much is paid, under what circumstances, and how that child support is used are three things every parent should know.

Understanding How Child Support is Calculated

Child Support LawyerThere are a number of factors that impact how child support is calculated.  When calculating child support, courts consider:

  • The income of each party
  • The amount of time each party spends with each parent
  • Florida’s child support guidelines.

Each of these variables will impact the amount of child support paid or received.  This part of the child support calculation is basically a simple mathematical calculation.  A word of caution: You may find a “child support calculator” online.  This is designed to provide a general rough estimate of the child support you may be required to pay or eligible to receive.  It is not a substitute for legal advice from a qualified family law attorney.

Understanding Additional Variables that Impact Child Support

There are a few things that can impact the amount of child support paid or received over and above those discussed above.  These circumstances depend on the facts of each individual case.  Courts can consider these additional issues when determining the amount of child support owed:

  • Taxes
  • Medical expenses
  • Daycare
  • Other issues specific to the family.

Not every family’s child support calculation will change based on the above factors.  However, it can impact some families.

Understanding How Child Support Must Be Used

Some people have clear expectations about how child support payments they make should be spent.  However, people should understand the court will not micromanage the parent who receives child support, nor generally question that parent’s choices.  While child support is intended to pay for basic living necessities for the children, including housing, household bills, food, etc., the person receiving the child support is given the discretion to determine how to best spend the money received in the form of child support payments.

Additionally, some people think child support is somehow linked to visitation.  For example, they may believe if they do not receive child support, they do not have to make the child available for visitation.  Or, they may believe if they are not granted visitation, they do not have to pay child support.  Neither of these common misconceptions is true.  Child support and visitation are two separate issues which are not in any way linked in the eyes of the court.

Are You a Parent Considering a Split?

Whether you are planning a divorce, or separating from your non-spouse co parent of your child, you may be entitled to child support, or you may be required to pay child support to your child’s other parent.  Child support can be a complicated calculation, and there are a number of situations that must be considered.  Contact the office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. West Palm Beach attorney Eric Cheshire has been practicing family and divorce law for over 25 years.  Let him put his experience to work for you.  Eric Cheshire represents both people who receive child support, and those who pay child support.  This balance helps him see all sides of the issues.  Call the office today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a consultation.

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