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Do Parents with Joint Custody Pay Child Support?

In Florida, both parents are required to financially support their children. Although joint custody can provide equal (or nearly equal) time with a child, one parent may inevitably pay child support to the other. This is typically the case when parents have disparate incomes, but even a parent in a weaker financial position could pay child support if the financially stronger parent has more custody.

In Florida, the goal of child support is to ensure that children receive at least the same amount of financial support as if their parents were still together, and this concept applies even when both parents share joint custody. Through a combination of legal guidelines and individual cases, it's possible for courts to determine fair rates for payments that will actually benefit the child or children involved.

Physical Joint Custody Matters the Most

When we talk about child support in terms of how much custody each parent has, we’re referring to physical custody. This is the determination of with which parent a child lives and for how much time out of the week, month, or year.

Because living with a child means incurring expenses related to the child’s day-to-day care, joint physical custody may be the only type of joint custody that matters in a child support calculation. Parents may share joint legal custody, but because this determination concerns important life decisions parents can make for their children, it has little practical effect on a parent’s expenses.

Is Child Support Always a Factor with Joint Custody?

It’s very rare for a court to order no child support, but it’s possible. This may only happen, though, if parents share 50/50 joint custody (which is also rare) and have the same financial resource and income levels.

Basically, if all things are essentially equal, the court might determine that child support is unnecessary because the child is financially supported by each parent as if they were still together.

All of that said, it’s important to stress how unusual this scenario would be and that child support is ordered in the majority of cases.

We Can Help with Child Support

Our legal team at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. has extensive experience representing both paying and receiving parents, and we understand the complex nature of child support laws. We can help guide you through the process and make sure your rights are protected and your best interests are always represented.

Learn more about how we can help during a consultation. Contact us now to get started.