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child support

3 Myths About Child Support and Custody

Divorce is a terrible experience for most people. You’d be hard-pressed to find many people with good things to say about their divorce. Besides being happy the process is over, there’s not much else positive or happy to discuss the experience. Legal representation can make a huge difference between a manageable experience and a trying one. While you’re going through the process, it’s normal to hear divorce urban legend or myths that make claims about how things will happen and what you can expect.

Every divorce is different, and hearing what happened in someone else’s divorce can help you feel better about navigating an unfamiliar process. When you hear the outcomes of a friend’s divorce, it’s tempting to believe that your divorce will follow suit. It’s important to know what information you can believe and what is essentially well-intentioned advice. Your legal representative can help you sort through useful information and myths that are nothing more than misinformation.

  1. “My friend’s kids see their dad every other weekend, and they alternate major holidays. They said that’s the standard timesharing agreement.”

This is a myth. Timesharing is arrangements change based on the case. Couples have input regarding their wishes, but the state of Florida has minimum guidelines and factors it considers before establishing a schedule. Most cases come to a 60/40 split, but the judge will consider many factors. In Fla. Stat. 61.13, there are 22 factors used by the judge when creating timesharing agreements.

Some of the top factors considered:

  • Children’s safety and stability
  • Loss and disruption in children’s life
  • Limiting children’s exposure to conflict
  • Increase relationship between children and parents

Timesharing agreements can change based on the age of the child, and families will modify the schedules based on the needs of the children and families as they evolve.

  1. “My friend and his ex-spouse have a 50/50 split, so they don’t have to pay child support.”

This is a very prevailing myth consistently making the rounds, but it’s very untrue. Time divisions and sharing are taken into account in child support calculations, but it’s not the sole factor. Florida’s child support guidelines take the income of both parents into account. The court will consider who is paying for childcare expenses, health insurance, and the total number of overnights and use those numbers to calculate child support. The goal is the child’s well-being and equity in financial responsibility. If one party makes far more money than the other party or pays the majority of child-related expenses, equal timesharing percentages won’t carry as much weight.

  1. “My only child just became a teenager. They can tell the judge where they want to live.”

No statute in Florida law states a child must be heard in court or dictate their custody at a certain age. The judge decides if they will accept the testimony of any child. The judge bases this decision on maturity rather than age. Parents can consider the wishes of their child when putting the parenting plan together, and the judge will consider the plan, but as previously stated, it’s only one factor in the 22 outlined in Fla. Stat. 61.13.

It’s only human nature to poll friends and find out as much information about the process as possible, but it can harm your case if you believe what you’ve heard more than what your legal representation may be telling you.

Beatriz Zyne, P.A., can develop a strategy for your custody agreement in Miami. Call us now at (305) 876-6138 to schedule a consultation.