A 2010 change in Florida state law has impacted how child support is calculated. Formerly, child support was calculated by a standard formula for most situations. However, when the non-majority parent (non-custodial parent) had a certain amount of overnights with the child the support calculation used a different formula. This alternate formula resulted in a much lower support number.
The right to receive child support may not be waived by the parents, and both parents share an equal duty to support their children in proportion to their ability to pay. Minimum payments are calculated in accordance with statutory guidelines. However, the court may order less than the minimum award if extraordinary medical or educational expenses exist, there is seasonal variation in income, the child’s age warrants deviation, or there is an IRS dependency exception.
Florida uses the best interests of the child standard to determine custody, parental time sharing, and child support. The factors in considering the best interests of the child include the parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment, the child’s preference (there is no set age at which the child has an absolute choice), and the custodial parent’s willingness to allow visitation and to encourage an ongoing relationship with the noncustodial parent.