Both parents have a right to parent their child. Bad parenting is not illegal. The court will look to the best interests of the child in determining how each parent will be involved in the decision-making process for the child. The “decision-making” that this refers to includes major life decisions such as education, health, and welfare of the child. Day-to-day decisions are made by each individual parent when the child is in their care and custody at the time.
Parental Responsibility may be shared or sole. Shared parental responsibility is when both parents participate in the major life decisions of the child (education, health, welfare). In the majority of cases, the court is more likely to order shared parental responsibility.
Sole parental responsibility is where one parent’s ability to participate in the major life decisions of the child will be limited by the court. A parent’s parental responsibility will only be limited if that limitation is in the best interests of the child, and, more often than not, only when there is a history of abuse, neglect, drug use and exposure, and/or domestic violence.
The best interests of the child is the standard that the court will look to when making any decision relating to the child. In determining the best interests of the child the court will look at several factors. These include:
Time-sharing refers to how often and when each parent will see and have contact with the child. Parents have an equal right to enjoy their fundamental right to parent their child. A Parenting Plan will be agreed upon or ordered by the court. This plan will address the parental responsibility and the specifics of weekly and holiday contact and other ways to communicate with the child while he/she is in the care of the other parent. Time-sharing can be shared equally between the parents in a fifty-fifty (50-50) time-share arrangement, or the child may spend more time with one parent than he/she does with the other parent. Percentage of timeshare is determined by calculating the number of overnights spent with each parent. The Parenting Plan will also determine how each parent will communicate with the child while he/she is with the other parent, such as by telephone, text messaging, video conferencing, or email.
Child Support is calculated by a mathematical formula that is provided by law in Florida. This formula is known as the Child Support Guidelines. It is unusual to deviate from the child support guidelines.
The Child Support Guidelines takes into account your net income, meaning how much money you take home after taxes, and other allowable deductions that are deducted from your gross income. Both parents’ net incomes are used to calculate the amount of child support that will be paid. You are only responsible for paying the same percentage of childcare that you paid when you were married. For example, if you paid for 60% of the childcare while you were with your spouse then you will continue to pay 60% once you are divorced.Credits are provided for child support previously ordered and actually paid for, a child of another relationship, health insurance costs for the child, and day care costs for the child if it is necessary for work. An additional credit may apply for substantial time-sharing. Substantial time-sharing means that the child spends more than 20% of the time or 73 overnights with a parent.
The amount a parent pays for his/her own health insurance may be deducted from their gross income. In addition, a credit is provided against the child support obligation for the cost of providing health insurance for the child.
A credit is provided against the child support obligation for the costs of day care that is necessary to allow a parent to work.
Mary Zogg, formerly Mary Hoftiezer has a multidisciplinary background which helps to provide a unique experience for her clients. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Masters in Business Administration in addition to her law degree. This allows her to provide her clients with a full vision of the financial, emotional, and legal aspects of their cases.
Mary’s degree in psychology has provided her with the ability to listen and understand the emotional impact of a divorce or paternity action. She works to understand how you feel and takes these feelings into account when putting together a strategy as to how to resolve your case.
Read Mary Hoftiezer Zogg's Full Biography ›
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