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Florida Child Support Guidelines and Seasonal Income Variations

In a Florida divorce or a Florida paternity case, the law sets out a specific schedule that determines how much child support each party is responsible for based on the income of both parents and the number of children in the family. We have previously discussed, however, that the law provides for certain exceptions from these guidelines, such as the demonstrated need for one party to financially support an elderly parent or certain extraordinary medical or educational expenses.

Another exception is seasonal variations in one or both parents' income. What does this mean and how would a court interpret this provision? One example might be a teacher who gets paid his salary during the school year when he's in class teaching but not over the summer. Another example could be a salesman who gets paid mostly on commission and sees larger paychecks around the holiday shopping season. These are only two circumstances for which the court could deviate from the established guidelines. There are many others.

Bottom Line: If you find yourself having trouble meeting your child support obligations due to changes in your income from month-to-month, consult with the best St. Petersburg divorce attorney to make sure you receive the reasonable accommodation as provided by law.

(copyright Stann Givens 2009)


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When the Florida court decides on the issue of child custody and visitation, the gender of the parents is not considered. For example, a mother will not automatically receive custody of the children just because she is the mother. The judge must only consider what is in the best interests of the child. Florida divorce law requires Shared Parental Responsibility. This means that even though the child may live with one parent, the other parent has equal say in raising the child. Each party must be consulted on the education, health, religion, and discipline of the child. And, if the parties cannot agree on these important issues, the judge will make the decisions.
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