Is parenting time a function of child support?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2011 nearly 176,000 fathers who were still married and had been out of work for at least for 12-months, stayed home with their children who were under the age of 15. In the following year, the number of fathers staying home to raise their children increased by about 13,000. Florida residents may find this changing family dynamic interesting, particularly when it comes to divorce, parenting time and child support obligations.

Florida residents realize that when two people meet, decide to marry and have children, divorce and separation is not on their minds. However, when differences between them surface, for the emotional well-being of all those involved seeking a divorce may be the best option. When there are children involved, depending on the custody arrangement and parenting time schedule of one parent, the non-custodial parent, will be required to pay the custodial parent child support. Many factors determine which parent will get custody of the child. Typically, but not necessarily, the father tends to be the non-custodial parent.

Thus, the father will be required to pay child support to the mother for raising the child and could potentially be required to pay spousal maintenance as well. Some fathers may feel that despite all the support they give, they do not get to see their child or children as much as they should. In some cases, a father may put their career on hold and may choose to work less to spend more time with their child or children. The effect to working less may be a reduction in child support payments.

From a custodial parent's perspective, working less to spend more time with the child may burden them and require them to work more and in the process, see their child or children less often. This change in the traditional dynamic may be frustrating and could potentially lead a custodial parent to take the non-custodial parent to court.

Child support disputes and parenting time disputes may arise between parties arise due to the gradually changing traditional role of who should take care of children. Before it gets too acrimonious, it may help the parties to contact a family law attorney for more information on modifying child support obligations and/or drafting a new parenting time schedule that is in the best interests of all involved.

Source: Huffington Post Divorce, "Divorced Dads Who Choose Parenting Over Income and Child Support: Sinners or Saints?," B. Robert Farzad, Feb. 24, 2014

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