Divorcing parents can choose between three ways to calculate overnights for Florida child support payments, because overnights play such a big factor in figuring child support.
3 Ways to Count Overnights
The three ways to count up overnights for Florida support totals have both strong and weak points. Some methods are faster, while others are more accurate.
Here are the three ways to count overnights:
- Estimating–Parents can estimate the number of overnights the non-custodial parent will have with the children each year. This method may work if parents have a simple custody schedule, such as every other weekend and alternating holidays. The problem with this method is that it is not very accurate and may accidentally leave out overnights, such as vacation time.
- Manual count–Parents can look at a paper calendar and physically count up the number of overnights in a year. Keeping non-traditional overnights in mind, such as holidays or special events, will improve accuracy. Manually counting increases the risk of human error and it is still easy to overlook visits.
- Custody software–Parents can create a custody schedule on the computer and instantly get an accurate count of overnights for each parent. Any time the schedule changes, the program recalculates total overnights for instant updates.
Calculating Overnights in Florida Cases
Regardless of which counting method parents use, all the overnights must be added together, including weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations and other special events.
To get the parenting time percentage required by the state guidelines, Florida parents must take the total overnights, then divide that number by 365. The answer represents the parenting time percentage for the year. For example, if a Florida non-residential parent hosts the children for 125 overnights, this would be 34 percent of the time annually.
Understanding Overnights and Child Support
There are three factors in the Florida child support formula: income, number of children and overnights.
Overnight totals aren’t a factor in sole physical custody. This means that the children spend fewer than 73 overnights with the non-custodial parent. No child support credit is given in sole physical custody cases.
Overnight totals are a big part of joint physical custody. It allows the non-residential parent to receive a support adjustment based on the number of overnights, from 74 to 182. The more overnights he or she has with the children, the greater the adjustment and the lower the amount.
Child support amounts in Florida are set by the court to ensure that the children of divorcing parents will always be provided for financially. In Florida, several factors contribute to the child support calculations, such as income and overnights.