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Is Child Support Awarded When Both Parents Share Custody 50/50 in Florida?


One of the most common misconceptions about child support in Florida is that a judge may only order support if one parent has more custody than their former spouse. That’s not how child support works in Florida.

To answer the question: yes, child support may be awarded when both parents split physical custody 50/50. The parents’ income plays a bigger role in determining who will pay child support when they have 50/50 joint custody in Florida.

How Child Support is Awarded in Florida

Contrary to popular belief, child support awards are not based solely on which parent has more custody rights to the child. In most cases where parents have 50/50 joint custody, one of the parents is ordered to pay child support to the other parent.

Typically, the non-custodial parent – the parent who spends less time with the kids – pays child support. However, the child support award may be based on the parents’ total monthly income and expenses when both parents share joint custody, and their custody time is evenly split.

Judges consider a variety of factors to determine whether to award child support. Each parent’s income and earning potential plays the most prominent role in deciding whether to award child support or not. As a rule of thumb, the higher-earning parent is ordered to pay child support. According to the Florida Statutes Section 61.13, the court may also consider other factors:

  • The financial ability of each parent
  • Monthly expenses
  • Childcare and healthcare costs
  • Daycare expenses
  • The needs of the child
  • Insurances
  • Income tax deductions
  • The standard of living
  • How much time the child spends with each parent

Can a Florida Court Award No Child Support?

According to Florida’s Child Support Guidelines, a court cannot award no child support because both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their child. However, on the odd chance that each parents’ annual income is exactly the same and they split custody 50/50, a judge may not award any child support.

If one parent makes more money than the other, the higher-earning parent may be required to pay child support. However, if the higher-earning spouse pays for the child’s insurance, daycare expenses, and covers many other costs related to the wellbeing of their child, the judge may decide that child support is not necessary if the parents split custody 50/50.

Child support awards in Florida are calculated based on the state’s guidelines. Under Florida law, both parents are legally required to financially support their children. How much each parent is required to pay depends on (a) how much time the child spends with both parents and (b) each parent’s earnings.

It is advised to consult with an Orlando child support attorney to determine whether you will have to pay child support if you have joint 50/50 custody. Our attorneys at Donna Hung Law Group will review your unique situation to determine who would be required to make support payments in your case. Call at 407-999-0099 for a case evaluation.