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Will the Court Increase Your Child Support Award If Your Ex Does Not Exercise His Parenting Time?


Parenting plans specify in detail which parent will be with the children on which days, which parent has the final say on which parenting decisions, and which parent has what responsibilities regarding transporting the children to or from the other parent’s care.  It might sound like micromanaging, but the court has no way of knowing how closely you follow your parenting plan unless you go back to court about a problem in which your ex-spouse is not exercising their parenting time or is not allowing you to exercise yours.  Likewise, once the court formalizes a child support order, either based on the statutory guidelines or on some other formula agreed on by the parents, it does not keep meddling to make sure that the wealthier spouse is paying, but both parents have the right to go back to court to enforce or modify the child support order as necessary.  If you are unable to comply with your parenting plan or child support order, or if your ex has failed to abide by it, contact a South Florida child custody lawyer.

When Your Ex-Spouse’s Visits with Your Children Don’t Materialize

When Patrick Smith and Caitlyn Cleveland finalized their divorce, the court gave her permission to move out of Florida with the children, because she had been offered a job in another state.  Caitlyn was the primary residential parent.  The court ordered Patrick to pay $1,100 per month in child support, which was less than the uniform child support guidelines would have had him pay based on each party’s income and number of parenting days.  The reason that Patrick’s child support obligation was lower than it could have been was that the parties had agreed that Patrick would cover 100 percent of the transportation costs when the children traveled from one parent’s house to the other’s.

Following the divorce and Caitlyn’s relocation, Patrick did not exercise the parenting time allotted to him in the parenting plan.  It appears that the children did not make any trips to Florida to visit him.  Caitlyn petitioned the court to increase Patrick’s child support obligations to reflect the number of days he actually spent with the children.  Meanwhile, Patrick requested to have himself designated as the primary residential parent.  Both parties submitted financial affidavits.  The court ordered Patrick to pay Caitlyn just over $39,000, equivalent to the amount he would have paid if the children had traveled to visit him according to the parenting plan.  Patrick appealed this decision, but the appeals court affirmed it.  The appeals court’s decision did not deal with modifications to the parties’ parenting schedule.

Contact Us Today for Help

If your ex-spouse has moved to another state, the parenting plan you formalized in Florida is still valid, and a Boca Raton child custody lawyer can help you enforce or modify it.  Contact Schwartz | White for help today.


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