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Everyone’s case is unique. Accordingly, the number that the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet gives you may not take into account your particular individual situation. The judge has the ability to consider your unique situation and vary the child support amount plus or minus 5 percent. Additionally, the amount of child support can be adjusted using deviations. Deviations may be applied to the guideline child support amount to take into account special situations like, extraordinary medical expenses, special needs, disabilities and extraordinary child care. Finally, the amount of child support may be adjusted to take into account a situation where the parent paying child support has a substantial amount of time-sharing/visitation with the child. This is referred to as the substantial time sharing adjustment. 

Deviations

In some unique situations, the guideline amount of child support may not be appropriate because it fails to take into account a particular issue or situation. For example, if the children require extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental or if the children have special needs, such as costs that may be associated with the disability of the child. To account for these unique situations, the court is allowed to adjust the total minimum child support, or either or both parents’ share of the total minimum child support award, based upon the following deviation factors . . . 

  • Judge’s Ability to Vary Amount

    The judge has the ability to vary the amount of child support up or down by a certain percentage. The judge may order payment of child support which varies, plus or minus 5 percent, from the guideline amount, after considering all relevant factors. The judge may order payment of child support in an amount which varies more than 5 percent from such guideline amount only upon a written finding explaining why ordering payment of such guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate.

  • Substantial Time Sharing Adjustment

    In situations where the parent paying child support has a substantial amount time-sharing with the child/children, it would only seem fair or equitable for the paying parent to get an adjustment that takes that fact into account. In Orlando, Tampa and throughout Florida, when a paying parent has time-sharing or visitation with the child for at least 20% of all overnight visits had during the year, the court must adjust the award of child support. Substantial time-sharing is considered to be time-sharing that includes at least 20% of all overnight visits had during the year.

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