By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
Many issues in divorce situations can be settled by the husband and wife, who agree to split assets and debts of the marriage. But one issue that almost never settles, and therefore, has to be litigated, is CUSTODY. The question becomes, “Where are the children going to live?” “Which parent is going to have day to day responsibility for the children?” What about parenting styles? If there are two good parents, this becomes a very difficult question. In other cases, where one of the parents is an alcoholic, drug addict, neglects the children, or otherwise is an inferior parent for mental health reasons, or whatever, these cases are clearer. But in cases where there are two decent parents fighting for custody of the children, it is the job of the judge to decide where the best interests of the children best lie. Custody, as a term of art, is being replaced in new laws using the term “parental time sharing” or “parenting plan”. However, the children must live somewhere, and that is usually where the custodial parent resides, for all intents and purposes.
Aside from custody, child support is paid to that custodial parent by the other parent. The amount is statutory, calculated in Florida by using the combined monthly incomes of the husband and the wife. Florida Statute Chapter 61.30 is for your reference, the child support statute. Lawyers have special softward to determine the amount of child support in a case, taking into consideration all other deductions.
Speaking of deductions, here are the other issues in a divorce case involving children. Who gets the head of household tax deduction yearly? Who takes the dependency exemptions on their tax returns? Which parent gets the child care tax credit? Which parent covers the children’s health insurance for a credit? What about uncovered medical expenses for the children? Who pays for private school or sleepaway summer camp? What about other activties like tennis lessons or piano lessons? What happens if one parent wants to move far away? What if the “custodial parent” wants to move away WITH the children?
If the husband and wife cannot agree to these ongoing concerns of the children, then the judge will decide the family’s future. For more information about children’s issues in divorce, call the law firm of Robin Roshkind, P.A. for a consultation with one of our attorneys at 561-835-9091. Or view the web site at www.familylawwpb.com.