Florida Child Support & Overnight Calculations

Florida child support is based on the number of overnight visits

Florida uses overnights, or where the children sleep, as the basis for figuring custody timeshare percentages in its child support formula.

Besides income, overnight percentages are a key part of the Florida child support formula. Your overnights directly affect your child support, whether you pay or receive.

Most overnight totals are estimates (and thus incorrect)

Florida attorneys and judges often rely on overnight estimates, even if they are incorrect, because counting overnights is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.

Using estimates means your overnight percentages are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.

How to calculate overnights instead of relying on estimates

To calculate overnights, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to count each night for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.

The leading overnight calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your overnights to see if they were estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Overnights Now

Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total overnights, and you can see how your overnights change each year due to holidays and other events.

You can also track what actually happens, and show how many overnights you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.

Fast facts about Florida child support

In any divorce, Florida family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. A parenting time percentage is included in the child support formula for joint custody.

Florida sole physical custody: The children reside with and are supervised by the residential parent, while the other parent is entitled to overnight visitations. In Florida, sole physical custody is given to the parent with whom the children spend the most time with. The non-residential parent hosts fewer than 73 overnights.

Florida joint physical custody: Each parent has significant periods of physical custody, which allows them frequent and continuing contact with their children. Parenting time for joint custody requires children to spend at least 73 overnights with the non-residential parent.

Florida child support and the parenting time percentage adjustment

Florida family courts use a formula that considers both parents' incomes and the needs of the child to arrive at a monthly child support amount.  The parenting time percentage adjustment only figures into joint physical custody cases.

To qualify for a parenting time adjustment credit, the non-residential parent must host the children for at least 73 overnights, or 20 percent. The number of overnights translates to a parenting time percentage, which is plugged into the formula. The higher the percentage, the lower the child support amount.

Examples of sole child custody and Florida child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert earns $4,000 per month, while Mary earns $2,400 per month. They have two children.

See how the child support amounts change in these examples:

  • Scenario #1: Robert is the non-residential parent, and is scheduled to host the children for fewer than 73 overnights per year. He does not qualify for a parenting time percentage adjustment. He pays $1,126 in child support to Mary.
  • Scenario #2: If Mary is the non-residential parent and hosts the children for fewer than 73 overnights per year, she pays $676 in child support to Robert.

In Florida, the non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent, regardless of income.

Examples of the joint child custody and Florida child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert earns $4,000 per month, while Mary earns $2,400 per month. They have two children.

See how the child support amount changes in each scenario:

  • Scenario #1: Robert, the non-residential parent, hosts the children for 75 overnights. This is the minimum required to qualify him for a parenting time credit, so he pays $1,134 in child support to Mary.
  • Scenario #2: Robert hosts two more weeks of overnights per year, to 89 nights, he pays $1,030 in child support to Mary.
  • Scenario #3: Robert adds two more weeks of overnights to total 103. He pays $927 in child support to Mary.
  • Scenario #4: If Robert and Mary agree to an approximate 50/50 split, or 182 days, he pays $341 in child support to Mary. This is because his income is higher, and in Florida, the higher earner pays the lower earner when parenting time is equal.
Other factors in the Florida child support formula

Florida's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for shared custody child support:

  • Overnights: Unlike some states, Florida does not factor in daytime visitations into a child support formula—only overnights. The non-residential parent must host the children for more than 73 overnights to qualify for shared custody.
  • Eligible children: Qualifying children in Florida must be under 18 or still in high school, where support will terminate after graduation. Disabled children who must remain with the residential parent may require child support past these limits.
  • Gross earnings: Gross earnings are established based on tax records and current pay stubs. Florida law requires the use of both parents' incomes from the equivalent of one full-time job to determine a child support amount.
  • Specific deductions: There are some factors that allow for an adjustment of the income, including health insurance premiums for the children, support for other children and child care expenses, for example.
How accurate child support helps your children

Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.

Here are some other reasons why accurate overnight numbers help you, the other parent and your children:

  • It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
  • It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
  • It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
  • It is compliant with Florida law

Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.

Top 5 things to remember about Florida child support and overnights

To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Florida, remember these 5 things:

  1. The Florida law regarding support can be found in the Florida Statutes 61.30. The statues ensure that child support orders are sufficient to meet the needs of Florida children, relevant to the parent's ability to pay.
  2. When a Florida family court awards shared custody, the children must spend at least 73 overnights with the non-residential parent.  Less than that means no child support credit.
  3. Florida family courts generally recognize that a substantial amount of time for overnight visitation means that a parent exercises time-sharing more than 20 percent of the overnights per year.
  4. Florida parenting time percentages only count overnight visits. Child visitation during the day or into the evening does not affect total parenting time percentages.
  5. Child support amounts increase or decrease depending on your overnight percentage.

Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate the total overnights for the Florida child support formula.


The leading overnight calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your overnights to see if they were estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Time

The leading overnight calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your overnights to see if they were estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Overnights Now