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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Who Pays for Travels Costs When My Child’s Other Parent Lives Far Away?

Who Pays for Travels Costs When My Child’s Other Parent Lives Far Away?

childairportIn today’s age, it is not unusual for a child’s parents to live in two different cities or even in two different states. This arrangement necessitates a long-distance parenting plan that gives both parents adequate and appropriate timesharing with the child. However, a long-distance parenting plan also must include provisions for paying the expenses of the child’s travel. Depending on the circumstances, these costs can be very high, particularly if the plan requires the child to travel from one parent to the other multiple times per year.

Defining Travel Costs

One difficulty with allocating responsibility for the child’s travel costs between parents is defining exactly what travel costs encompass. For a very small child flying across the country, a parent likely must travel with the child. In this situation, does payment of travel expenses include the parent escort’s expenses, or just the child’s? What about hotels and rental cars that may be necessary to effectuate timesharing over a long distance? While it is impossible for a parenting plan to address every little issue that may or may not arise, it is important that you try to define what constitutes travel expenses as clearly as possible.

Dividing Travel Costs Between Parents

Florida law does address payment of transportation costs with respect to a parent’s relocation. More specifically, the law states that a long-distance parenting plan must specify who is to bear the costs of the child’s transportation, and gives the court discretion to adjust the child support award with respect to the parents’ incomes and the child’s travel costs. Furthermore, at least one Florida appellate court case indicates that a court should allocate travel expenses for the child in the same guidelines ratio as governs child support, unless the court makes findings explaining why another allocation would be more equitable. One fairly common way to divide travel expenses between parents is to allocate them in accordance on a pro rata basis with the parties’ respective contributions to the parties’ combined total income. In other words, if Father makes $50,000 per year and Mother makes $50,000 per year, then each parent would be responsible for one-half of the total travel expenses for the child.

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