Florida law requires that a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet be filed in every case. In accordance with Florida Statutes Section 61.29, the following principles establish the public policy of the State of Florida in the creation of the child support guidelines:
- Each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child.
- The guidelines schedule is based on the parent's combined net income estimated to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and children were living in an intact household.
- The guidelines encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and minimizes the need for litigation
Moreover, Florida Statutes Section 61.13 (2), the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet spells out a detailed schedule that shall be applied to the combined net income to determine the minimum child support need for each child. Additionally, s. 61.13 (7) states that child care costs incurred due to employment, job search, or education calculated to result in employment or to enhance income of current employment of either parent shall be added to the basic obligation. After the child care costs are added, any moneys prepaid by a parent for child care costs for the child or children of this action shall be deducted from that parent's child support obligation for that child or those children. Child care costs may not exceed the level required to provide quality care from a licensed source.
Also, s. 61.13 (8) further provides that health insurance costs resulting from coverage ordered pursuant to s.61.13 (1)(b), and any non-covered medical, dental, and prescription medication expenses of the child, shall be added to the basic obligation unless these expenses have been ordered to be separately paid on a percentage basis. After the health insurance costs are added to the basic obligation, any moneys prepaid by a parent for health-related costs for the child or children of this action shall be deducted from that parent's child support obligation for that child or those children
However, s. 61.13 (11) (1) mandates that the Court may adjust the total minimum child support award, or either or both parents' share of the total minimum child support award, based upon the following deviation factors:
- Extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses.
- Independent income of the child, not to include moneys received by a child from supplemental security income.
- The payment of support for a parent which has been regularly paid and for which there is a demonstrated need.
- Seasonal variations in one or both parents' incomes or expenses.
- The age of the child, taking into account the greater needs of older children.
- Special needs, such as costs that may be associated with the disability of a child, that have traditionally been met within the family budget even though fulfilling those needs will cause the support to exceed the presumptive amount established by the guidelines.
- Total available assets of the obligee, obligor, and the child.
- The impact of the Internal Revenue Service Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and dependency exemption and waiver of that exemption. The court may order a parent to execute a waiver of the Internal Revenue Service dependency exemption if the paying parent is current in support payments.
- An application of the child support guidelines schedule that requires a person to pay another person more than 55 percent of his or her gross income for a child support obligation for current support resulting from a single support order.
- The particular parenting plan, such as where the child spends a significant amount of time, but less than 20 percent of the overnights, with one parent, thereby reducing the financial expenditures incurred by the other parent; or the refusal of a parent to become involved in the activities of the child.
- Any other adjustment that is needed to achieve an equitable result which may include, but not be limited to, a reasonable and necessary existing expense or debt. Such expense or debt may include, but is not limited to, a reasonable and necessary expense or debt that the parties jointly incurred during the marriage.
Navigating the different rules and statutes relating to child support can be quite complex and confusing. The litigation team at Segarra & Associates, P.A. excels at making sure that its clients are properly represented in child support matters and that each parties' respective share of child support and / or child support arrearages are calculated correctly.
Contact us for a consultation regarding your child support case. We are committed to giving your case our full attention and are available now to speak with you. Call us today. (305) 742-5042.