Will I Have To Purchase A Life Insurance Policy To Secure My Child Support Obligation?

The Florida legislature has enacted a statue that authorizes a court to order a parent to carry a life insurance policy to secure his or her child support obligation. The statute also states that the party may alternatively be ordered to secure their child support obligation with a bond or any other asset that may be suitable for that purpose, although that is less common than an order to carry a life insurance policy.

A recent case law decision, Beharry v. Drake, 52 So. 3d 790 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011)) held that a court cannot order a party to carry a life insurance policy that is higher than the amount of child support that party is obligated to pay. So, for example, in the Beharry case, the trial court ordered the party to carry a life insurance policy totaling $100,000. But, the party was only obligated to pay approximately $73,000.00 in child support payments. (Essentially the Father totaled his monthly child support payments for the entire span of years he had to pay child support to figure out that number). The appellate court held that the trial court abused its discretion and reversed the decision with instructions to limit the amount of life insurance coverage required to the amount of the obligation it secures. Further, appellate courts have stated that since the parties total child support obligation decreases over time, the amount of life insurance required should correspondingly decrease over time. The court must consider the availability and cost of such insurance and the financial impact it will have on the party before entering such award.

So, the general answer is yes, you will have to purchase a life insurance policy to secure your child support obligation, but contact your expert family law attorney to discuss this matter further and how it will affect your case.

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