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Is child support ALWAYS exactly what the guidelines tell me it should be?

While child support in Florida is typically decided by the number the child support guidelines dictate, courts do have discretion to deviate from the bottom line number from the guidelines. The reasons to deviate are provided by Florida Statute 61.30. The reasons are: (1) the child having any extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses; (2) either parent having any independent income of the child, not to include moneys received by a child from supplemental security income; (3) any payment of support for a parent which has been regularly paid and for which there is a demonstrated need; (4) any seasonal variations in one or both parents’ incomes or expenses; (5) the age of the child, which can take into account the greater needs of older children; (6) pecial 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; (7) the total available assets of the parents and the child; (8) the impact of the Internal Revenue Service Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and dependency exemption and waiver of that exemption. (be aware that a 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!); (9) 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 (10) the timesharing laid out in a 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; and (11) 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.

If you think that any of the above factors might apply to you, or your family law case, the best thing you can do is speak to an attorney who specializes in family law and who can discuss these factors with you.

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