One of the biggest sufferers of any divorce apart from the two people involved are the children. Most jurisdictions around the world have detailed laws for safeguarding the interest of kids during a separation. In this article, we are discussing the various aspects related to child support in Florida divorces. The state’s law stipulates that people have a legal obligation to support their offspring. There are clear guidelines to determine a fair amount for sustaining a child’s development. In this article, we will discuss the various aspects of child support in the state. If you have kids and are thinking of separation, then you must read this article before approaching any of the top divorce attorneys in Florida.
Parents Are Legally Bound To Pay Child Support
The state’s laws specify that child support is mandatory. This means that parents are legally bound to pay the amount fixed by a court. It has been done to ensure that a minor’s development is not affected by the separation of the parents. Receiving financial assistance from parents is a legal right enjoyed by every child in Florida. A parent or a caregiver can submit an application on the behalf of a kid who is in need of help. Kids receive monetary assistance from parents until they reach the age of 18 years. The aid can continue if the child has not passed from high school or is suffering from any disability.
What Does The Support Amount Cover?
The basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing which every human being requires are covered by the support amount. Anything which is vital for a kid’s complete development like education, sports, travel, and other leisure activities is also covered by the money. Parents are also supposed to provide health insurance to their offsprings. Each partner is responsible for paying a specific part of the medical, dental, vision and any other prescription medication expenses. They must also pay all necessary but non-covered medical expenses. Situations related to non-covered costs can easily lead to disputes between the separated couple in the future. In order to avoid such hassles, the child support agreement must include procedure which one parent must use to notify the other of the medical expense.
What Are the Factors Which Affect The Determination Of The Support Amount?
We will now discuss the factors which influence the determination of the child support amount.
Florida Follows The Income Shares Model
The model for calculating the support amount varies from one state to another. Ask your divorce attorney in Fort Pierce and she will tell you that Florida uses the income shares model. It is based on the principle that a minor must receive the same proportion of money from a parent which he/she would have received in an intact household. Let us now take a look at the factors which play a key role in determining the amount for child support in Florida divorces.
1. Parental Income
The basic factor which impacts the calculation of the assistance money is parental income. All wages or salary received by a person or workers’ compensation benefits are treated as that person’s income. The money earned from a rented property, self-owned business, partnership firm or corporation is also considered to be the same. Even the compensation received by an unemployed individual qualifies as parental income. Social security benefits, pension, retirement, and annuity benefits can also be considered by the court as a person’s earnings. Dividend and interests, as well as royalties and estates, also qualify as an individual’s income. The state has notified what all can be considered as parental income. However, earnings are not limited to this list and a judge can use his/her discretion to include any other item.
2. Number Of Overnights
The number of overnight stays that a minor has at a parent’s home is also used in estimating the monthly assistance. In case, the kid stays entirely with one partner, then the other partner will be liable to pay the highest amount. In situations where the couple has opted for 50-50 time sharing, the chief income earner will pay less money.
3. Deductions Which Can Be Subtracted From The Gross Income
There are a few liabilities which a parent can deduct from his/ her gross income. All federal, state and local income taxes can be subtracted from the earnings. Health insurance payments or federal insurance contributions can also be exempted. Paid spousal support from another marriage and paid legal support to other kids can also be deducted from the income.
How Is The Support Amount Paid?
All people involved in active support cases must register on the child support program on the state’s department of revenue website. Here they can make payments with a credit card or e-check and print a copy of the payment transaction. The website can also be used by people to track the payments made on their cases by their estranged partners. The program sends income withholding notices to employers of people liable to pay the amount. It then becomes the duty of the employer to deduct the assistance money and deposit it with the program. It will be best to ask your attorney to guide you through the process. For instance, if you live in Port Saint Lucie, then you must ask your divorce lawyer to walk you through the procedure.
You will now have a fair understanding of different aspects of child support in Florida divorces. It will be pertinent to consult your attorney to understand your liabilities and how you can fulfill them.