Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony
How does alimony affect a Florida child support calculation and vice versa? Alimony is considered income to the spouse receiving it and is considered a deduction from the income of the spouse paying it. There are direct alimony payments (that is, payments made directly to the recipient) and there are in-kind payments (payments made on behalf of the recipient such as a phone bill or a mortgage payment). Are both of these types of payments deductible from the payor’s income when calculating child support?
According to the case De La Piedra v. De La Piedra, 1D17-3203 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), both types of spousal support payments are deductible. In this case, the husband appealed a temporary order requiring him to pay $2,500 per month in alimony, in-kind payments (such as the mortgage, medical bills, and insurance) plus $330.72 in child support, in addition to over $10,000 in attorneys’ fees to the wife. The husband was a lawyer and supported the household during the marriage while the wife was a homemaker.
The appellate court found error in the trial court’s calculation of child support where the Florida child support guidelines used did not include all alimony payments as income to the wife and as deductions from the husband’s income. This likely resulted in a higher child support amount than the husband should pay. While a trial court has broad discretion to fashion a temporary order, it must be based on competent, substantial evidence. Here, the appellate court found there was insufficient evidence to support the trial court’s ruling.
Additionally, because the parties’ incomes were essentially equalized by the alimony payments, the court overturned the attorneys’ fee award. Florida support calculations require attention to detail that comes with experience. Schedule a consultation with a Miami divorce lawyer to go over potential support calculations in your case.