Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Is it possible to award lump sum child support in Florida? This was an issue considered in the recent case Masnev v. Masnev, 4D17-1238 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018) in which the former husband appealed, among other issues, an award of lump sum child support to the former wife. 

While the former husband appealed multiple issues in his case, the appellate court only found merit in two of his arguments - (1) that lump sum child support should not have been awarded and (2) that the trial court erred in computing the former wife's income for purposes of calculating child support. 

As to the lump sum child support, the appellate court found there is no authority in Florida law that allows for such a payment. The court noted that if the Florida legislature intended for such an award, it would have included authority to grant it similar to the provisions of the Florida Statutes regarding lump sum alimony. The trial court was directed to consider sequestering the former husband's assets to provide security for the child support award if necessary, instead of the lump sum award. 

Next, the appellate court disapproved of the trial court's calculation of the former wife's income, finding the calculations used ignored rental income and in-kind reimbursement received by the former wife from her employer. This resulted in a lower net income for the former wife in calculating the child support. The matter was remanded to the trial court for proper calculation. 

So, while lump sum child support payments are not allowed under Florida law, a court can order that a parent hold funds in trust to secure future child support payments. This is optimal in cases where a parent is due to be incarcerated and/or has a precarious immigration status. If you need assistance with calculating child support, contact a Miami child support attorney. During a consultation, it is possible to calculate potential child support scenarios.