Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

In a recent Florida family law case, the former husband appealed the trial court’s determination of a parenting plan, retroactive child support, and ongoing child support. The case Johnson v. Johnson, 5D17-4093 (Fla. 5th DCA April 5, 2019) sheds light on what could be considered common mistakes with regard to these issues.

While their divorce case was pending, the parties entered a temporary stipulation as to time-sharing. The parties temporary parenting plan contemplated the former husband would spend between 12 and 14 overnights per month with the parties’child. At the final hearing, the parties stipulated that the temporary time-sharing order in place should continue. However, the parties’ stipulations on the record did not match as to how many overnights would be credited to the former husband. The former husband asserted the parties should follow the order in place, and the former wife stated the same however she asserted the former husband was only exercising 9 overnights per month. The final judgment adopted the former wife’s assertion of 9 overnights per month.

When the trial court calculated retroactive child support, it failed to take into account a part of the parties’ temporary agreement which stated the former husband would continue to pay certain joint expenses on his own such as mortgage payments on the marital residence and bankruptcy installment payments. In essence, these payments were alimony payments to the former wife which should have been included in the child support guidelines.

Turning to ongoing child support, the former husband argued the trial court committed error when it ordered him to pay the child’s health and dental insurance but did not include these in the child support guidelines. Effectively, the court ordered the former husband to pay more than his share of child support since the former wife’s share of these expenses was not apportioned to her.

On all points raised, the appellate court agreed with the former husband and reversed the trial court’s rulings on these issues, holding, “In sum, we reverse the timesharing schedule, retroactive child support, and ongoing child support determinations, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.” Schedule a consultation with a Miami divorce lawyer to go over your best defenses in your case and to help avoid the necessity of an appeal.