Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

A central and interesting issue in a recent Florida appellate case involved the determination of the former wife’s income in computing Florida child support. In the case Jackson v. Jackson, 1D18-3533 (Fla. 1st DCA July 9, 2019) the former husband contended, among other arguments, that the trial court erred in failing to consider as income for the former wife her non-taxed disability and reemployment assistance payments.

The former husband appealed several issues which were discussed in the court’s opinion. First, he challenged discrepancies in the trial court’s final judgment which indicated it was not finding the former wife to be voluntarily underemployed, but later in the same judgment found that she did not need alimony because she was voluntarily underemployed. Next, the former husband argued it was error for the trial court to fail to include in the child support guidelines the former wife’s non-taxed disability payments and her re-employment assistance payments. He also argued it was error for the trial court to fail to consider his claim for over payments of child support made to the former wife. Last, the former husband contended it was error for the trial court to deny his request for the former wife to secure her child support obligation with a life insurance policy.

The appellate court reversed on all issues, first holding that the inconsistent rulings regarding the former wife’s employment status needed to be clarified by the trial court. With regard to the former wife’s income, the appellate court held, “Because the Legislature has required trial courts to consider disability and reemployment assistance payments as part of a party's income for child support, the trial court erred when it failed to include those payments as part of the former wife's income.”

Next, with regard to the former husband’s claim for over payment of child support, the appellate court held “Because the trial court failed to address this issue in its final judgment, we remand this issue back to the trial court for it to consider whether the recoupment of child support would be equitable.” Finally, on the life insurance issue, the appellate court held, “Because we are reversing the trial court's award of child support, we are compelled to remand this issue to the trial court for it to consider whether there are special circumstances that require the former wife to secure the award of child support.”

It is possible for mistakes to be made in your Florida family law order. For that reason, you should consult with a Miami family law attorney as soon as possible about your case since there are deadlines for seeking certain relief. Protecting your rights in your case may start with a consultation with a Florida family law attorney.