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Child Support

Florida child support: Party's own misdeeds is not a basis to set aside a final judgment

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Florida Rule of Family Law Procedure 12.540 allows a party to file a motion to set aside a judgment based on fraud, mistake or excusable neglect. In alleging fraud, a party must point to specific acts and show that the opposing party knowingly committed fraud. In the case Corrigan v. Vargas, 5D18-2158 (Fla. 5th DCA April 5, 2019), the appellate court reviewed a trial court’s decision to set aside a final judgment as to child support based on the father’s representation that fraud was committed in determining his income at mediation.

Florida child support: Error to find present ability to pay without alleged contemnor's appearance at hearing

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

When a parent fails to pay child support in Florida, he or she can be held in contempt of court. The consequences of this may include incarceration, fines and suspension of a driver’s license, among other punishments. Before a parent is held in contempt, Florida law contains certain safeguards that promote a fair process. This is evident in the case Seaman v. Seaman, 5D18-2020 (Fla. 5th DCA March 22, 2019).

Florida child support: Error to include as taxable income employment benefits that do not reduce living expenses

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Calculating a parent’s income for purposes of establishing child support in Florida requires the court to make findings regarding a parent’s gross income and the net income after allowable deductions. Florida Statute Chp. 61.30 lists what is considered gross income and the deductions that will be used to arrive at a parent’s net income.

Payment plans for attorneys' fees require factual findings

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Attorneys’ fees can be awarded in a child support case, including modification matters. In the case Scire v. Hoffman, 4D18-1606 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019), the father appealed an order awarding attorneys’ fees and costs to the mother in a modification of child support. The court awarded over $16,000 in fees to the mother, payable to the father in equal monthly installments over a 5-year period.

Ordering Florida child support requires findings to be made

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Calculating child support in Florida is controlled by Florida Statute 61.30. The Statute goes over the type of income that will be considered in calculating support as well as any discretion the court has in adjusting the child support guidelines. The Florida child support guidelines are based on the net incomes of the parents, any daycare or medical insurance premiums being paid as well as a threshold amount of overnight timesharing being exercised by the parents.

Florida child support: Determining the retroactive period in an administrative proceeding

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Child support may be established via an administrative proceeding in which documents are sent to the parties by mail to establish child support. If a party disagrees with the proposed child support amount in mailed documents, he or she may request a hearing. As part of this process, retroactive child support can be established. Retroactive child support is that which was owed prior to the order being entered establishing the child support obligation. How far back can retroactive support be ordered?

Florida child support: when a party ignores administrative support proceedings

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

The State of Florida is authorized to initiate child support proceedings by serving a parent with notice of a proceeding to establish an administrative support order. This process is done by mail with a parent mailing requested proof of income and the Department of Revenue creating a proposed order to be sent to the parent who will pay child support. If the party disagrees with the order he or she can request a hearing. Because failure to respond to these documents could result in the entry of an order against a party which may not have accurate information, it is important not to ignore these mailed notices.

Florida child support: Competent, substantial evidence required to establish business losses

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

To calculate child support in Florida, a Court looks at the incomes of both parents. Income is defined by Florida Statute 61.30 and includes business income. When using business income to calculate child support, Florida law requires the court to subtract ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income from a party’s gross business income.

Imputation of income in Florida child support case reversed in recent appellate case

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Imputing child support in a Florida child support case requires more than a hunch that a parent is not earning his or her full potential in salary. A party seeking to impute income to the other parent must show the parent is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed, and the amount of income to impute. In the case Windsor v. Windsor, 1D19-764 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), we see this standard applied to a real life set of facts.

Modification of Florida child support for an 18-year-old still in high school

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

According to the Florida Statutes, child support can be ordered to be paid until a child graduates from high school even if the child will be 19 when he or she graduates from school. A question that was answered in one recent appellate case deals with whether child support can be modified after a child turns 18 if the child is still in high school.

Do medical payments count as child support?

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Does a parent’s obligation to pay medical expenses for a child continue beyond the child’s 18th birthday? This question was answered in the case Dixon v. Dixon, 2D16-3099 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018) where the father appealed an order requiring him to continue paying for his child’s diabetes treatment after the child reached the age of 18.

Florida child support guidelines must be supported by competent, substantial evidence

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Florida child support guidelines are calculated by evaluating the net incomes of each parent and taking into account daycare and health insurance payments by each parent. Additionally, we look at the number of overnights each parent spends with the children each year to further balance the equation. As we see in a recent appellate case, evidence must support a court’s child support determination.

Maximizing deductions in a Florida child support case

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Child Support is calculated in Florida applying various deductions each parent is entitled to claim in determining a parent’s net income. For example, aside from taxes, medicare and social security deductions, a parent is entitled to credit for health insurance premiums and support payments made for other children. In one recent case, we see how the appellate court reviewed an appeal of a child support order that included these deductions.

The affect of unborn children on a Florida child support calculation

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

A parent who is ordered to pay child support for one child may have other children he or she is obligated to financially support. If the parent is court ordered to pay child support for the other children, the amount that parent actually pays by court order would be deducted from his income for purposes of calculating child support. What about when a child is anticipated, but not yet born, can a court take this into consideration in calculating child support for an existing child?

Florida child support: No contempt where order is not definite or clear

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

A party who fails to abide by a court order may be held in contempt. The consequences of this can include incarceration, money fines and other sanctions. In order for a court to hold a party in contempt, there must be showing that an order mandates the party to do (or not do) something, and that party intentionally failed to comply with the order. Motions for contempt are most commonly used in Florida family law cases to enforce child support payments.

Florida child support arrears related to a domestic violence injunction

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

When a party fails to pay court ordered child support, the amount of payment that is overdue is called arrears. Arrears are considered vested, meaning the person to whom the money is owed has full rights to the funds. An interesting issue arose in a recent appellate case concerning the contention that a party owed eight years of arrears based on a temporary injunction entered in 2007.

Ordering Florida child support for a child who does not reside in-state

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

If a child does not live in Florida, can a court still order that child support be paid for that child? The answer depends on where the parents reside and whether or not the court has jurisdiction over the parents. As we see in the case Keogh v. Keogh, 5D18-1080 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018), when it comes to deciding whether or not there is jurisdiction to establish a Florida child support order, where the child resides is not the determining factor. 

Lump sum child support award in Florida

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.