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Child Support

Disability and re-employment payments are income for purposes of calculating Florida child support

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.

Heavier burden on party seeking downward modification of agreed-upon Florida child support

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

When a party wants to modify a Florida child support award, does it matter if the original support amount was ordered versus agreed-to by the parties? If a party is seeking a decrease in Florid child support, then yes, the fact that the parties agreed to an amount matters. The case Medalie v. Sparks, 4D18-1887 (Fla. 4th DCA July 10, 2019) explains this.

Florida child support can be modified retroactive to the date a parent failed to regularly exercise timesharing

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Credit can be given to a parent in a Florida child support calculation for anticipated travel expenses associated with exercising timesharing. For example, if one parent lives in Florida and the other lives out of state, if the parent paying child support will incur significant costs in exercising timesharing, the court may enter an order reducing a child support obligation to account for those costs. In Smith v. Smith, 1D18-2771 (Fla. 1st DCA June 7, 2019), the former husband appealed an order which retroactive modified his child support obligation after he was granted a credit for timesharing travel expenses.

The unallocated support dilemma in Florida child support cases

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Family Child Support

When parties have more than one child in common, it is important that a Florida child support order include provisions which specify how much child support is to be paid as each child turns 18 or otherwise emancipates and is no longer eligible for child support. This issue arose in the recent Florida family law case Stout v. Stout, 4D18-2296 (Fla. 4th DCA May 1, 2019).

Florida child support modification requires analysis of income

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

When circumstances change after a final judgment is entered, either party may be able to petition for modification of the order. When child support payments are at issue, the court must determine whether or not there has been a substantial change in circumstances which was not contemplated at the time the final judgment was entered. In the case Johansson v. Johansson, 4D18-2112 (Fla. 4th DCA May 1, 2019), the former husband appealed an order denying his petition to decrease child support.

An agreement to postpone Florida child support until a parent becomes employed does not preclude modification

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

When a parent is unemployed at the time Florida child support is calculated, the parent may be imputed to minimum wage or a level of income consistent with his or her earning history and capacity. However, there are some instances in which a parent is unable to work at all on a temporary basis. In such cases, the parties may agree to postpone the implementation of a child support order pending the parent’s employment. Such was the case in Paulette v. Rosetta, 5D18-264 (Fla. 5th DCA April 5, 2019).

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.