What Does Florida Child Support Cover?
Children are a lot of things. They’re adorable, amusing and sometimes ornery. They’re also really expensive. When parents get divorced, there will inevitably be discussion, likely a battle, over custody of the kids. But parents forget when they’re fighting for custody that they also need to carefully consider the expenses they’ll undertake as the custodial parent.
Because the courts don’t monitor how the money is spent unless there’s evidence of neglect or criminal activity, that means they don’t monitor whether or not your former spouse is paying his or her fair share. To avoid future tension on the subject (which may have a negative impact on the child if they’re aware of the animosity between Mommy and Daddy), it’s a good idea to consider what you’ll really need up front.
How Florida Child Support Is Calculated
Calculating basic child support can be difficult because expenses are paid by the custodial parent in bulk, not separately for each person. Therefore, when calculating child support, the court will attempt to determine each parent’s fair share of the basic needs of the child or children, like food, shelter and clothing. They’ll also take into consideration the income level of each parent, meaning the parent who makes more may pay more (as they likely would have if the marriage hadn’t dissolved).
The courts in Florida will also adjust the support based on health insurance, work-related childcare and medical expenses that wouldn’t be covered by health insurance. But there are certain expenses that the court won’t automatically cover, which is why it pays to make sure you have a lawyer in divorce proceedings. They can help you identify what special considerations may exist to ensure these considerations are addressed in the divorce decree.
What Child Support Doesn’t Cover
It’s important to remember that the child support is considered the right of your child. The custodial parent only acts as a trustee of those funds. It’s intended not only to ensure the child is adequately cared for, but so he or she lives a life that is consistent with the wealth of both parents (which is why your incomes are taken into consideration).
As such, there may at times be a reason to ensure the court takes more than the normal factors of the algorithm they use into consideration. this is called a deviation. There are 22 standard deviations, but the motion to deviate from child support guidelines does allow for special circumstances not included on the form.
A motion for deviation is a vital step when the child has special needs or medical issues, but there are far more things you should think of. Some of these things may seem like extras one shouldn’t have to pay support for, but as previously mentioned, it’s not about the custodial parent, it’s about the welfare of the child.
The following are examples that the state of Florida gives as potential grounds for deviations.
- Monthly nursery, babysitting or other childcare
- Monthly after-school care
- Monthly school tuition
- Monthly school supplies, books and fees
- Monthly after-school activities
- Monthly lunch money
- Monthly private lessons or tutoring
- Monthly allowance
- Monthly clothing
- Monthly uniforms
- Monthly entertainment (movies, birthday parties, etc.)
- Monthly health and dental insurance premiums
- Monthly unreimbursed medical dental and prescription drug charges
- Monthly unreimbursed psychiatric/psychological/counselor expenses
- Monthly unreimbursed orthodontic expenses
- Monthly grooming
- Monthly nonprescription medications/cosmetics/toiletries/sundries
- Monthly gifts from children to others (other children, relatives, teachers, etc.)
- Monthly camp or other summer activities
- Monthly clubs (Boy/Girls Scouts, etc.) or recreational fees
- Monthly visitation expenses (for nonresidential parent)
- Monthly insurance (life, etc.)
If you believe you qualify for any of these deviations, you must file a motion separately or the court may not take it into account. It’s extremely prudent in all child custody cases to hire a lawyer, but it’s even more vital if you may need additional expenses. Only a qualified lawyer can help you determine whether you qualify.