Understanding Child Support in the State of Florida

Hello. I'm Kenny Leigh of Kenny Leigh and Associates. Our firm exclusively represents men in the area of family law. Today, I'm with Scott Eller and he's the director of our law firm and we're gonna talk to you about child support. Scott, can you give a brief description of what child support is? 

Sure. So child support is monies that are gonna be paid from one parent to another parent to make sure that the financial needs of a child are met according to how Florida determines what monetary amount is needed for that support.

And is that just based on a person's paycheck?

Yeah, it's based on a couple factors but the statute lays out what income is. So, essentially recurring regular source of income.

Let's talk about that for a second. All right, let's say somebody's on disability and makes a disability income. Would that money go into a child support calculation?

It would. There are different types of disability awards. There's some disability that provides for support, directly to a child. There's other that only provides income to a parent. But, you can factor in and it can be considered income.

Okay, so there's a couple of different ways we can go with a disability payment. Let's say the child is disabled and the government is paying the parent because of the child's disability. How's that factored in child support?

So basically they'll factor in whatever that parents individual income is, along with the other parent and they'll come up with a child support award. Then what happens is you're credited off that child support award for the amount that's paid for the child's disability amount. So whatever's received for that amount is credited and if there's a deficit in monies owed, so

be it, that amount will be paid, and if there's it's the other way, then the benefit just goes to the child.


And it's important to understand that when disability payments come in from the government or from any institution, it could even be from an insurance policy, that depending on who that is who has the disability, whether it's the parent with a child, there are different ways to work the child support obligation regarding that money. But it is considered, in a way. So it is complicated. You need to speak with an attorney about that.

Let's say somebody's retired from the military, so they get a certain amount of money a month from the military. But, they also get a certain amount of money from their job, which money counts towards a child support obligation?

Oftentimes that pension is going to be considered income and then whatever work they've got from their other employments considered income that'll be factored because it gets added together, basically.

What about rental income? If they have a house and they receive rent from it?

You need to make sure that you're doing it properly. A lot of times you'll need to make sure you're accounting for the operating expenses and everything else with the rental home itself. But, if there's a positive cash flow, it could be considered.

It's always better to assume that all of your income is going to be used for child support. But there are ways, such as what he just described, that we can help you get that income level down, with regard to child support.

Health insurance, daycare. Do those things get factored in child support obligations?

Yeah. The overall calculation is gonna take. Your incomes are gonna be figured out. They're gonna take taxes out, individual health insurance expense, for both sides. Eventually, they're gonna add those together for your total child support need and then the percentage you put into that total calculation is the percentage of the child's overall child support need on top of that. And they're going to consider any daycare expense, any child health insurance expense, so it's important that everything gets properly calculated so you receive credit or the amount, depending on if you're receiving.

So it's important to understand that it's not a child support obligation and then separately a daycare expense. It does all get figured in so you need to understand that.

Very quickly, is child support tax deductible?

It is not tax deductible.

Okay, is it permanent? Does child support stay permanent? If you have four kids do you just pay that amount forever?

You don't. Typically what's gonna happen is as each child emancipates, it's going to reduce. So, you'll be paying it based on three children, and then when the oldest emancipates, on two children, then one child. It’s important, though, that you have that all properly figured in your final judgment to make sure you're not overpaying or paying any longer than necessary under the law.

Okay, and very quickly, what's emancipation? What do you mean by that?

What I mean is either child's gonna reach the age of 18, or if they're in high school and they're gonna graduate before their 19th birthday, it would go until high school graduation, or if they marry, become self-supporting, join the Armed Services or any of those kinds of factors.

But, there are also a lot of other factors too. There are sneaky factors that can come in. A child could become disabled and then all of a sudden there is a child support obligation past the age of 18. So, there are other factors that could possibly sneak in and what we're talking about here are general things.

To wind up, child support is modifiable. There are different ways you can modify it based on a person's income being higher or lower. Also, based on the majority of a child once they reach the age of majority. So there are ways that that can happen.

And then a huge thing. What about cash, Scott?

You want to be very careful ever paying child support with cash. You want to make sure you can trace it. Any form you're paying, you want it to be traceable. So, you receive credit for it.

And what about diapers or things like that, in lieu of a child support payment?

You don't always receive credit for that. And say obviously that's better than nothing and if you if you have any evidence of that, obviously keep it. But the best thing you can do is pay some form of traceable monetary support.

There you go. All right Kenny Leigh and Associates. Our firm exclusively represents men in the area of family law.

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