Florida Child Support Laws
Changes to child support laws can significantly affect how much support a parent is entitled to receive or obligated to pay after a divorce, custody or paternity action. Here, we explain some of the new Florida child support laws.
Overnights & Reduced Child Support Payments
Under new Florida child support laws, a parent qualifies for reduced child support payments if he or she has the child overnight 20% or more of the time. In those cases, a tiered structure modifies the calculation of support to account for the time spent with each parent. Previously, the parent with fewer overnights had to have at least 40% of overnights in order to obtain an adjustment.
“Aging Out” of Child Support
If you have multiple children, you must explain exactly how and when the child support changes as each child “ages out” of eligibility for support. Child support generally ends when a child turns 18 years old unless you specify otherwise. This change makes any reductions automatic, thus reducing the need for filing modification petitions.
Reasonable Cost of Child Health Insurance
The cost of child health insurance is one of the factors courts and the Department of Revenue (DOR) consider when ordering child support. There is now a clear definition of “reasonable cost” of child health insurance, which provides that insurance premiums that cost more than 5% of a parent’s gross income are unreasonably costly.
Unreasonable cost is the only reason you can avoid buying health insurance for your children in a Florida divorce. A parent earning $50,000 per year must pay child health insurance premiums up to $207 per month. Credit is given for this insurance payment on the child support worksheet. Before this definition was added, reasonable cost was up to the judge; now there is a statewide standard.
Voluntary Unemployment or Underemployment
This change makes it more difficult for parents to decrease income levels intentionally in an effort to pay less in child support. The new law creates a presumption that a voluntarily unemployed, underemployed or nonparticipating parent’s “imputed” (assumed) income level is equivalent to the median income of full-time workers. Child support will be based on this amount, regardless of the amount of the parent’s actual income.
Talk to an Experienced Family Lawyer about Child Support Requirements
If you are facing divorce and have children, or if you are paying or receiving child support, it is important to ensure your arrangement reflects new child support laws in Florida. For more information, please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to schedule a consultation.