Adjusting Child Support to Account for Day Care Costs
When calculating child support, Florida courts take a number of factors into consideration, including how parenting time is divided between a couple, as well as each party’s income and assets. While most people who have children and are heading into the divorce process realize that these elements will come into play during divorce negotiations, many remain unaware that day care expenses can also be included in this calculation. For this reason, these expenses are often overlooked to the detriment of the whole family, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced Florida child support attorney who can ensure that your own child care expenses are included in your divorce decree.
Including Child Care Expenses in Your Agreement
Florida law specifically provides that any child care-related expenses incurred by a child’s parents can be included in the basic child support obligation calculation if those costs are:
- Incurred while searching for a job, pursuing education, or fulfilling job-related duties; and
- Calculated to result in employment, or to increase the current income of either parent.
Once these expenses have been established and included in the basic support obligation, the court will deduct any funds that were already paid by one of the parents for child care costs.
It’s also important to keep in mind that courts will only be willing to include these expenses in a child support agreement if the parties can provide evidence of the cost of care by producing receipts, invoices, and bank statements. Further, judges will only make awards for child care costs if those expenses don’t exceed the level required to provide quality care from a licensed establishment.
Modifying a Child Support Award to Account for Day Care Costs
It is not uncommon for these types of child care expenses to arise after a child support order has already been established and the divorce finalized. In these cases, the parents will need to petition the court to modify their child support agreement to account for these increased costs. Conversely, if one of the parents was ordered to pay for child care costs, but the child is no longer in day care, that individual could be entitled to a reduction in his or her court ordered support payment. A child support obligation could drop by as much as one-half, or even more when day care expenses are removed from the equation.
Parents should also remember that any increases or decreases in child support will only be applied retroactively from the date that the petition to modify the agreement was filed, and not necessarily when the child entered or stopped attending day care. For this reason, parents are encouraged to file their petition as soon as possible after the change occurs.
Contact Our Office for Legal Assistance Today
To speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer about how your child’s day care costs could affect your child support obligation, please call Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.