Good Fortune Trusts
Child support payments are calculated using an equation that takes into account a child’s expenses, the division of parenting time between a child’s parents, and the parties’ respective incomes. In most cases, the amount that is agreed upon is enough to cover basic childcare costs, such as clothing, food, housing, recreational activities, and education. However, in some situations, when one or both parents have access to significant income, a court could order the parents to create what is commonly referred to as a good fortune trust. For help determining whether the creation of a good fortune child support trust is right for your child, please contact a member of our dedicated Fort Lauderdale child support legal team for assistance.
What are Good Fortune Child Support Trusts?
Good fortune child support trusts were established in the mid 1990’s, when one Florida court ruled that when child support payments exceed a child’s reasonable needs based on his or her standard of living, the excess could be invested in a good fortune trust that the child could then access when he or she became an adult. In most cases, judges have discretion when it comes to deciding the standard of living that a child should be able to enjoy when excess payments are involved. These assessments don’t have anything to do with a parent’s fitness to act as a child’s custodian, but only the assets available to that individual. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even when assessing a family’s assets, courts will not take certain assets into account, including retirement plans and real estate.
Determining Child Support
When calculating child support, courts take a number of factors into account, including:
- The number of children that must be supported;
- The incomes of both parents;
- The division of parenting time between the parties;
- The costs of the child’s education;
- A child’s particular care and health needs; and
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family during the marriage.
It is only when the amount of child support ordered by a court seems excessive, although accurate based on the parties’ levels of income, that a judge has discretion to create a good fortune trust. Generally, the funds in these accounts will be made up of child support payments that exceed the reasonable amount that it takes to provide day-to-day childcare. Children will be given access to the trust when they are no longer deemed to be dependent minors and can use the funds to pay for college, start a business, relocate after graduating high school, or as a safety net.
Although good fortune child support trusts can be extremely helpful to children once they come of age, there are certain limitations to these types of awards. For instance, courts will always limit these types of awards to an amount that supports an appropriate lifestyle and will not require one parent to pay an excessive amount merely because he or she can afford it.
Contact Our Office Today for Legal Support
Please call 954-945-7591 to speak with dedicated Florida child support attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about your own support-related questions and concerns.