What expenses does child support cover?
Child support is an amount of money paid by one parent of a separated family with minor children to the other parent for the purpose of equitably sharing the reasonable costs of raising the parties’ minor children.
Child support is intended to cover the costs of raising minor children in a reasonable standard of living given the parents incomes. It is assumed that children of wealthy parents reasonably need more than children of less wealthy parents. That is life’s reality and that is how child support works.
Child support includes money for day to day expenses, health insurance, uncovered medical expenses, life insurance and daycare. There are caveats to this list. For example, health and life insurance must be reasonably available and daycare must be needed and reasonably affordable.
What are the 5 components of child support?
There are up to 5 components or parts to child support. They are as follows:
- The basic obligation – this is the transfer of cash from one parent to the other for the purpose of meeting the general unspecified needs of a minor child;
- A contribution to the cost of daycare if needed and affordable;
- A contribution to the cost of health insurance if reasonably available;
- A contribution to the cost of reasonable and necessary medical expenses actually incurred which are not covered by insurance; and
- A contribution to the cost of life insurance sufficient to continue child support should a parent pass away, if such insurance is reasonably available.
How is child support calculated?
The amount of Child support to be paid is determined by the Florida Child Support Statute. The statute contains a formula. If you know the inputs to the formula then you can determine the amount of support. This may seem simple and strait forward, but that is not always the case. The number of overnights per year that each parent has in accordance with their timesharing plan is one of the inputs. In addition, the actual or imputed income of both parents are a major input and often this figure is difficult to determine.
The general inputs for the child support formula are as follows:
- The father’s net monthly income;
- The mother’s net monthly income;
- The number of overnights each parent has with the child;
- The cost of health insurance for the child if such is reasonably available (the parent who actually pays the health insurance bill gets a credit);
- Each party typically pays for their own life insurance policy with the agreed upon death benefit directly to the insurance company and this payment is not part of the formula; and
- Each parent typically pays for their share of the cost of medical expenses which are not covered by health insurance as these expenses are incurred.
What can cause child support to change?
Child support is typically modifiable. More specifically, if circumstances change, child support can change. Typical changes in circumstances that can trigger a modification of child support include:
- One of the parent’s incomes significantly changes;
- The timesharing schedule with the child changes so that the number of overnights that the child spends with each of the parents significantly changes.
This is not an exhaustive list. In general if anything changes which will change the support obligation by more than $50 per month or by more than 15%, whichever is less, then child support can be modified. A modification typically is not automatic. It must either be agreed to by the parents or awarded by a court after a proper application for a change is made.
How does the Tampa child support Attorneys at Anton Legal Group provide services?
We know how to use the Florida child support formula. This is sometimes easy and sometimes not.
We understand how to accurately determine the inputs to the child support formula. This includes determining each parent’s real income, not just what may be reported to the IRS.
We know how to present a child support case to a court.
We know how to present a child support modification case to the court.
We know how to make child support payable by income deduction and/or through the child support collection agency, if needed.
We know how to limit ones expenses when applying for support or a modification of support, including the processing of a request for the other parent to pay your fees if they are unreasonable.