In Florida, it is not only public policy, but state law that both parents of minor children are to provide support to their children. The determination of a parent’s child support obligation owed for the benefit of their minor children is a very complex process. In order to make an accurate determination of your child support obligation, you need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. At Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A., we have that experience and the tools necessary to keep you from paying too much but still providing adequate financial support for your children.
The first step toward making a determination of your child support obligation is to identify all sources of available income from each party. All income that you and your spouse receive, regardless of its source and classification as a marital or non-marital asset are considered. Once all sources of income are determined, they are added together and this is the total amount of income available to provide support for your children. Using this total number, each parent’s prorata share of the income is then calculated.
The primary residential parent (“PRP”) is the parent with whom the children will reside for the majority of the year and is the parent most likely to receive monthly child support. The non-residential parent (“NRP”) is the parent most likely to be paying monthly child support. However, the NRP’s monthly child support obligation is reduced based on such factors as the number of overnights the children spend with the NRP, expenses paid by the NRP, such as medical, dental and vision insurance, day care expenses, etc., are all considered. In order to learn more detail regarding child support matters, please read our page dedicated to Child Custody and Support.
If you earn substantially more income than your spouse and are awarded primary residential responsibility for your children, based on the factors stated in §61.30, Florida Statutes, you may still have to pay monthly child support to your former spouse even if he or she is the NRP. §61.30, Florida Statutes, sets the minimum amount of each spouses’ monthly child support obligation. You may always pay more, but in the absence of a court order reducing this amount, you may not pay less.
At Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A., we use the very same software that the circuit courts use for determining a party’s child support obligation. Based on the information that both you and your spouse provide to us through the mandatory financial affidavits, we will examine all reasonable financial scenarios that will provide you with the maximum number of overnights with your children post-divorce while at the same time minimizing your monthly child support obligations.
We will run various scenarios giving the child dependent deductions, child care credits and earned income credit to the PRP. Remember, your monthly child support obligation is determined using all sources of both parties’ income. Tax benefits or credits received by each party, although not true income, does make more actual money available to be used for the benefit of the children. By shifting the available tax benefits to the PRP, we will be able to reduce your monthly child support obligation.
There are a number of other financial factors that may affect your monthly child support obligation based on your specific circumstances in either a positive or negative way, depending upon how they are categorized and treated. As you can see, an accurate and fair determination of your monthly child support is a highly technical and complex process.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, immediately contact us at Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. for a free telephone consultation. We are here to help.