No Job, No Child Support?

Child support in Florida is calculated using several factors and, in many cases, unemployment does not automatically mean that a parent gets a free pass from their child support obligations. Child Support Guidelines not only calculate the monthly child support obligation but dictate the overall share of support for each parent.

Pay check stubs, medical premiums, day care expenses and overnights are instrumental in calculating Child Support Guidelines. During a divorce or child support case in Florida, both parties are required to supply these documents and others to provide a full financial picture in order to determine what the financial support obligations for each parent will be. The Courts can impute specific income amounts for parents in various situations. For example, minimum wage in Florida is typically imputed for parents that fail to provide their financial documents and if the other parent does not have proof of the earnings or employer and a subpoena cannot be issued. A higher amount may be imputed if the Court finds a parent is not providing an accurate financial picture or is intentionally unemployed or underemployed to avoid paying child support. Tax returns from the previous three years are tools to show the earning ability of the parent and can be taken into consideration when imputing income for that parent.

Child Support Guidelines not only determine the amount for monthly child support obligations but also provides the share of parental responsibility for the child(ren)’s out of pocket medical expenses. In many cases, the parents equally share the cost of medical, dental, orthodontic, vision and prescription expenses to name a few. However, in other cases one parent is responsible for a high percentage of the medical expenses than the other.

It is not uncommon for parents involved in a child support matter to discuss their case with friends and family in a similar situation. It is impossible to compare the amounts of support obligations ordered in each case. The smallest difference in the case or discretionary decisions made by the Courts can vastly change the outcome of a parent’s child support obligation. Each case involving child support in Florida is unique. Consulting with a Florida attorney is strongly encouraged. Akilah Harris, Esq. of Akilah Harris, PLLC is an experienced child support attorney.