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What Does Child Support Cover? Understanding the Basics

What Does Child Support Cover? Understanding the Basics

Child support is a crucial aspect of many divorce and separation cases in Florida. It’s a legal obligation that parents have to provide financial support for their children until they reach the age of majority. Usually, the non-custodial parent pays a certain recurring amount to the custodial parent to support their child’s/children’s needs. The custodial parent then usually covers the rest of the related child expenses. This obligation ensures that the child/children receive(s) the same level of support as if both parents were living together. But what does child support cover, particularly here in Florida?

Child support agreement and cash - Question: What does child support cover?

How is child support calculated in Florida?

The state of Florida has specific guidelines for calculating child support, which takes into account various factors such as income, childcare expenses, and health insurance. The Florida Child Support Guidelines provide a formula for calculating child support, which takes into account 

  • the income of both parents
  • the number of children
  • and the amount of time the children spend with each parent.

The formula used to calculate child support in Florida is based on the so-called “Income Shares Model.” This model takes into account the income of both parents and the number of children. The formula calculates the amount of money that would be spent on the children if the parents were still together. The non-custodial parent is then required to pay their share of that amount based on their income.

The formula used to calculate child support in Florida can be complex, and it’s essential to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. Additionally, it’s important to understand that child support in Florida is based on the gross income of the parents, which means that taxes and other deductions are not considered.

What does child support cover – and what not?

In Florida, child support covers the basic living necessities of the child, including food, housing, water, and electricity, as well as healthcare and childcare expenses. 

It is also important to note that child support in Florida is intended to provide an acceptable standard of living for the child but may not cover all expenses related to hobbies and entertainment

Examples of items that are covered by child support:

These are a few examples of expenses typically covered by child support in Florida:

  • Basic living expenses such as food, housing, and utilities
  • Regular healthcare and medical expenses like prescription medication or regular doctor visits
  • Childcare expenses
  • Educational expenses like school fees and textbooks
  • Transportation expenses such as gas and car maintenance
  • Personal care expenses such as hygiene products and haircuts
  • Sports and other extracurricular activities
  • Clothing and basic personal items
  • Technology such as a computer or tablet in the context of educational purposes
  • Other reasonable expenses that are considered necessary for the child’s well-being, such as tutoring or therapy.

Child support payments are intended to provide for the child’s basic needs and reasonable expenses, but the specifics may vary depending on the child’s individual circumstances and the court’s ruling.

Examples of items that are not covered:

  • Clothing and personal items beyond basic necessities
  • Cell phone and internet bills
  • Car payments and car insurance
  • Extracurricular activities beyond basic ones
  • College tuition and expenses
  • Entertainment expenses like movie tickets, vacations, etc.
  • Gifts for the child’s birthday or holidays
  • Pet expenses
  • Furniture and home decor
  • Legal fees related to custody disputes or other legal issues not related to child support.

It’s important to note that these items may vary depending on the specific circumstances and court rulings.

Conclusion

As a parent, ensuring that your child/children receive(s) adequate financial support is essential for their well-being and future. However, navigating the complexities of child support laws in Florida can be overwhelming and confusing. 

That’s why it’s imperative to seek the services of a qualified and experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your rights as well as obligations. Contact the legal experts of the Butash Law Group for a free consultation!

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