Four Key Considerations that Should Be Addressed as Part of a Child Support Case in Florida
A divorce or separation in Pinellas County is never easy—especially for parents of a young child. A wide range of family law issues need to be addressed, including child support obligations. Child support cases can be complicated. It is best to be as detail-focused as possible when going through the process. Here, our Clearwater child support attorney provides an overview of four key considerations that should always be dealt with as part of a child support case in Florida.
- The Amount of Child Support
Of course, the amount of child support is always the most important consideration. The total amount of child support in Florida is typically determined by using an income shares model, which takes into account, as a baseline, the income of both parents and the number of children involved. In Florida, the overall goal of child support is to minimize the economic impact of divorce on the child, keeping their standard of living as close as possible to what they experienced during the marriage.
- A Method for the Child Support Payments
Deciding on a method for child support payments is another important consideration. Payments can be made directly from one parent to the other, or through the Florida State Disbursement Unit (SDU). When the payments are made through the SDU, there is a clear, documented record of all transactions. In general, there is also a choice between monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly payments.
- Any Add-On Expenses (Unique Educational Needs or Medical Needs)
Child support typically covers basic living expenses, but it is important to address additional costs associated with unique educational or medical needs. For instance, if the child requires special education services, private schooling, or ongoing medical care, these costs should be factored into the child support agreement. Both parents will need to discuss these types of additional costs. In Florida, a court could—but will not always—order additional child support for add-on expenses.
- Claim of Child Dependency for Tax Purposes
Finally, as part of the child support case, parents should discuss which party has the right to claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) explains that the custodial parent generally has the primary to claim the child for federal tax purposes. That being said, the parents can agree to alternate years or let the higher earner claim. Why this matters is that shifting the tax status of the child could potentially result in larger tax savings for the parties as a whole. The additional tax savings could be split by the parents.
Call Our Clearwater, FL Child Support Attorney Today
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Clearwater family lawyer has extensive experience handling complex child support cases. We are ready to protect your rights. Connect with us by phone or contact us online to arrange your confidential, no commitment case review. Our firm provides legal representation in child support cases in Clearwater and all across Pinellas County.