Here in 2021, families come in more shapes and sizes than ever. One of the byproducts of that is that you, as a parent, may be caring for and providing for children who came from multiple different relationships. So, what can you do if you have majority timesharing with some of your older children and now your ex-spouse or partner wants you to pay child support for the child you share with her? One of the first things you should do is reach out to an experienced South Florida family law attorney who can help you get a fair and just child support outcome that recognizes all the forms of support you are providing for all of your children.
A father from near Tallahassee found himself in that kind of difficult circumstance. The father had custody of two of his older children. He also had 40% timesharing with a younger child, a preschooler.
The mother of the preschooler went to court seeking an order imposing a child support obligation on the father. The trial support calculated how much the father would have been paying in child support for the two older children (if he was paying child support at the guidelines-indicated level) and subtracted that from his gross income. The trial judge then used the result of that calculation to determine the father’s child support obligation for the preschooler.
If you are a parent in a position like that father, a court is actually not permitted under Florida law to give you the kind of relief this trial judge gave to this father (which is why the judgment was overturned on appeal.) Florida Statutes Section 61.30(3)(f) only allows for this kind of deduction from gross income (called “Speed credit”) in circumstances where the support you’re providing is “court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid.”
This father was actually paying $0 in court-ordered child support for the two older kids, so the judge was not allowed to deduct anything from his gross income on that basis.
So, does that mean this father was completely out of luck?
Actually, no. It just means that his avenue for relief rested upon a different statutory subsection other than Section 61.30(3)(f). A parent in a circumstance such as this father may be entitled to something called an “equitable credit,” which comes from Section 61.30(11)(a). That law gives the trial judge discretion to make “any other adjustments that is necessary to achieve an equitable result.”
Under that statute, you can present evidence of the amount of support you provide for your other children by means other than court-ordered child support payments. The trial judge may then give you an equitable credit and deduct from your gross income those expenses you’ve proven in court.
As you can see, these kinds of cases are circumstances that require a careful understanding of all of the details of Florida child support law and in-depth knowledge of all of the evidentiary pieces that may be necessary to arrive at a fair outcome.
Whatever kind of evidence and/or arguments you need for your child support case, an experienced attorney can help you make them stronger. Count on the skilled South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. to be the diligent and effective legal representation you need as you take your child support case through the court system. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation today.