Friday, July 2, 2010
Child Support Changes
A new approach to calculating child support was signed into law in Florida in June and will effect most, if not all, of the cases that are currently pending before the courts. The law goes into effect either in October 1, 2010 or January 1, 2011 and in short, it drastically changes the way in which child support is calculated. It used to be that unless you had your child or children for 40% of the overnights, you did not receive any type of substantial contact credit. That has changed significantly. Once this law goes into effect, anyone who has their child or children for at least 20% of the overnights (every other weekend from Friday to Monday, alternating holidays and 1/2 the summer) will get a substantial contact credit. Additionally, the following changes will be made:
1. A child support order will have to have a specific termination date and have step down child support specified. This means if you have more than one child there will have to be a termination date inserted for after the first child reaches the age of majority, and then a changed amount and a termination date for each child thereafter. (i.e., child support shall be $1,200 per month for three children terminating June 10, 2012, then $900.00 for two children terminating on August 1, 2014 and then $600.00 ending June 10, 2016).
2. Daycare expenses are no longer discounted by 25%. You now will get credit for 100% of your daycare costs, however, the childcare tax credit will be taken into consideration when determining child support.
3. The courts may have the ability to impute income to someone if they don't provide "adequate" financial information in order to calculate child support. What income they can impute is the change, in that, they can automatically impute income to that party to have the income equivalent to the median income of year-round full-time workers as derived from the current population reports or replacement reports published by the United States Bureau of the Census. (If you can figure out what that means, call me.)
In a nutshell, I believe that the legislature is trying to cure the problem of people demanding extra overnights during the week in order to get a substantial contact credit. We'll see if that still makes a difference, but for now, it appears that the way that we calculate child support is going to make some people very happy.