Child Support: increasing or decreasing the amount of child support

Child Support:  increasing or decreasing the amount  of child support

It says in Florida Statue 61.30 (1) (a), the amount of child support shown in the guideline schedule does “presumptively establish the appropriate child support amount in the initial and modification child support proceedings”.  In other words, the amount of child support the Florida legislature determined is correct for the number of children you have when compared to the net amount of the parents combined incomes but it is “starting point” for the judge.  But a judge is very likely to follow the amount of support the guideline says is correct unless you request an increase or decrease in the amount of child support.

a. Child support increase or decrease of Five percent or less

A trial court can vary (change) the amount of child support up to five percent (5%) for good cause or reasons.  For example a court will consider the needs of the child, the children’s age, station in life and their standard of living.   A five percent change more or less from the child support guidelines can be done without the judge writing down why the child support amount was increased or decreased five percent.

b. Child support increase or decrease more than Five percent

If you seek a deviation or change in basic child support of greater than five percent (5%), you must file a “Motion to Deviate From Child Support Guidelines”.  (Form No. 12.943)  Additionally, the judge must write down in the judge’s order why the increase or decrease was granted.

When you seek to deviate (change) from the child support guidelines, you must be ready to prove by testimony and documents why the judge should vary from the guidelines.  So what can you say to the judge that the law recognizes as “good cause”, in other words the reasons you believe the judge should award more or less child support than is found in the guidelines.  The form shows eight reasons to increase child support and eleven reasons to decrease child support.  When you file a Motion to Deviate from Child Support Guidelines you need only check off the reason why you want the increase or decrease but remember before a court can increase or decrease the child support you will need to prove your reasons to increase or decrease child support.

Medical Insurance and Child Support

Medical insurance expense is a recognized addition to basic child support.  See, Florida Statute 61.13(1)(b) and 61.30 (8).  If health insurance is reasonable in cost and is available.

The cost of health insurance is considered reasonable if it doesn’t cost more than five percent (5%) of the gross income of the parent providing the health insurance.  The idea five percent (5%) of the gross income is reasonable can be contested by proof of any of the factors found in Florida Statute 61.30 (11)(a).

Medical insurance is considered “accessible” if it is available in the county where the children have their primary residence or if the parent who has the most time with the children under the time sharing agreement lives in a different county.

If time-sharing is fifty-fifty, then either county where the children reside.

A court can require that one parent reimburse the other for the cost of health insurance when the parent is paying the medical insurance for the other parent who should be paying medical insurance or the curt can divide the health insurance cost as you requested in your petition or counter petition for divorce.

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