How Do We Figure Child Support?

The Florida Department of Revenue provides child support services that include establishing legal paternity, locate missing parents and establishing, enforcing and modifying support orders. A child support order tells the parents what they must do to support their children. The State of Florida has stated Child Support Guidelines that are defined in Florida law. The guidelines are used the first time child support is ordered and every time the child  support changes. They are also used to review the order to see if the support amount should be changed.

 There are several factors that are used to determine the amount of child support to be paid. First, the amount of children considered as part of the marriage, the income of both parties, the amount of overnights each parent with have with the child (children) and who will be paying and the amount of child care, health and dental insurance for the child (children). If health insurance is reasonably available, the court might require you to have major medical and dental insurance. The court or agency establishing support must use these guidelines to decide the amount of child support that will go in a Florida support order. In special circumstances, support amounts can be higher or lower than the guideline amounts. For example, a judge may consider a child’s high medical expenses as a reason to change the support amount. In most cases, judges have to give written reasons why support amounts are different from guideline amounts.

 If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, income will be imputed to the parent based upon his or her recent work history, occupational qualifications and the prevailing earnings level in the community. Life insurance should be purchased on the life of the parent paying child support to ensure support will continue if that parent dies prematurely.

 Divorce Financial Solutions can calculate the amount of child support very quickly and can give you an approximate amount just by calling their office, at no charge.


Florida Alimony and Spousal Support

There are three types of alimony in Florida: rehabilitative, permanent or lump sum.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is usually used to help rehabilitate or support the receiving spouse for a fixed period of time, ordinarily until that spouse can renew old skills or obtain new skills with which to support him or herself. In deciding whether to award rehabilitative alimony, the court will consider whether or not there is a real probability of rehabilitating the person requesting alimony. At the end of the fixed period of time, it will automatically stop without further court action unless you ask the court to extend or change it.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony is a payment which continues indefinitely until the remarriage of the spouse receiving it or until the death of either of the parties. It is used to provide the needs and the necessities of life for a former spouse as they have been established during the marriage of the parties. The two primary elements to be considered when determining permanent alimony are the needs of the receiving spouse for the funds and the ability of the paying spouse to provide the necessary funds.

The needs of one spouse for the funds are determined by the court’s consideration of each of the parties’ earning ability, age, health, education, as well as the length of the marriage, the marital standard of living, and the value of the parties’ estates.

The ability of the other spouse to provide the necessary funds is determined by the court’s consideration of both parties net income, net worth, past earnings and the value of each of the parties’ assets. Any responsibilities to other dependents–for example, the need for support of children from a former marriage or aged parents–may be considered when determining a spouse’s financial ability to pay alimony.

In considering the health of the parties, the court may wish to consider not only the physical and emotional health of each of the parties but also any limitation of activities imposed on either of them. The court will almost certainly want to consider whether the other party had anything to do with causing this problem or any aggravation of it.

Lump Sum Alimony

Lump sum alimony is a payment of a set amount. Lump sum alimony creates a right that survives the death of both parties and cannot later be changed or cancelled. Lump sum alimony may consist of money, property or other things of value. It may be payable all at one time, such as the transfer of a car, house, or household contents, or in payments over period of time, such as $10,000 payable at the rate of $100 per week.

The basic requirements for an award of lump sum alimony are that there is a justification for the award and there is a financial ability of the paying spouse to make such payment without substantially endangering his or her economic status.

Under Florida Law, there are several things the court will consider when making the decision to award alimony. First, the court takes into consideration the standard of living established during the marriage. The court also considers the duration of the marriage, the age and physical and emotional health of each of the parties, the financial resources of each of the parties as well as the time necessary to obtain education or training to enable a party to find appropriate employment. In addition, the court considers the contribution to the marriage by each party whether by way of work and income or by way of raising the children and keeping house. Finally, the court will consider what sources of income are available to each of the parties.

Generally, all these things determine whether alimony will be paid as well as the amount and type of alimony that the court will order. For example, the more a spouse earns, the more support he or she may be required to pay. A spouse with a small income would not be expected to pay as much as one whose earnings are very high. The court attempts to be as fair as it can to both parties.

Dividing Assets & Liabilities

During Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) and the dividing of assets, there is an administrative detail known as “Valuation Date”. The Valuation Date refers to the value of the assets on a certain day. This value is often used for the decisions regarding which assets are divided and how to divide them. [Read more…]

What is a QDRO and Do I Need One?

A QDRO (or Qualified Domestic Relations Order) is the legal document that divides up a qualified pension or retirement account (including 401k’s) pursuant to a divorce. The Judgment of Divorce is not sufficient to divide up qualified plans, a QDRO is needed. There are many nuances that go into QDRO’s and make it an advocating (versus neutral) document. In order to protect your assets, be sure to obtain qualified advice in this area from a specialist.