Child Support Guidelines to Change in Florida
Big changes are on the horizon in Florida when it comes to alimony and child support guidelines in the state of Florida. These new guidelines take effect on January 1, 2011 and will impact how a non-custodial parent’s child support obligation is calculated. I can see an upside and a downside to these changes. For those agreements that squeek under the current 40% timeshare guideline required to ‘significantly’ reduce the support amount, there may be some changes. Time share of 20% as of 1/1/2011 will be what is required to qualify for a “significant reduction” in the child support amount.
The ability to claim a child as a dependent on a tax return is also changing. Current IRS guidlines dictate that the parent with primary residential responsibility automatically gets to claim the child(ren) on their taxes unless the residential parent agrees to give up/share the deduction (more info here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8332.pdf.) If I’m interpreting the changes correctly, this will be changing to a rotating basis when the new laws take effect.
Of course, I’m no attorney but this information is readily accessible on the internet for Florida and other states. Below is the specific excerpt from the Florida Department of Revenue’s published document, “Changes to Florida Tax and Child Support Enforcement Laws”. Bolded and italicized text has been added by me for emphasis.
Child Support Guidelines
Effective Date: January 1, 2011
Statute Reference: Sections 61.29 and 61.30, F.S.
Chapter Law: Sections 4 and 5, 2010-199 (CS/HB 907)
Provides that each parent has an obligation to support his or her child, that the guidelines schedule is based on the parents’ combined net income as if the parents were living together and that the guidelines encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues.
Adds that when information about a parent’s income is unavailable in a child support proceeding, income shall be automatically imputed to the parent and there is a rebuttable presumption that the parent has income equivalent to the median income of a year-round, full time worker as derived from the current population reports or replacement reports published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Specifies how a court may impute income in an amount other than the median income. To do so the court must conclude that the unemployment or underemployment is voluntary and identify the amount and source of the imputed income for which the party is qualified.
Changes how support is determined for a parent with a net income that is less than $850 per month. Specifies that the obligor parent’s support payment shall be calculated as the lesser of the obligor parent’s dollar share of the total minimum support amount and 90 percent of the difference between the obligor’s net monthly income and the current poverty guidelines as updated in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Register for a single individual living alone.
Deletes the requirement to reduce child care costs by 25 percent before adding them to the basic support obligation.
Adds the impact of the Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit as a basis for deviating from the guideline amount.
Changes the guidelines deviation for significant time-sharing (shared parenting). The percentage of overnights that may be considered as significant time-sharing is reduced from 40 percent of the overnights a child spends with one parent to 20 percent.
Changes the amount of time that triggers a mandatory deviation from the guideline amount for substantial time-sharing from 40 percent of the overnights to 20 percent.
Good or bad, it’s coming one way or another. Thanks for reading.