The cost of raising a child to the age of majority is staggering. While parents who live together through marriage or partnership can share the expenses associated with bringing a kid to age, those parents who don’t live together can find themselves amidst a dispute about who should pay for what with regard to child rearing. In Florida, raising a child is the legal responsibility of both parents, which is why child support orders are issued and are legally enforceable.
Of course, the exact amount of child support owed depends on a number of factors. Although the state looks to child support guidelines as a starting point, court-ordered support may deviate from those recommendations if the facts warrant it. Therefore, it behooves Floridians to familiarize themselves with the child support calculation process so that they can create legal arrangements that are in the child’s best interests.
One important consideration with regard to this issue is the calculation of income. This figure can play a significant role in the amount of child support that is ordered, and there are many things that may qualify as income. One’s wages, of course, are accounted for, but so, too, are bonuses, disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, retirement income including payments from a pension plan, income from royalties and estates and even reimbursed expenses if those reimbursements lower one’s living expenses. With so much to be taken into consideration, both parents in Florida need to make sure they are being diligent when looking at their income to better ensure that a fair child support calculation is made.
This is just one of the many issues that can be hotly contested in a child support dispute. The outcomes of these disagreements can have staggering ramifications, especially considering that the obligations that arise from child support can last for many years. Family law attorneys can help parents address these matters.