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Changes to the Child Support Laws in the State of Florida as of January 2011
Pursuant to Florida Statute 61.29, the State of Florida created the following public policy regarding the creation of child support guidelines.
- Each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child.
- The guidelines schedule is based on the parent’s combined net income estimated have been allocated to the child as if the parents and children were living in an intact household.
- The guidelines encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and minimize the need for litigation. Effected January 1, 2011, Section 61.30(2) Florida Statutes, which addresses imputed income to calculate child-support is amended as follows.
If information concerning a parent’s income is unavailable, a parent fails to participate a child support proceeding or if a parent fails to supply adequate financial information 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 the year-round full-time workers as derived from the United States Bureau of Census.
In order for the court to impute income of an amount other than the median income of year-round full-time worker, the court must make specific findings of facts consistent with the requirements of this paragraph. The party seeking to impute income has the burden to present competent substantial evidence that:
- Unemployment or underemployment is voluntary.
- Identifies the amount and source of the imputed income, through evidence of income from available employment for which the party is suitably qualified by education, experience, current licensing or geographical location.
Other changes to Florida Statute 61.30 include the elimination of the 25 % Reduction previously considered when calculating child care cost. The "Gross Up" formula is used to calculate child support when a parent exercises 20% of the overnights a year or 73 overnights a year and eliminates the 40% of overnights from Florida Statute 61.30(11)(a) 61.30(11)(b).
Finally, third parties who have custody are entitled to receive child support pursuant to Florida Statutes 751 (children living with extended family members) and section 61.13.
These are many of the changes made to the Florida Child Support Statutes. It is important to know these changes in order to provide clients with the most prepared and organized representation in Court.
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