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Plantation Family Law Blog

Is child support tax deductible for the payer?

In family law and tax law, child support is prioritized over spousal support. That means in situations where the obligor parent (the paying parent) owes child support and alimony, the child support comes first.

For example, if a divorce agreement or court order specifies that an obligor parent should pay $400 in spousal support and $900 in child support, the $900 must be paid before any amount can be counted as spousal support for tax purposes. This is important to understand for payers and recipients of support because alimony and child support are treated differently by the IRS.

New study suggests kids' stress levels lower in joint-custody arrangements

The common assumption used to be that children endure more stress when they go back and forth between their divorced parents' separate households. You may have heard the term "suitcase kids" to describe children whose separated parents have joint custody.

The validity of that assumption has lost traction in recent years, though, as multiple studies and anecdotal evidence point to a shared custody arrangement as the most beneficial and least stressful for kids. However, the National Parents Organization estimates that less than 20 percent of children of divorced parents in the U.S. live in joint-custody arrangements.

Has social media been a factor in your divorce?

Social media can be a great way to communicate with family and friends, as well as network for business and express your ideas. For some people, though, there is a risk of overusing or inappropriately using platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and more and more people blame social media for their marital problems.

According to a survey by Censuswide, spouses in one out of seven divorces said that use of social media was a factor in why the marriage ended. Divorce lawyers in Florida and throughout the U.S. will also tell you that social media factors into many marital splits.

Petitioning for a child custody order in Florida

If you are a parent going through divorce or separation in Florida, then you don't necessarily have to go to court in order to agree on a workable parenting plan with your co-parent. Many divorcing spouses or former unmarried partners can avoid the cost of court by reaching an out-of-court agreement.

In other cases, though, the parents are not able to agree on a child custody arrangement, and it may be necessary for a court to intervene. Here let's discuss the process of petitioning for child custody in Florida.

Factors to consider when calculating Florida child support

Currently in Florida, the amount and duration of spousal support are determined on a case-by-case basis, and courts are not required to use any special guidelines when ordering alimony payments. If a spouse requests an alimony order through the court, the spouse must first prove that there is a need for support before a court order can be issued.

Child support is different, however. By law, children are entitled to support from their parents. There are child support guidelines that must be used to calculate a base amount of support, and the guidelines take into account the following factors:

  • The number of children to be supported
  • The cost of child care and health care for the child
  • Both parents' incomes

Florida researchers design online toolkit to facilitate healthy co-parenting after divorce

Research shows that, in America right now, about 25 percent of families are single-parent families with children younger than 18. Additionally, each year more than a million children experience their parents' divorce.

These large-scale figures, while perhaps difficult to fathom, underscore the widespread need for healthy co-parenting after divorce. Multiple studies have shown that when co-parents have the skills and knowledge to resolve conflicts and make the kids' well-being the top priority, the children are far more likely to be healthy and well-adjusted.

Can child support continue after a child turns 18?

Many parents are able to use Florida's child support guidelines and reach an agreement about support payments without having to ask a court to intervene. In other cases, however, court intervention is necessary.

Under Florida's child support statutes, support orders must provide a schedule that states when the order takes effect, as well as the amount of support to be paid each month for all of the paying parent's minor children. The schedule must also establish the amount to be paid for any children still entitled to support after any other children are no longer entitled.

Don't let the children's needs get overlooked in divorce

Divorce is extremely emotional, and it's understandable when parents get caught up in their own personal struggles and aren't exactly sure of how to proceed in a constructive way. While there are methods of dispute resolution that can minimize spousal friction, conflict between divorcing spouses is still a reality.

Another reality is that the needs and concerns of the children are too often overlooked in the midst of parental conflict and courtroom proceedings. When their parents can no longer live together, children need advocates more than anyone else, and sometimes it is necessary for the court to appoint a guardian to ensure that the best interests of the child are not forgotten during the legal process. 

How to establish paternity in Florida

Whether you're a mother in need of court-ordered child support payments, or you're a father trying to assert your right to spend time with your child, legally establishing paternity can be extremely important in child custody proceedings.

If paternity is an issue in your family law case, then it is a good idea to be represented by a family law attorney who is prepared to take the matter to court if need be, but also prepared to resolve matters in the most amicable and efficient way possible outside of court.

Florida legislators consider new alimony reform bill

In Florida there are five main kinds of spousal support. Those are:

  • Temporary alimony, which is paid during the divorce proceeding and not afterward
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony, which is paid for a maximum of two years while the receiving spouse transitions to life after divorce
  • Durational alimony, which is paid after short or moderate duration marriages. This kind of spousal support cannot be awarded for a period longer than the length of the marriage.
  • Rehabilitative alimony, which is paid to help the receiving spouse become self-supporting through education, training or work experience.
  • Permanent alimony, which is long-term financial support awarded after a long-term marriage -- 17 years or more. In some cases, permanent alimony may also be awarded after moderate-term marriages.

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