What Is Florida Child Support Intended To Cover?
If you are getting divorced, and you have minor children, expect that either you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse (or both, in rare cases) will be asked to pay child support. Florida law sees it as a legal and moral obligation for both parents to support their children, making the right belong to the child (and thus preventing a parent from waiving it). However, the issue of what child support is intended to cover is much murkier, with law on the issue being either unsettled or outdated. Asking a Florida child support attorney for help can clear the air on what your obligations actually are.
Necessary (And Not Strictly Necessary) Expenses
The primary reason to require child support is, as one might imagine, to buy things for the care and upkeep of a minor child. Florida law has held that child support can (and in some cases, should) cover expenses including, but not limited to:
- Educational costs (uniforms, books, room and board for a university student);
- Medical expenses (health insurance and deductibles, sudden emergency care and co-pays);
- Food, clothing, and a roof over the child’s head; and
- Extracurricular school activities and other hobbies or entertainment (sports team fees, summer camps, and the like).
Some parents may complain about essentially being asked to pay for things that are unnecessary, such as extracurricular activities, but the legislature understands that children require not only the basic essentials. The intent of the legislature in crafting Florida’s child support laws is to act in the child’s best interests, which includes being able to buy things and do things that are not strictly necessary for “care and upkeep.”
No Specific Mandate
It is important to keep in mind that while child support most often will pay for the expenses previously listed, Florida does not specifically mandate what the money should be used for other than the nebulous “care, maintenance, training, and education.” This does mean that sometimes, there may be a benefit to the custodial parent that is simply accepted (unless there are hints of child neglect or criminal activity). For example, sometimes support money is spent on groceries, which benefits the child, but also may benefit the custodial parent.
If you believe that your contributed support money is being spent in a way that is not for the benefit of your child or children, you may file to seek a modification in support amounts, or in extreme cases, you may even choose to seek primary physical custody. Either way, contacting an attorney who is well versed in this area of law can be a crucial factor in success or failure, simply because the law in this area is so relatively unsettled except in cases where neglect or abuse are clear.
Contact A Hollywood, FL Child Support Attorney
As a parent, it is understandable that you want to ensure that your support funds go to actually supporting your child or children, but there are limited options to ensure that (except in cases of abuse or neglect). If you have further questions or concerns on these issues, contacting a Hollywood child support attorney may help to shed light on any problems that have been created. Contact the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. today on the web, or via telephone at (954) 963-5900, to speak to an attorney.