Does Covering Extra Items Count Towards Child Support?
Navigating a divorce when minor children are involved is always difficult, and once child custody and visitation schedules are set the court will determine the proper amount of child support that needs to be paid from the noncustodial parent. But what if your child or the custodial parent asks for additional money or items to cover the child’s needs? In Florida, this may not count towards the payment of your monthly child support. To learn more about when covering the expenses of your child will and will not count towards your child support payments, contact a skilled Tampa child support attorney for help today.
Child Support or Gift?
In Florida, if a parent gives a child money, items, or gifts that could take the place of a child support payment the court does not always recognize the exchange. While it is understandable that the needs of your child change over time, it is important that you clear all additional payments or exchanges with the court prior to payment. If you do not, the court will consider this payment a gift to the child that does not count towards your child support, regardless of where the money goes. This also includes money or items given to your former spouse, even if it is meant to directly benefit the child and go towards their daily expenses.
There are many situations where the noncustodial parent thinks that the payment made counts against their child support payments; however, any money given outside of the court ordered child support payments is usually considered a gift. This can range from creating a trust in the child’s name to additional cash deposits after a raise to buying the child toys or covering their costs for extracurricular activities. If it is not cleared through the court first all of these situations are considered gifts and do not count towards the payment of child support. In addition, if you make these additional payments or gifts and fail to make your child support payments the court can find you in arrears.
How to Clarify Payment
The easiest way to get credit for additional payments and items outside of the court ordered child support is to go through the courts. Talk to a family law attorney today to discuss ways to properly document these additional payments as counting towards your child support, and see if your former spouse is willing to agree to the changes. If so, your attorney can easily file an amended child support request with the court. If your former spouse does not agree, you may need to petition the court for a modification to the existing child support order.
Call or Contact the Office Today
Helping to pay for your child’s daily expenses after a divorce can be a complicated and messy situation, but the office of Blair H. Chan, III is here to help. Call the office or contact us today to learn more about how you can avoid these common pitfalls with Florida child support.