Did you know that according to Florida Statute 61.30(11)(a), upon motion from counsel or a pro se litigant, the court may agree to increase or lower the amount of child support owed by one or both parties? This motion is known as a Motion to Deviate from Child Support Guidelines in Florida. Similar to other aspects of Florida family law, the circuit court will base its decision to deviate upon arguments from counsel and/or the litigants by relying on the statutory factors. In a Herculean effort to make these factors the court considers more understandable, I will paraphrase them and provide examples where appropriate. This is not an exhaustive list, and there are many other scenarios where a motion to deviate from child support guidelines in Florida may be appropriate for you. This article is only part one in the series, and specifically covers Florida Statute 61.30(11)(a)(1).
Motion to Deviate From Child Support Guidelines in Florida
The first reason the court may decide adjust the child support amount owed, specifically by increasing the minimum amount owed, is when there are “extraordinary” medical, dental, educational, or psychological expenses. For example, if the minor child requires corrective jaw surgery, orthodontic braces (Invisalign, etc.), or needs significant tooth intervention because of gum decay or cavities, the court will likely see this as a necessary ongoing expense and order the support amount increased upon a showing of medical estimates or bills and orthodontic evaluations.
Medical and Dental
If the minor child has a serious medical condition such as a heart condition, asthma, bone disorders, or some other rare disease, medical expenses may increase causing the court to order the child support to be increased. Who would want to file this particular motion to deviate from child support guidelines in Florida by asking for the support amount to be increased? The parent that pays for health and/or dental insurance and will be responsible for paying the health care provider(s) for the additional costs associated with medical or dental, or psychological care will ask the court for this baseline increase. Child support in Florida is based on shared responsibility, which is why the court generally requires the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet itself to include medical and dental insurance and uncovered medical and dental costs.
As pertains to education, arguments are frequently heard by the court regarding the alleged necessity of private or charter schools, and regarding the alleged necessity of private tutoring for the minor child. For instance, is the public school in your child’s district rated an F? Is there a nearby charter or private school available at a reasonable cost? Is attendance at that school affordable for the parties and in the best interests of the minor child? Again, this is a question of fact.
When psychological issues are involved, those can range from (and are NOT limited to) depression (sometimes resulting from the parents’ own behavior and arguing), anti-social behavior, etc. Whether the support amount should be increased under the aforementioned circumstances is a question of fact presented by the parties and/or their family law attorneys, and factors applied by the court. Thank you for reading part 1 of this ongoing series, Motion to Deviate From Child Support Guidelines in Florida.
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Jonathan Jacobs is a Divorce Attorney In Clermont Florida, a Divorce Attorney in Orlando Florida, and helps his clients in the surrounding counties. Call the Jacobs Law Firm today for a consultation in your family law case. (407) 335-8113, or e-mail us to schedule an appointment to speak about child support. Admin@JJLawFL.com