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What is taken into account when calculating child support?

One of the goals of family law is to help provide a sense of stability to couples and their children after they are divorced. This is accomplished by splitting assets fairly and drawing up custody arrangements that reflect the best interests of the children involved. Although this seems like a simple concept, it can be much more difficult to put into practice.

Raising children is an important task that requires financial resources. As such, a divorce settlement may include child support payments. This can become a point of contention, as parents might have differing opinions about how much monthly support is needed. Florida law, however, does provide guidelines based on needs and a parent's ability to make payments.

As parents approach divorce, it's important to make an accurate assessment of income, assets and child-rearing costs. This way, settling on monthly payments can become an easier task. This begs the question: What can be included in the paying parent's income?

The Ohio Supreme Court recently took a look at this question, which may be of interest to readers. According to reports, one man was trying to modify his monthly payments because his salary was cut. Included in his claim was the idea that job perks (such as a company car) shouldn’t be included in child support considerations.

The state's high court disagreed, however. They determined that the man's income was still high enough that a reduction wouldn't be necessary. Not only that, but receiving valuable job perks effectively makes a person's income higher, as they have more disposable income.

Although this ruling doesn't apply to Florida, it's something that couples may want to keep in mind as they are considering a support settlement. Being up front about earnings and child-care costs can make the process of coming to an agreement less complicated.

Source: Cleveland.com, "Ohio Supreme Court says company car, other job perks should count in child support calculations," Jeremy Pelzer, Oct. 16, 2013

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