The Florida Divorce Health Insurance Deduction

by Tom Streissguth
Florida courts add health insurance and medical expenses to the guideline child support amount.

Florida courts add health insurance and medical expenses to the guideline child support amount.

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In a Florida divorce case, state law replaces "custody" with a time-sharing principle based on how many overnights a child spends with each parent. If the divorce involves child support, the contribution of each parent to health insurance premiums may become an issue. Depending on who's paying the insurance charge, the court may adjust the monthly support amount owed by one parent to the other.

Monthly Income and Support Amount

Florida provides divorcing parents a way to calculate the correct amount of monthly child support they will each contribute. The first step in this process is to figure the monthly income earned by the couple and then apply a percentage to this number to arrive at the minimum amount needed for child support. For example, as of April 2014, the guidelines provide that a couple that together earns $3,000 needs $644 a month for a single child and $1,001 a month for two children.

Setting Contributions

Another factor involved is the net income earned by each parent. Florida allows adjustments to income for health insurance payments. If, for example, a father earns $1,100 a month but pays $100 a month for his own insurance, then his adjusted net income is $1,000. If the mother earns net income of $2,000, then the father should contribute one-third of the total amount needed by Florida's guidelines after the "time-sharing" adjustment.

Time-Sharing

The "time-sharing" factor replaces "custody" in Florida law. The more frequently a child stays with one parent (based on overnights per week), the less that parent is expected to contribute to the total child support amount. To resolve the difference in amounts each parent contributes, the parent who owes a larger contribution to child support pays a fixed monthly amount to the Florida Department of Revenue, which keeps tracks of payments and disburses the money to the other parent.

Health Insurance Deduction

It is common for Florida divorce agreements to include an order on health insurance for dependent children. If the court has ordered health insurance coverage, then the cost of that insurance -- in addition to uncovered medical expenses -- is added to the guideline total support amount. If a parent pays the insurance premium for the child, that payment is deducted from his contribution. If the father should be contributing $800 in monthly support but he also pays $100 for health insurance premiums for the child, for example, the law will adjust his support payments to $700 a month -- on the condition, of course, that he continues to pay for the insurance.

Other Expenses

The court can adjust child support obligations on other grounds. If there are daycare expenses, for example, then 75 percent of that amount will be added to the guideline-expected child support amount for the parents. If circumstances change, the court will consider a change in the child support contribution of one or both parents. If a parent lands a job that covers health insurance for the child, for example, then the law would allow an adjustment in the expected support. Florida law does not allow "do-it-yourself" adjustments in child support amounts, however -- they must result from a court order.