Subsequent Children

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The Florida child support guidelines are designed to discourage a parent from having additional children that he or she cannot afford to support financially.  The Florida child support guidelines are designed to give the most money to the first child.  This award is based on either the first child to file for support or the child born first in time.  Awards to subsequent children will take into account child support awards ordered in another case.  If there is no child support award for the subsequent child, the expenses can be taken into account but cannot be the basis for a reduction in child support.

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For illustrative purposes only I would to use the characters in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian had three children:  Hilary, Carlton, and Ashley.  They also agreed to support and help raise Will who was their nephew.  Towards the end of the show, they also had a fourth child, Little Nicky.  If Uncle Phil found out that Aunt Vivian cheated on him and Nicky is not his son (there are rumors that Geoffrey is the father), and he leaves her and files for divorce.  Uncle Phil would have to pay child support for Ashley (since she was under age 18 when Nicky was born) and Nicky unless Nicky’s biological father came forward to claim him.

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Three years later Uncle Phil marries Jane Doe and has a son, Phil Jr. with Jane.  Uncle Phil cannot use Phil Jr. as a reason to decrease his child support that he pays for Ashley and Nicky.  Years go by and Uncle Phil is appointed to the California Supreme Court with a huge increase in salary.  Aunt Vivian can use his salary increase as a jusitification to increase his child support payments; however, Uncle Phil can use the existence of Phil Jr. as a reason for the court to not increase child support. Ultimately, his expenses for Phil Jr. are considered but are not used as a deduction of his income.  In fact, if Uncle Phil has to take a second job as a tv judge to pay for Phil Jr. to go to Bel Air Prepatory School, the income from the second job MAY be disregarded if Uncle Phil can prove he only got the second job to support Phil Jr.  See Fla. Stat. 61.30(12)(a)-(c).   

If Jane Doe became frustrated that a lot of Uncle Phil’s salary is going toward child support to Aunt Vivian and leaves him, Uncle Phil would be responsible for child support for Ashley, Nicky, and Phil Jr.  In calculating his child support to Jane Doe for Phil Jr., the amount Uncle Phil pays Vivian for Ashley and Nicky would be considered a deduction from his income to reduce his child support obligation.  His child support to Jane Doe for Phil Jr. cannot be used a deduction for his child support to Vivian for Ashley and Nicky.

As you can tell, subsequent children makes matters complicated when it comes to determining what factor they play in calculating child support.  “It would appear that there was a legislative recognition that parties should be aware of their support obligation to existing children, and should take that into account prior to assuming further obligation.” Robinson v. Robinson, 657 So. 2d 958, 960 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995).  As a public policy matter, this was by design to discourage parents from having subsequent children until they first ensured they cared for and provided for the children that already exist.  So for subsequent children, do not rely upon their additional expense to ensure a reduction in the expenses you already have.

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