We discussed in other blog articles how child-support is calculated in Florida. Basically, Child Support is an algebra formula that takes into consideration both parents and, childcare costs, healthcare costs, and the number of overnights that each parent legally has pursuant to a court order. One of the elements that gets litigated, or comes into question when we are trying to figure out child-support is what exactly each person's income is. When people own their own business, work multiple jobs, or have sources of income that are not standard W-2 employee salaries or hourly wages, figuring out what someone's income is to get challenging. One of the places that gets confusing is one of the parents is receiving SSI or SSDI.
Florida statutes are clear, and the less legislature has made it clear that the intention is for SSI and SSDI is to be included in a parents gross income for purposes of child support. So, it is straightforward that when calculating child support, we look at all sources of income that person has which will include SSI or SSDI. We can also look at things such as in-kind payments. Which can include someone regularly paying a car payment for you, or someone paying your rent for you on a regular and ongoing basis. All of these different sources of income get added into the formula and then an algorithm generates an ultimate child-support number.
One thing that becomes very confusing when Social Security is involved is that there is law that states that while Social Security income, be it SSI or SSDI, does get included in child support calculations, we cannot go into SSI or SSDI in order to collect on child-support. This leaves many people in quite a predicament. For example, say that a Father has SSI of $1000 and earns no other money from any source. Then imagine that child support guidelines say that he owes $300 / month in child support. While the mother is entitled to $300 per month in child support, she is not entitled to take that $300 from the Father's SSI. So she has an order but no way to enforce it. Having said that if the Father ever gets any income from any other source, or any money into any of his accounts for any reason, the mother would be able to enforce her claim to that money.
Technical issues such as this regarding child support can become complicated and can make a big difference in calculating child support. If you in a either trying to establish child support or modify child support, the best first step is always going to be to consult with a qualified family law attorney.