Child Care Costs, Health Insurance and Out-Of-Pocket Medical Expenses
The child support statute sets forth how certain child-rearing expenses shall be allocated between the parties. For example, Fla. Stat. §§ 61.30 provides that child care costs, health insurance costs, and any noncovered medical, dental, and prescription medication expenses of the child shall be added to the basic child support obligation and apportioned based on the parties’ respective percentage shares of child support, rather than divided equally between the parties. In other words, the amount that each parent must contribute to daycare costs, health insurance costs, and out-of-pocket medical expenses is determined by dividing each parent’s monthly net income by their combined net income.
The child support statute does not address how other child-rearing expenses, such as timesharing travel expenses, private school tuition and/or college tuition, shall be allocated by the parties; Florida case law, however, has provided the analysis set forth below for the allocation of these expenses.
Timesharing Travel Expenses
Hindle v. Fuith, 33 So. 3d 782 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010) held that expense of transporting a minor child for timesharing is a childrearing expense like any other, which should be shared between the parents in accordance with their financial means. Accordingly, this case stands for the proposition that timesharing travel expenses should be allocated between the same parties in the same manner as child care costs, health insurance costs, and any noncovered medical, dental, and prescription medication expenses.
Private School Tuition
The court cannot require a parent to contribute to a child’s private schooling expenses unless the court makes three factual findings: (1) the parties have the ability to pay such expense; (2) the expense is in accordance with the parties’ customary standard of living, and (3) attendance at a private school is in the best interest of the minor child. See Brennan v. Brennan, 122 So. 2d 923 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013). If there is not enough evidence supporting any one of these factors, then the court cannot require either parent to contribute to a child’s private school tuition. The parties, however, can always voluntarily contribute to their child(ren)’s private school expenses.
A parent’s obligation to support a minor child terminates when the child becomes an adult. As such, the courts lack the authority to enter an order requiring the parents to contribute to the cost of college. Leaird v. Learid, 540 So. 2d 243 (Fla. 4th DCA 1989). Florida case law, however, provides that the courts may enforce an obligation for prepaid tuition. Accordingly, if the parties enter into a Marital Settlement Agreement or Parenting Plan which provides that they will pay for their children’s college tuition in advance by purchasing a Florida Prepaid College Tuition Program, then the court may enforce the provision and order the parties to comply with it.