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Adoption Subsidy and Child Support

An adoption subsidy paid by the State of Florida to the parents of special needs children may not be considered as a credit against the spouse’s child support obligation.

The Legislature has made adoption assistance, including financial aid, available to prospective adoptive parents who adopt a child with special needs through the state’s foster care system.

The purpose of the adoption subsidy is to encourage individuals to adopt special-needs children by assisting the parents with the extra care a special needs child requires.

A subsidy paid by the state is not to be treated as a credit towards a child support obligation.  However, the subsidy is to be divided between the parents based on the percentage of time sharing that each receives under their parenting plan. Tluzek v. Tluzek, 179 So3d 455 (Florida 5th District Court of Appeal 2015).

The trial court had committed error when the court initially credited the full amount of the adoption subsidy against the child support obligation.  This resulted in a negative child support obligation, and a corresponding payment back to the father from the mother, who was the primary caregiver for the child.  This result was obviously inconsistent with the legislative intent regarding adoption subsidies, and the trial court was promptly reversed.

Although the issue of adoption subsidies doesn’t arise very frequently, you should be able to call upon an attorney who is very familiar with adoption subsidies and other unique situations.  Only an experienced attorney, with several years of trial experience, should be called upon to address these unique situations.  Alan R Burton, an experienced divorce lawyer in Boca Raton, Florida, has over 35 years of experience, and has dealt with this issue as well as other complicated issues over his many years as a divorce and family law attorney.  Alan R Burton makes himself readily available, and will provide you with a free consultation, simply by calling him at 954-229-1660 or 954-295-9222.