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How Florida Courts Determine Child Custody

Florida Statute 61.13(1)(c) states “To the extent necessary to protect an award of child support, the court may order the obligor to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure the child support award with any other assets which may be suitable for that purpose.” So, what does this mean in layman’s terms? The court can order one parent to buy life insurance benefitting the other parent/children if there are children involved. And if there is child support. And if the circumstances warrant it. Actually, there are a whole host of caveats and requirements with this one. This is definitely a situation where it’s important that you get a lawyer’s help.

Cases like Cozier v Cozier, Walker v Walker and Cardona v Casas state that “special circumstances” must be found to support the requirement of a life insurance policy. It also must be very clear that the children are the beneficiaries of that life insurance policy – rather than the other parent. Courts have also found that there must be specific findings that the party required to maintain the life insurance have the ability to pay and that the insurance be available.

The statute is broadly related to this issue – stating only that a court may order a party to purchase life insurance related to child support. The case law is varied and far more in depth – explaining about the special circumstances and who may benefit and when. Make sure that you have help during your divorce so that you successfully navigate this issue and the myriad others that can and likely will arise. Call Dunham and Ingram.