Establishing & Modifying Child Support
Ensuring Your Children Have The Financial Support They Need
Other than the emotional involvement and time that is spent raising children, the number one obligation of parents during and after a divorce is to make sure their children are supported financially. While the amount of child support will be determined according to Florida statute, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side to make sure any child support order accurately reflects your situation.
At Thompson Family Law, P.A., in Fort Myers, Florida, we work closely with parents who are going through a divorce, helping them arrive at a child support arrangement that protects their interests and provides for their children. To speak with a lawyer, call 239-243-9297 or toll free at 888-550-6071.
Florida Child Support Guidelines
Under Florida law, child support consists of three parts: amount of regular financial support, child care, health insurance and medical expenses.
The child support guidelines take into consideration the number of children and the combined income of the parents. The support obligation is divided between the parents in direct proportion to each person’s income and earning capacity.
Courts have limited choices. They must calculate child support under the state guidelines. The court may order support 5 percent above or 5 percent below the guideline amount without providing an explanation. The courts can deviate from the guidelines only by providing written reasons why they are not following the guidelines. It is important to have an attorney to make sure the information being used in the formula is accurate.
Adjustments can be made if the court recognizes situations that make application of the guidelines unfair such as unusually high medical, psychological, education or dental expenses, or where the child is spending a considerable amount of the time with his or her secondary residential parent and that parent provides food and clothing outside of child support. The court also has the discretion of reducing child support payments if the parent would be required to pay more than 50 percent of their gross income.
If adjustments to child support payments become necessary, the request for such an adjustment must be spelled out before the court will consider hearing the request.
Can You Modify Child Support?
Yes. Post-decree modification can occur if a significant change has occurred in your situation. For instance, in the event of a job loss or promotion, child support orders will need to be updated to reflect the reality of your financial situation. Also, child support would need to be changed if custody arrangements are modified.
Paying Child Support Is Not Negotiable
Parents have an equal legal and moral obligation to support their children to the best of their ability. Parents are responsible for the nurturing and support of their children. Each child has the right to be supported regardless of any court action or agreement made by the parents. A parent cannot make a deal that would change his or her basic responsibility of supporting the child.
Child support usually begins when parents stop living together. It is customary for the person who has a higher income and ability to pay to provide financial support to the other parent for that child. The parent receiving the support is usually the primary caregiver. If you are the person providing child support, you should always pay by check and keep good records.
To learn more about your options for establishing or modifying child support, we encourage you to contact our firm today to speak with a seasoned family law attorney.