If you are going through a divorce or relationship breakup and have children, you and the other party must have a child support plan to take care of your children’s financial needs. Florida law requires both parents to financially support their children, and the manner of arriving at a support order is governed by a detailed statute. The Gainesville Child Support Lawyers at The Law Office of Silverman, Vorhis & Mack can provide the legal advice you will need to obtain the support order best suited to you and your child’s situation.
The state child support guidelines are contained in Florida Statute 61.30. Generally, courts are required to order the support amount mandated by this section. In its discretion, a court can make a support order that differs up to 5% from the statutorily mandated amount after considering all relevant factors. A court may make a support order that differs in excess of 5% if, upon a written finding of fact, the court determines that such an order would be unjust or inappropriate. Finally, a court may order a different amount if the child is required by court order or mediation to spend a substantial amount of time with one parent.
The method of determining child support in Florida is the one used by most states, namely the Income Shares Model. The support amount is calculated using Florida’s Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, and it takes into account all income for both parents, including salary or wages, bonuses, business income, disability benefits, worker’s compensation, unemployment, social security benefits, spousal support, etc., minus certain allowable deductions. The net income of both parents is then added together to determine the combined household net income. Based on the combined net income, the Child Support Guidelines Chart gives the total amount that should be spent on child support. To that basic amount the court may add child care costs, health insurance or expenses, or other costs. Finally, each parent’s share of the support obligation is determined in proportion to the parent’s percentage share of net income. A parent who earns 40% of the total net income would be responsible for 40% of the support obligation.
The determination of child support is one that has far-reaching consequences for both you and your children. In some cases, it may be necessary to prove the other parent actually receives more income than he or she has divulged. You or your child’s situation may require a deviation from the amount given by the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, and you will need to present evidence and make a legal argument for why the court should order a different amount. The Gainesville Child Support Attorneys at The Law Office of Silverman, Vorhis & Mack are here to help. We have the legal knowledge and negotiating and trial experience you need to obtain the best possible support order for you and your child. Please call us toll free at 866-663-4902, or locally at 352-337-8373 for a consultation.