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 family lawyers at The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates can provide the legal advice you will need to obtain the support order best suited to you and your child’s situation.
What Is Child Support?
By definition, child support is court-ordered payments meant to ensure the child(ren) is cared for and supported with financial means. The non-custodial parent usually makes the payments, which are meant to pay for child-related needs like housing, food, clothing, and health insurance. But, child-related expenses can include school tuition, after-school activities, and day care. A child support attorney with The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates can provide legal advice to determine a child support arrangement which will best fit your child’s situation while accounting for the custodial and non-custodial parents.
How is Child Support Determined?
The method of determining child support in Florida is 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
- Business Income
- Disability Benefits
- Workers' Compensation
- Social Security Benefits
- Spousal Support
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 percent of the total net income would be responsible for 40 percent of the support obligation.
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 percent from the statutorily mandated amount after considering all relevant factors. A court may make a support order that differs in excess of five percent 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.
What to Do If You Are Unable to Pay Child Support
If you are unable to pay child support, contact the Gainesville lawyers with The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates. We will assist you in requesting a modification to the child support court order through a petition which will explain the changes in your circumstances. If you were to stop paying child support, you could be subject to a number of penalties, including suspension of your driver’s license and financial garnishments.
Contact a Family Lawyer
The family law attorneys in Gainesville with The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates can help you through all facets of child support during a divorce. Two areas we commonly assist people with are modification of child support and obtaining child support.
Obtaining Child Support
Sometimes divorcing parents are able to agree to a custody arrangement outside of court but disagree over child support. Since child support is court-ordered, a child support lawyer with The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates will work with you and if necessary, Florida’s Child Support Enforcement Program in obtaining child support in your case.
Modification of Child Support
If a material change in circumstance occurs, such as a change in income, one parent may petition the court to modify the child support agreement. The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates will help you with the petition and make a compelling argument as to why modification is needed.
Family Law Attorneys in Gainesville
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 divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates 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.