If you are a parent going through a divorce, one of the most critical issues you and the other parent will have to decide on is how you plan on raising your children. Each state has varying laws on custody and support to ensure that a child’s life is not compromised when his or her parents separate.
The Law Offices of Jonny Kousa, P.L. understands that there is nothing more important than your loved ones. When dealing with the hardships of a divorce with children, our attorneys will be there to explain your rights, help you explore your options, and help you obtain a fair child support order.
Below, we’ll go over the key components of Florida’s child support laws and guidelines.
What is Child Support?
We’re starting with the very basics. In Florida, parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially, whether married or not. If they separate, the law will use Florida child support guidelines to determine a fair payment amount. Parents must file and exchange financial affidavits verifying income, and then complete a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.
Unfortunately, child support cases are rarely simple. They can become quite complicated when parents live in different states or when one parent refuses to pay a specific amount, for example. In these contested moments, you should do two things: do what’s in the best interest of your child and work with a skilled family lawyer.
What does Child Support Cover?
There are misconceptions about what’s included in Florida’s child support orders. The purpose of child support is to ensure that the child continues to have an acceptable level of living, covering his or her basic needs. It covers a broad range of expenses, which can include the following:
Basic necessities: Child support should consist of typical expenses such as groceries, eating out, school meals, clothing, and shelter.
Educational fees: This includes tuition, uniforms, school supplies, after-school sports, and tutors.
Childcare: If one or both parents are unable to care for their child due to work-related matters, child support will cover the costs of daycare or a babysitter.
Medical costs: Most states will require at least one parent to provide health insurance for their child.
Extracurricular activities and entertainment: In addition to basic necessities, a child is entitled to basic entertainment, such as computers, games, fun outings, among others.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. If there is another factor in your case that you are unsure about, we recommend that you reach out to your lawyer.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Payments are calculated pursuant to Florida child support guidelines, which follows the “Income Shares Model.” This means that the courts will estimate the amount parents would spend on their children if they were living under one household, and then divide that number between the parents based on their incomes. It will also consider the following factors:The income/earning capacity of each parent
The existing or proposed custody agreement
The number of minor children involved
The cost of daycare and insurance each parent pays for the children
Typically, the non-custodial parent will pay child support even if there’s a joint custody arrangement.
Child Support Modifications
One should also know that child support orders are not set in stone. The court considers substantial changes in circumstances as reasoning to change the monthly child support payment one pays or receives. You can file a request for child support modification for the reasons:
Medical expenses: If a child develops a health condition that requires more medical care
Unemployment: If one parent is unemployed for an extended period
Changes in income: If either parent receives a significant increase in salary
Generally, Florida courts will only consider a modification if it changes the child support amount by at least 15% or $50, it was not recognized during earlier proceedings, and it has long-term effects on net income.
Contact our Broward County Child Support Attorneys
Understanding child support is not easy, and when dealing with such an important matter, it’s essential to partner with a skilled family lawyer. At The Law Offices of Jonny Kousa, P.L., you will have a child support attorney closely working with you to resolve any issues. Whether you need assistance filing, obtaining a fair support order, or modifying or enforcing child support, we’ll be there for you.
Contact (954) 626-8071 to schedule a consultation with a The Law Offices of Jonny Kousa, P.L. child support attorney.