Broward County Child Support Lawyer
Helping People Achieve Support Orders in the Greater Miami Area & Florida
Every child deserves to be cared for and financially supported by both parents. Regardless of your income, you may be entitled to child support payments from the other parent. At The Law Offices of Jonny Kousa, P.L., our knowledgeable Coconut Creek child support attorney is here to explain your rights and responsibilities, to help you explore your options, and to help you obtain a fair child support order. Whether you're concerned about your right to receive or your obligation to pay child support, we can help.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
Child support is calculated pursuant to the Florida child support guidelines.
These guidelines take into consideration 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
The non-custodial parent will also need to pay child support. The state of Florida uses the Income Shares Model to calculate the amount of money that each parent must pay for child support. The courts estimate the amount of money they would spend on the child if the family were intact and living as a household. This amount is divided between the former spouses based on their individual incomes.
When Does Child Support End in Florida?
Under normal circumstances, payments would stop when the child turns 18 years old. However, there are exceptions to this:
- Support can continue past the age of 18, up to 19, if they are still in high school
- Support may be continued indefinitely if the child is special needs
- Providing support for college is the payors decision, not the courts. Florida does not require payments for college tuition.
Can You Modify Child Support in Florida?
Unfortunately, many parents in Florida are not aware of the circumstances that may warrant a modification in the monthly child support amount they pay or receive. The court will generally modify a child support award if it finds that there has been “a substantial change in circumstances.” This substantial change has to be material, unforeseen, and continuing in nature; meaning that it has to change the child support amount by at least 15% or $50.00, it was not recognized during the earlier court proceedings, and it affects long term net income.
Significant changes in the amount of money you earn and/or the amount of time you spend with your children generally meet the substantial change in circumstances standard. If you earn more money and/or spend less time with your children, your child support payment may increase. On the flip side, if you earn less money and/or spend more time with your children, your child support payment may decrease.
Do You Have to Pay Child Support if You Have 50/50 Custody in Florida?
Yes, just because there is a 50/50 custody ruling does not mean the support obligation is eliminated. Unless both parties waive the support, it will still be owed. “An order for equal time-sharing for a minor child does not preclude the court from entering an order for child support of the child.” § 61.13, Fla. Stat.
What Can Child Support Be Used For?
Child support payments must be used to support the welfare, education, safety, and material well-being of the child. Florida courts take a very strict line on this and act strongly against any parent who uses such money to finance their lifestyle at the expense of their child.
Child support payments will go to the custodial parent in order to allow them to financially support the child Aside from bills and expenses related to health care, schooling, and transportation, your ex must have the flexibility to assess the immediate needs of your child and spend the money that you provide on them.
What Happens If My Spouse Stops Paying for Child Support?
The state of Florida takes child support enforcement very seriously. If your ex stops paying child support, you should speak to your family law attorney. They will, in turn, inform the court and initiate an investigation into the delinquency. You can rest assured that your ex will not get away with such negligence. Florida judges have the right to garnish wages and to put liens on homes to enforce child support orders.
Your ex cannot get out of paying child support by quitting their job or refusing to look for another one if they have been laid off. If the court finds out that either parent is engaging in such behavior, they will impute the income.
This means the court will hold the parent responsible for paying child support regardless of the fact that they are without work. The longer the non-earning parent refuses to work the larger the bill for child support they could potentially receive.
Child Support Attorney in Broward County
At The Law Offices of Jonny Kousa, P.L., you will have a child support attorney working closely with you to resolve any issues. We can help if you have any further questions about how to file for child support, obtain a fair child support order, or modify or enforce your child support order.