Serving in St Johns County, Duval County and throughout Florida
Every state determines child support slightly differently.Jacksonville Child Support Attorney is calculated based on a wide range of factors that are unique to a couple’s individual situation. Certain attributes of the child will also play a role in how child support is determined. For example, child support might be higher when the child has a disability that is expected to cost the parents substantial sums in medical expenses.
A Jacksonville Child Support Attorney can help you determine how much your child support should be and how to obtain it. Many unmarried parents attempt to figure and enforce child support obligations informally on their own. While this may seem like a good idea at first, one spouse will often end up not paying at all or not paying as much as was agreed.
Unfortunately, there is no way to enforce these informal agreements. Instead, a family law attorney can help you set up a child support arrangement that has legal consequences if it is not being paid as agreed.
Factors that Affect Child Support in Florida
Florida, like every state, has guide that they use to calculate child support. The most important factor is how much money each spouse earns. Other factors include:
- Child care costs
- Health insurance costs
- Non-covered health costs (dental, prescription, etc.)
- Whether there are additional support payments
- How much time the child spends with each parent
Each parent will be required to fill out a worksheet that calculates the costs related to caring for the child. The starting point is the Florida guidelines. Your family law attorney will help with this process.
Calculating Child Support Obligations in Florida
First, you will have to determine the combined income of both parents. If you know the other parent’s income, then you can fill out the worksheet right away, but if you do not know, then you may have to wait until the other parent files a financial affidavit with the court to provide this information.
Income is figured as coming from every source. This may include:
- Wages or regular income from employment
- Unemployment benefits
- Bonuses, commissions, overtime, tips, etc.
- Business income from self-employment
- Disability benefits
- Workers’ compensation benefits and settlements
- Interest and dividends
- Pension, retirement, or annuity payments
- Rental income
- Social security benefits
- Spousal support received from a previous marriage
Calculating the income together determines what each parent would have to contribute if the child lived with both of them. This method helps insure that the income division is fair based on the total, and not just one parent’s income compared to the other.
Other factors are then added in, including the cost of child care and healthcare. Finally, the number is then adjusted for the amount of time that each parent spends with the child. It is figured by determining the percentage amount of overnights that the child spends with each parent per year.
Generally speaking, if the parent that does not have custody of the child has a higher income than the parent that has custody, then child support will likely be awarded. If the custodial parent has higher income, then it is possible that there will be no child support awarded.
Deviation from Florida Guides
Although Florida laws are somewhat strict on how to figure child support, the Court can deviate from the guidelines for good cause. Factors that might constitute good cause include:
- Extraordinary child care expenses (medical, psychological, educational, or dental)
- The child has independent income
- The custodial parent is receiving both spousal support and child support
- Fluctuations in the parents’ income
- The age of the child
- Tax implications
- Terms of shared parenting agreements
The Court can also deviate for any other factor in order to make sure that child support payments are equitable.
Modifying a Child Support Order
Once you have received a child support order, it can be modified later. However, it will only be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances. Courts vary on what this term actually means, but it usually involves at least one spouse making significantly more or significantly less income than they were at the time the child support order was finalized.
The change should be one that is continuing. For example, if one spouse wins a large lottery prize, the child support modification likely will not be granted unless it is an extremely large amount of money. This is because the income increase is not continuing or is not expected to continue.
Getting Help with Jacksonville Child Support Attorney
Jacksonville Child Support Attorney is an important resource for your family. It can mean the difference between your child living comfortably or not. FLA Legal Professionals, LLC understands how important your child support award is to your family, and we can help. Contact us today for more information.