Child Support Lawyers Helping Your Family
In Florida, child support is as close to a formula based family law issue as you will see. However, that does not mean that calculating child support is cut and dry. As your child support attorney servicing the Palatka, FL area, it is important you hire an attorney that is well versed in the area of child support law. Sometimes your child support lawyer will need to figure out what the other parent’s true income is. Sometimes, we have to figure out what type of child custody is currently in place or what will be established. Things like child care and health insurance premiums also play a large role in calculating the correct child support.
Child support laws, like those surrounding custody, are generally designed to ensure a certain level of security for the child involved. Courts consider a wide range of factors when calculating and ordering child support. An experienced Palatka child support lawyer at the Douglas Law Firm can help you understand how judges consider these issues and ensure that your rights are asserted and protected.
How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
Our family law attorneys are familiar with every nuance of the child support guidelines and will make certain the amount of support you pay or are paid will be fair. Child support guidelines consider:
- The needs of the child or children
- The income of both parents
- The contributions for daycare expenses and health insurance
- Current Custody arrangement
Florida courts use a set of guidelines to try to determine the total amount of child-related expenses and divide that amount among the spouses based on their respective income. The share of those expenses allotted to the noncustodial parent is considered the presumptive amount. Although courts have some wiggle room to make changes to the presumptive child support obligation, they are limited to a five percent increase or decrease.
Defining Income and Finances with a Palatka Child Support Lawyer
This approach makes it crucial that courts have an accurate picture of each parents’ financial resources and child-related expenses. A Palatka child support attorney at the Douglas Law Firm can help clients ensure that they are correctly reporting their income and that the other parent is also playing by the rules.
Each parent is required to file an affidavit detailing their gross income, which includes salary and wages, bonuses and commissions, business income, disability payments, various forms of government assistance, and other earnings.
Courts also have the power to impute unearned income to a parent in certain circumstances. A parent who willfully remains unemployed or underemployed to avoid a larger child support payment, for example, may be considered to have a higher income for purposes of calculating support obligations. Income can also be imputed if a parent fails to provide an accurate financial affidavit.
Certain expenses can also be deducted from gross income for child support calculation purposes. That includes taxes, healthcare costs, mandatory retirement payments, and court-ordered child support for other children. Net income is the amount of the gross income remaining after deducting these expenses. That amount is plugged into a grid, depending on the number of children involved to determine the child support obligation.
Enforcement and Modification of Your Child Support Payments
Child support orders are legally enforceable. Parents have the right to petition the state revenue department to enforce a child support order in the event that the other parent is not paying his or her share. That includes withholding money from the parent’s paycheck, suspending his or her driver’s license, or withholding tax returns.
Spouses also have the right to seek a modification of a child support order. Generally, the spouse seeking the order must show that there has been a change in circumstances that is sufficiently substantial to justify the modification.
A Palatka child support lawyer at the Douglas Law Firm can help parents looking to enforce a child support order, or modify the amount or frequency of support payments. Our team of child support attorneys is well versed in the intricacies of calculating child support and will work with you to make sure you or your child is not taken advantage of by the State or the other parent. We take the time to understand each client’s unique situation and craft a plan designed to meet their specific goals.
Connect with a Palatka Child Support Attorney Today