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Child Support Attorney in Orlando, Florida

Under Florida law, if there is a minor child or children involved in a divorce case or a paternity case, then the final judgment must contain a section regarding payment of child support and health insurance for the child. The parents may not waive child support and they may not agree to an amount less than the guidelines set by legislation.  

But what does this mean for you and your family? And how can you ensure that your child's financial needs are fully addressed during legal proceedings? 

Child support calculations in Florida are guided by the Income Shares Model, which estimates the amount of support a child would have received if the parents lived together. This model considers: 

  1. Each parent's net income

  1. The number of overnight stays the child has with each parent

  1. Childcare and health insurance costs

  1. Uncovered medical expenses and other extraordinary expenses

If you're dealing with a child support issue, having experienced legal representation is crucial. Our Orlando child support attorney at The Spence Law Firm recognizes the delicate nature of these cases and is committed to securing the right support arrangement for your child.  

We've been assisting biological, non-biological, and adoptive parents in Florida for over twenty-one years. Our practice encompasses a wide range of family law services, including child support and modification cases. 

We'll fight to safeguard your child's right to financial support and work to establish an arrangement that best serves their needs. Contact our law firm in Orlando, Florida, to schedule a free consultation today.  

Overview of Child Support in Florida 

Florida Statutes section 61.30 outlines the framework for determining child support obligations. This legislation mandates that child support is designed to maintain the child's standard of living and cover essential needs such as food, housing, and education.  

When calculating child support in Florida, there are strict laws and statutory guidelines that determine the correct amount. It’s important to note that the Florida child support calculation does not examine the actual costs of support. There is no analysis of the expenses that need to be paid.  

Instead, child support is calculated based on the parties’ respective net incomes, less certain deductions, and then adjusted by certain variables.  

The court will consider various aspects, such as: 

  • The income and earning capacity of each parent

  • The financial needs and standard of living of the child

  • The child's health, education, and extracurricular activity costs

  • The child's current living situation and any special needs they may have

  • Each parent's responsibility for other dependents

How Can a Lawyer Help Me With Child Support Issues? 

A lawyer can provide invaluable assistance with child support issues by offering expert guidance and representation throughout the legal process. They can help you understand your rights and obligations, ensuring that all necessary documentation is accurately prepared and submitted to the court.  

An experienced child support attorney will advocate on your behalf, striving to secure a fair and appropriate support arrangement that reflects the best interests of your child. They can also assist with enforcement or modification of existing child support orders if your financial situation or the needs of your child change.  

At The Spence Law Firm, our Orlando child support lawyer will help you present a strong case, thoroughly examining all relevant factors, such as both parents' incomes and the child's needs. We adopt a client-focused approach, so when you work with us, you can rest assured that your child's best interests are our top priority. 

Obtain a Fair Child Support Arrangement

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AHow to Calculate Child Support 

Three of the most important components of child support are the number of children, each parent’s monthly income, and how many overnights the child spends with each parent.   

The calculation typically starts with the net monthly income of each parent. Net income is a parent’s monthly gross income, less certain allowed deductions. Hourly employees are easy to calculate, but it can be more difficult for self-employed individuals and business owners to calculate their income.   

Once the gross income is calculated, the only deductions allowed from gross income are all payroll withholding taxes, union dues, alimony paid pursuant to a court order, child support paid pursuant to a court order, and the cost of the parent’s health insurance.  That’s it.  The amount remaining after the allowed deductions is net income. 

The number of overnights the child spends with each parent also has to be calculated.  Florida uses a sliding scale that adjusts child support if the child stays with the paying parent at least 20% of the overnights per year. The actual number is 73 or more overnights per year. As the number of overnights increases over 73, child support decreases accordingly. As the time-sharing approaches a 50/50 split (182/183 overnights), child support decreases significantly and sometimes can disappear altogether if there is a 50/50 time-sharing plan. 

Deviation From the Child Support Guidelines 

The net income of the parties, the number of children, and the number of overnights for each parent are entered into the equation and produce a number that equals the amount of child support due each month. Either party may file a motion to deviate from the guidelines amount, if necessary.   

The statute only allows a deviation of between 5% and 10% of the guidelines amount, if certain factors are shown. 

Daycare and Uncovered Medical Expenses May Be Included 

In addition to child support payments, the court may also order that the parties include daycare costs for the children and medical and dental expenses not paid for by insurance.  Daycare is included only if it is necessary for the parent to work. These expenses are typically paid at the same percentage as their respective net incomes.   

For example, if the mother makes $5,000 per month and the husband makes $2,500 per month, then the mother would pay 5,000/7,500, or 67% and the father would pay 2,500/7,500, or 33% of the amounts due for daycare and uncovered medical expenses.  One advantage of including these amounts in the child support calculation is that they would be paid pursuant to an income withholding order, discussed below. 

Child Support FAQs 

What if my financial situation changes after the child support order is established? 

If your financial situation changes significantly after a child support order is in place, you may request a modification of the support amount. Changes could include job loss, significant income increase, or unexpected medical expenses. It's important to act quickly and consult with an attorney to understand your options and file the necessary motions with the court. 

How long does child support last in Florida? 

In Florida, child support generally continues until the child turns 18. However, if the child is still in high school and expected to graduate before their 19th birthday, support may continue until graduation. In cases where the child has special needs, support obligations could extend beyond the age of 18.  

Can child support be enforced if the other parent lives in a different state? 

Yes, child support can be enforced across state lines. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) facilitates cooperation between states to establish and enforce child support orders. This ensures that financial support is not affected by interstate moves and parents cannot evade their obligations. 

An experienced attorney can assist in coordinating with other states to ensure that child support obligations are met, regardless of where each parent resides. 

What happens if the other parent doesn't pay child support? 

If the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, several enforcement actions can be taken. The court may impose wage garnishments, suspend drivers' or professional licenses, intercept tax refunds, and even hold the non-compliant parent in contempt of court.  

It's crucial to work with a knowledgeable attorney to navigate the enforcement process and protect your child's financial well-being. 

Can we settle a child support agreement without going to court? 

Yes, parents can agree on a child support arrangement outside of court, but it must be approved by the court to be legally binding. This ensures the agreement is fair and in the child's best interests.  An attorney can help facilitate negotiations and draft an agreement that meets legal standards and addresses the needs of the child effectively. 

Child Support Attorney Serving Orlando, Florida

For comprehensive legal assistance with your child support case, contact us at The Spence Law Firm for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney. We proudly serve clients throughout Orange County, Florida, and the surrounding areas, including Oak Ridge, Pine Hills, Lockhart, Maitland, Azalea Park, Osceola County, Lake County, and Seminole County.