Orlando Child Support Lawyer
Raising children is expensive, and it is often more expensive to raise children as a single parent. For this reason, parents need to pay child support after a divorce or separation.
Unlike other issues in divorce—such as the division of marital property or alimony—child support is not something a parent can waive. Instead, the judge will determine child support according to a state formula. However, problems sometimes arise when there are future changes to a parent’s income or the child’s living arrangements change, contact our Orlando child support lawyers today.
Determining Child Support
The parent who has the child less will pay child support to the parent who has primary custody. In 99% of cases, a judge will decide child support based on the number of overnights the child has with each parent along with each parent’s income. Income includes things like wages, salary, retirement benefits, investments, and other income.
If your ex deliberately quits a job in an attempt to avoid child support, then the judge can impute income to your ex based on their experience and education.
The judge can also adjust the amount of child support to account for other expenses, such as:
- Health insurance;
- Medical costs; and
The judge might also deviate dramatically from the formula if your child has extraordinary needs. For example, a child with disabilities might need expensive at-home care, which both parents will have to pay for.
Modifying Child Support
Life rarely stands still. People often lose jobs or get promoted, start other families, or become sick or disabled themselves. For these reasons, parents often want their child support modified because they need more money or because they can no longer afford to pay support. Unfortunately, Florida judges are not anxious to review child support order after they are set. For this reason, they require a significant change in circumstances, such as:
- The number of overnights with each parent has changed;
- Each parent’s income has increased or decreased significantly; or
- Your child’s needs have significantly changed.
Because Florida does not want to clog the courts with minor modifications, any modification must deviate from the original order by 15% or $50, whichever is greater. So if one parent pays $500 a month, then there must be a request to change the support payment by at least $75. If not, there has not been a sufficient change of circumstances. Modifying child support is not easy, and parents should have an attorney in their corner to help them present their case in the right way.
Enforcing Child Support
It’s one thing for a judge to enter a child support order, quite another for your ex to actually make payments. In our practice, we meet with many parents whose exes have failed to pay child support for months or years. Although anyone can fall on temporary hard times, chances are parents who miss one or two child support payments will continue to miss many more. In this situation, you need to seek a court order to enforce the judgment. This task will require a lawyer’s help.
Speak to an Orlando Child Support Lawyer
Florida’s child support laws are complex, and few people are prepared to effectively represent themselves before a judge. At DSK Law, we have over four decades of experience helping parents navigate the state’s child support laws. For more information, please contact us today.