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Orlando Child Support Lawyer

It’s important for parents to remember that child support is for the benefit of the child, not the parent, and that financially supporting your child is your right and obligation under the law. Do not hesitate to request child support if you are entitled to it, and do not begrudge support because of the way you feel about your child’s other parent. At Arwani Law Firm we help parents work out fair child support arrangements that are in the best interests of their children and accurately reflect the financial circumstances of the family. Our Orlando child support lawyers will help you understand how Florida courts determine child support, so you are comfortable with the amount of child support you are entitled to receive or required to pay.

How Florida Courts Determine Child Support

In Florida, child support is a legal duty owed by both parents. However, when parents no longer live together, children generally stay part of the time with one parent and part of the time with the other. With some families, this time is equal, but in many cases, children live with one parent most the time. Typically, the parent with whom the children live less of the time will be required to pay child support to the other parent. The amount of child support a parent is required to pay is based on guidelines defined by Florida law. These guidelines are used the first time child support is ordered by a court and every time the child support amount changes. Florida child support guidelines consider:

  • The income of both parents
  • The child’s health care and child care costs
  • The standard needs for the child

The court establishing child support must use these guidelines to determine the amount of child support that will go in a Florida child support order. In special circumstances, however, support amounts can be higher or lower than the guideline amounts. For example, a judge may consider a child’s high medical expenses or disability as a reason to change the support amount. If you are in a special situation and your child requires unique care, it is especially important to seek the advice of an experienced Orlando child support lawyer to ensure your child support arrangement accurately reflects your child’s needs.

Florida Child Support Video FAQs

Can child support be reduced in Florida if I remarry and have more children with my new wife?

The fact that you are remarried and have more children does not by itself change or enable you to modify child support. However, if the other parent files for modification and tries to increase that child support, in your answer you can use those facts to argue against the increase in child support and let the court or the judge know that you have more obligations at this point and more children to support.

Can child support be retroactively modified in Florida?

Usually no. However, there are certain circumstances where child support would be retroactively modified such as when filing a supplemental petition to modify the child support. Let’s say a few months go by or maybe a year goes by. We can go back with the court to go back to the date of the filing of the supplemental petition and have the modified child support start on that date.

Can clothing costs be considered as child support in Florida?

Clothing cost is actually factored into the child support guidelines. The formula itself takes into consideration what it would cost for an average child to have clothing. However, if there are some extra cost that is associated with your child such as school uniforms, that is something that you maybe can settle with the other parent if you can. That is something you can go back to court and ask the judge to deviate. The judge has a discretion to deviate from the child support guidelines up to 5% up and 5% down. However, go back to court or talk to an attorney to figure out if there is something you can do with your child support.

Can grandparents open a child support case to establish support for their grandchild(ren)?

Under Florida law, if grandparents are substituting or taking the place of the parents, then they can go to court and ask the court to order the parents to pay child support. However, the grandchild has to be living with the grandparents, they have to be caring for the child at that moment, and they can ask the court to step in and have the parents pay child support.

Can I lower my child support payments in Florida if I spend more time with my kids?

It depends on what time you’re spending with the kids. If you’re spending overnight then and those overnights are considerable, maybe you can go ahead and file for a modification of the time-sharing schedule and get more time and that will change your child support obligation. However, just spending more time with the children during the day is not gonna lower your child support. Another thing to take into consideration is, once you want to modify your child support, there has to be a substantial change of circumstance, not just for the child support itself, and for the time sharing schedule if that is what you’re moving for.

Can the Florida courts include my new spouse’s income when setting child support?

When setting child support, what we look at or what the court is going to look at is your income and the other parent’s income. The new spouse’s income is not a factor that the court takes into consideration. They look into your net income, the other parent’s income, and certain deductions such childcare, and health insurance. Once those are taken into consideration, when we can figure out child support. The new spouse’s income is not taken into consideration under Florida law.

How and where can paternity be established in Florida?

There are two different ways for a paternity to be established in Florida. The first way is through family court. In family court, a parent can go ahead and file a petition to establish paternity. Once that is filed, then the parents can try to settle and get a timesharing schedule and a parenting plan filed, and settle the case and end it. If they cannot settle the case, then they have to go in front of a judge, and the judge will make the determination for the parent based on the best interest of the child and the factors under the best interest.

How are child care expenses divided in Florida?

The other way to establish paternity is through the O.R.. The O.R. will get involved if one of the parent is on any government assistance.

How can child support be changed in Florida?

To change child support or modify child support in Florida under the Paternity and Disillusion of Marriage action, a substantial change of circumstance has to be proven. For example, a parent seeking to modify child support may be able to prove that the child has an increased medical need or some other kind of need that the child has an increased … Or the parent has some medical issues. Please talk to an attorney to figure out if the change in your circumstance is a kind of change that would warrant a modification.

How can I get support when I cannot even locate my ex-spouse?

When you can’t locate your ex-partner, the best thing you can do is get in touch with an attorney. Attorneys and private investigators have access to databases that you don’t have access to. They can locate your spouse. They can even find properties that your spouse. You might be even able to maybe put a lien on that property. Talk to an attorney.

How do I get my child support increased in Florida?

To get your child support increased in Florida, you can settle with the other parent. You can just sit down together and try to settle the case. If the other parent does not agree to a change or modify the child support, you have to go in front of a judge. Going in front of a judge means you have to prove substantial change of circumstance that took place after the entry of the final judgment. It’s a high burden. Talk to an attorney to figure out if the change that you think you have qualifies for a substantial change and a modification.

How is the amount of child support determined in Florida?

By statute. Child support is determined by statue, and it’s based on both incomes of the parents. There are some deductions, but that is something you need to either look up or maybe talk to an attorney about to figure out. Sometimes a parent is unemployed, and sometimes they are voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed. That is when imputation of income comes into place. Talk to an attorney to figure out if the parent or the other parent in your case is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed to see if you can include income to that parent. Another thing you can do is deviate from child support. Talk to an attorney to figure out if deviation is something that applies to your case.

I cannot get by on what is left of my paycheck. How can I get my child support lowered in Florida?

The first thing you need to do is not not pay. You have to make those payments. That is an order in place. Do not violate the order. You will be found in contempt. You may be facing jail time. Do not not pay your obligation. Your obligation has to be paid.

Now, if you cannot make it and if you have good reasons, for example, you have medical expenses that are extremely high, then maybe you can go back to court and ask the judge to lower your child support because of your expenses and those expenses cannot be leisurely expenses. You have to prove to the judge that I have very high expenses for medical issues. The judge may deviate from child support guidelines and may not. However, it doesn’t hurt to try.

If a father terminates his parental rights, does he still have to pay child support in Florida?

The termination of the parental right will terminate the obligation of paying that child support. However, if you are in the process of the termination itself, talk to an attorney if you are not current on your child support. Not being current will delay the termination and you cannot terminate while you owe child support to that child.

If I get joint custody/time-sharing, will I still have to pay child support in Florida?

It depends. If you are making substantially more than the other parent, then yes you will have to pay. Under further statute for the calculation of child support, what we look at is how much you’re making, how much the other parent is making. We look at the other factors such as who is paying for healthcare, who is paying for the daycare if daycare is something that the child is in. Once that is determined, then we can figure out exactly what child support is. But usually if you’re making substantially more than the other parent, yes you will end up paying child support.

My spouse lost their job and stopped paying child support. What do I do?

The first thing you should do is talk to your ex-spouse. Figure out if you can settle the issues. Figure out if you can agree on what is back owed and how it should be paid. Figure out if you can agree on how to move forward. If that doesn’t happen and you can’t settle, and you can’t agree, then go to court, file a motion for contempt, ask the judge to find him in contempt of not following the order. Ask the judge to force him or force her to pay that child support that is owed to you.

What determines how much child support I have to pay in Florida?

Florida child support guidelines is what makes those determinations, your income, your spouse’s income, who pays the healthcare, who pays for daycare if the children or the child is in daycare are all factors that the child support guidelines takes into consideration. Mainly, what we look at is how much each parent is making. If one parent is making substantially more than the other parent, then that parent will likely be paying child support.

What is child support?

Child support is the legal, financial obligation that parents owe their children. Child support is something that a parent can not waive on behalf of the children because it is not the parent’s right. It’s the child’s right.

Will the Florida court consider high living expenses, such as loan payments and income taxes, when determining my ability to pay child support?

Usually not, however, going back to court and educating the court on your expenses at that point is going to be advisable. Child support guidelines themselves do not take those personal expenses into consideration. However, the judge or the court have discretion to deviate from child support. That is something you should be considering and talking about with an attorney, especially if those expenses are something that the children are benefiting from.

At Arwani Law Firm our Orlando child support lawyers will look out for the best interests of your children and zealously protect your parental rights.

While a strict formula determines child support calculations in Florida, the process is not always simple or automatic. Various nuances exist that may alter the final child support amount. At Arwani Law Firm our Orlando child support lawyers go beyond entering numbers into a calculator by looking at all relevant factors to determine a genuinely fair child support arrangement in every unique situation. For more information about child support in Florida, or to schedule a consultation regarding a child support dispute, please contact our office in Orlando.

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