The end of a marriage is a painful and difficult time. Things can be made even worse if there are children involved. Divorces can be bitter, painful, difficult, and expensive; or, they can be civilized, amicable, and relatively inexpensive. No matter the unresolved stress and strain between you and your ex, you should try to make things as easy as you can for your children.
But trying to protect your children from the worst effects of divorce need not mean capitulation. You must defend your financial and material rights. If you are to have sole custody or some form of joint custody with you as the primary provider, it is essential that you get financial support to raise your children in relative comfort and decency.
How Child Support Is Determined in Florida
In the state of Florida, each parent is obligated to contribute a certain amount of money for the support of their children. The courts determine this by estimating the amount of money the parents would have spent on the children if they had stayed together and divided by two.
Judges have some flexibility in making this judgment. They are allowed to set payment at 5 percent above or below the original amount calculated if circumstances warrant it. The courts will decide this by taking into consideration factors such as salary, wages, benefits, and health insurance.
When a Court May Impute Income
There are parents who deliberately give up work, take lower paying jobs, or reduce the number of hours they work to avoid paying their fair share of child support. If you suspect that your former spouse has done this, you should alert the court to it. Judges have the power to impute income to parents who are found to be deliberately under-employed.
They can only do this if they have conclusive evidence that voluntary under-employment is occurring. If this is the case, then the court will treat that parent as if they are fully employed, and they will still be responsible for paying their share of child support.
Why You Need a Family Law Attorney
As the above case shows, child support is rarely a straight forward matter. One of the first things you should do when going through your divorce is to hire a child support attorney. You should certainly make this move if you were a stay-at-home parent and homemaker during the marriage. If your work in these roles supported and gave comfort to your ex, who was as a result able to achieve great success in their job, then you must ensure that a significant amount of that money will go to the upkeep and future education of your children.
Many stay-at-home moms, especially, find themselves in this situation. When determining the amount of money that each parent must pay, the court does take into consideration the relative earning of each individual. If your ex was making all the money, then they will be compelled to pay most of the child support until you can re-establish yourself in the working world.
Getting Your Ex to Pay
It can be difficult to get an ex to pay what they should. That is why you need the help and advice of a family law attorney. They can help you provide the court with a full picture of your ex-spouse’s finances so that your children do not go wanting for anything.
It is the practice of many well-off and successful individuals when going through a divorce to hide their money. They use a variety of legal tools and mechanisms to avoid court-ordered reporting requirements. A child support attorney will bring in professionals who are able to carry out a thorough forensic examination of your ex’s finances. They will track down every penny that they have earned and saved during the time you were married, which the court can then take into account when deciding how much they will have to pay.
If it has been some time since you have had to worry about bringing in enough money to support yourself and your kids, you need not to be frightened. A child support attorney can help you draw up a financial plan for yourself and your children. They will also argue before the court the specific amount of money you need to care for your children.
If you have children and you are going through a divorce, you need aggressive legal representation.
Call us today at (863) 644-5566 for a no-fee consultation to discuss your case.