Divorce is one of the most challenging things that one can go through. It can push one's mental and emotional strength to their limits. These times can be especially difficult when you have children with your soon-to-be-ex.
You want the best for your children, which means being able to adequately provide for them financially. You may have questions regarding child support in Florida. This guide answers some of the top questions about child support so you can focus on your family and ease your stress about your financial future.
1. How Is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
Getting a divorce does not automatically end your rights and responsibilities as a parent. In Florida, there are two types of custody: legal and physical.
If both you and your ex are awarded legal custody, this will mean you both will have full parental rights over the child. You must both agree on significant decisions that will affect their well-being and future, such as the child's schooling, medical treatment, and other life decisions.
Physical custody gives primary custody of the child to one of the parents. If one parent is given physical custody of the child, the divorce settlement should include a schedule that provides ample time for the child to spend with the non-custodial parent.
The non-custodial parent will typically pay child support. Florida uses the Income Shares Model in order to calculate the amount of money that each parent is required to pay for child support. Essentially the model helps the courts determine an estimate of the amount of money the parents would spend on their child as if they were still living in one home as a family. This amount is then divided between each parent based on their individual incomes.
2. What is Child Support Used For?
Child support payments should be used to support the child's physical and emotional welfare, education, and safety. Florida courts are strict about what the money from child support should be used towards. As such, the court will act strongly against any parent that uses child support to fund their lifestyle at the expense of their child's needs.
Furthermore, child support helps the custodial parent financially support their child. It's essential to have access to these funds in order to ensure the child is taken care. However, if you suspect your ex of misusing child support, you have the right to seek a Bartow family law attorney to initiate a court investigation.
3. What If My Ex and I Share Custody?
In cases where parents have joint physical custody, one parent will likely still need to pay child support. In most shared custody arrangements, one parent will likely have custody for longer periods of time. Joint custody is typically not an equal amount of time. Rather, the non-custodial parent will usually have custody on the weekends or every other weekend.
Additionally, the court assumes that the custodial parent will be using their own income to take care of the child. That is why it is factored into determining the cost of support. Payments are based on the demands of the child and not necessarily the custody schedule.
4. When Can You File for Child Support?
At any time before the child turns 18, a parent can file for child support. However, support will only start once it has been filed and ordered by the court. Therefore, the sooner you file, the sooner you will be able to fully support your child.
Also, if you already have a child support order in place, you can modify it. For example, if your marriage ended when your child was very young, your family's situation has likely changed considerably. Your income, your ex's income, and your child's needs could be vastly different than when you initially filed for child support. Therefore, a modification might be in everyone's best interests.
5. How Do I Enforce Child Support?
Florida takes child support enforcement matters very seriously. If your ex stops making their child support payments, seek out assistance from a Bartow child support attorney immediately. They will help you inform the court and initiate an investigation into the matter. The court can garnish wages and put liens on homes in order to enforce a child support order.
If your ex is trying to get out of paying child support by quitting their job or refusing to look for a new one after being laid off, they will still be required to pay back any missed payments. If the court finds out that either parent has engaged in such behavior, they have the right to impute the income. The longer the non-earning parent refuses to pay child support, the larger the bill will become.
Speak to a Bartow Child Support Lawyer Today
You should never go into child support negotiations without legal counsel. It's essential for you to receive the money you need in order to provide your child with the support they need to live their life. If you need assistance with a child support matter, don't hesitate to reach out to Advocate Law Firm, P.A.. Our child support lawyer will provide you with the skilled insight and expert advice you need to ensure you can properly care for your family.
Contact Advocate Law Firm, P.A. at (863) 644-5566 for a free consultation to discuss your case.