Child Support Provisions
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Aside from continuing to provide love and regular attention, parents have no higher obligation than to provide financially for their children after the divorce. Child Support is more important than any other debt or financial obligation. What level of support will be required? A court will determine the amount, and an experienced attorney can help assure that the determination is fair under the law.
Attorney Michael Hines has represented clients in establishing, modifying, and enforcing Child Support obligations.
At the Law Office of Michael Hines, P.A., we have substantial experience in obtaining the correct records and documentation necessary to accurately assess and establish net income in order to ensure support is calculated fairly. Hines and his team are prepared to handle cases where incomes are difficult to prove due to unemployment, underemployment, or where income is otherwise not easily determined due to complicated business or financial interests, or cases in which extraordinary income is involved.
Beyond the Basic Child Support Obligation
In addition to the basic Child Support obligation, parents are obligated to share in other child related expenses, often referred to as "extraordinary expenses." Extraordinary expenses may include uninsured health care, education, sports and other extracurricular activities, work related childcare, travel, and other expenses that may be unique to a particular child.
Although not technically Child Support, the courts are able under certain conditions to require parents to pay for the higher education expenses of their adult children. Again, the sharing of these expenses is typically based on the parents' net incomes. Once net incomes are determined, each parent's pro rata share of the combined net income is determined. The resulting percentage is used to allocate responsibility for extraordinary expenses.
For example, if John's net income is $5,000 a month, and Joan's net income is $3,500 a month, the combined net income of both parties is $8,500. John's share of the combined net income is 59% ($5,000 / $8,500), and Joan's share is 41% ($3,500 / $8,500). Thus, John will pay 59% of extraordinary expenses, and Joan will pay 41%.
Child Support Enforcement
Either a private party or the state can file an enforcement action on a State Child Support order. At the Law Office of Michael Hines, P.A., we have handled many Child Support enforcement and contempt actions. We have negotiated and litigated on behalf of parties seeking back Child Support judgments, as well as those defending against such actions.
We also have experience in cases brought by the State through the prosecutor's office or the Department of Child Support.
If you need to establish a support order, enforce an order, or if you have been served with or need to file a Child Support modification action, we invite you to contact the Law Office of Michael Hines, P.A. to schedule an appointment.
Determining Child Support
Child Support is the most predictable aspect of divorce. The amount of Child Support the non-residential parent pays is determined after custody, property division, and alimony (if any) are decided. Florida Child Support is based on a ratio of the net incomes of the parents — the more you make, the more you pay. From that baseline, a judge can deviate up or down by 5 percent without any findings or more than 5 percent after making specific findings justifying the deviation.
For example, additional support may be awarded for private school tuition (if the child already attends) or if your child has a medical condition. If the paying parent has a very high income and the amount of support greatly exceeds the child's needs, the court may appoint a guardian to help manage the child's financial interests (often through a trust fund).
Another limiting factor is custody and timesharing. If the non-primary parent has at least 40 percent of the overnights, Child Support is calculated at a lower ratio. However, parents who litigate for the 40% overnight requirement to obtain a lower Child Support amount will most likely discover that they really do not save money.
Child Support Compliance in Florida
Subtleties in your particular case may be cause for a variation of the Child Support, or it may be necessary in the future to ask for modification of Child Support due to changed circumstances, effectively increasing or possibly decreasing the support received.
It is also an unfortunate truth that there are times when non-compliance to Child Support stipulations becomes an issue, and it is then necessary to seek the help of a lawyer to deal with this so that the rights of you and your child are protected. With Child Support for your case being such a vital part of your child’s future, selecting an experienced Child Support lawyer is a must.
Parents have an obligation to support their children financially. If you are having trouble with unpaid Child Support, we can help you take the correct legal steps to try and enforce your award, collect past due Child Support, and make sure future Child Support is collected promptly. Similarly, if you are still paying Child Support for a child who is an adult, then call our office to discuss what Attorney Michael Hines and his experienced team can do to help you.
Attorney Michael Hines has represented fathers and mothers and their children in Child Support actions from discovery to the simple to the complex to the seemingly impossible.