Trusted Legal Guidance When It Comes to Child Support
Thomas C. Saunders and K.C. Bouchillon have an intimate knowledge of family law matters and understand the complex and sensitive nature of child support. A child support attorney at Saunders Law Group in Bartow, FL, can determine how much child support a parent may owe based on specific Florida laws and statutes.
Child support is required, regardless of how involved either parent wishes to be in raising the child.
Calculating Child Support
Florida law requires child support for children of either unmarried couples or separated or divorced couples. In cases of unmarried parents, a mother seeking child support must establish the father’s paternity through a DNA test. Once established, the father is obligated to provide the child with financial support.
Florida statutes use each parent’s total net income to determine how much child support is owed. At Saunders Law Group, we use a specialized software program that can provide you with a relatively accurate estimate of what a party may owe in child support.
The program takes each party’s gross income, including work and investments, and deducts federal income taxes, Social Security payments, Medicare taxes, and other permitted deductions. This determines net income, which is then used to determine payments.
These calculations also account for which party provides the child with health insurance and daycare or after-school care. These expenses are factored into the child support payment so that even though one party may make these payments, the total cost is shared between both parties. Other factors taken into consideration include the amount of time each parent will spend with the child and if the child has any special needs.
In the state of Florida, a failure to pay child support is not a viable reason to deny visitation rights. Even if child support payments are owed, the court will typically not deny visitation.
Support and Visitation Rights
“The parent who spends less time with the child typically owes more in child support. The total amount owed can fluctuate based on the actual time spent with the child.”
A parent who desires visitation with his or her child must request that the court establish a “Parenting Plan.” This plan is a written document that is incorporated into the Final Judgment or the Order of the Court, establishing the times a parent can visit with the child. Child support obligations may be reduced depending on the amount of time a parent spends with the child. This takes into account that a parent spending a significant amount of time with the child is providing them with direct support, which includes housing, food, and clothing, among other things.
Failure to Pay and Enforcement
In the state of Florida, a failure to pay child support is not a viable reason to deny visitation rights. Even if child support payments are owed, the court will typically not deny visitation. The court considers child support obligations and visitation rights separate issues, which means payments for child support can be ensured through other means while allowing visitation to continue. If child support is not paid, the parent can file a motion with the court to enforce payment of the monies owed.
The court may garnish the other parent’s wages or IRS refunds, or force the sale of certain assets to ensure child support is paid. Under more extreme circumstances, the parent owing money may be placed in jail until the payments are made. Florida courts take unpaid child support seriously, as the obligation often falls onto taxpayers.
Schedule Your Consultation
There are several factors that are taken into account when determining how much child support is owed. The goal of Florida statutes and courts is to ensure uniformity and predictability of child support awards so parents know early on what they will owe. If you need assistance in any area pertaining to child support, contact us online, or give us a call at (863) 533-6200 to schedule your consultation at Saunders Law Group.
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