Child Support Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Even in the face of divorce, both parents are expected to continue to support their child or children financially. According to Very Well Family, as of January 2020, about 87.9 percent of child support agreements in the U.S. were formal, established through a court or a Title IV-D agency. The parents themselves established 12.1 percent of informal child support agreements. Almost a quarter of all custodial parents requested government assistance in collecting child support. The “average” amount of child support due was less than $500 per month with many single, custodial parents receiving no more than $287 per month in child support.
In the state of Florida—as in all states—child support is a court-ordered financial obligation for the care of a child. Florida law does not allow parents to waive child support obligations, believing every parent has a legal—and moral—obligation to financially support their child. While most judges abide by the Florida Child Support Guidelines, a judge is allowed to deviate from these Guidelines under certain circumstances.
If you are dealing with child support issues, the Broward County Lauriston Law Firm child support lawyers can help. We understand that child support can be an emotionally charged issue for both parents; our goal is to make it as simple and straightforward as possible. We want to ensure your child is financially taken care of until he or she reaches the age of majority and will work hard for that outcome.
Legal Definition and Laws Regarding Child Support in Florida
The statutes that govern child support are found in the 2021 Florida Statutes, Chapter 61 (61.13). The court may, at any time, order one parent to pay financial support to the other parent or could order both parents to pay financial support to a third party in accordance with the child support guidelines schedule. A schedule will state the amount of monthly child support obligation for all minor children at the time of the order—and the amount of the child support after one or more children turn 18.
What are the Different Types of Child Support in Broward County?
A single mother could receive child support from the biological father of the child, or, in the case of a married couple, one party—usually the parent who has primary custody—will receive child support from the other, depending on the salaries of both parents. No matter your specific situation, your child is entitled to financial support from the other parent. At Lauriston Law Firm, we will fight on your behalf to ensure you receive child support to help you support your child or children.
What is the Fort Lauderdale Formula for Determining Child Support?
Any time child support is an issue, parents must file and exchange financial affidavits which verify their income and expenses. A Child Support Guidelines Worksheet must be completed by the parents as well. Parents with an annual gross income of less than $50,000 will complete Form 902(b) while those with an annual gross income greater than $50,000 will complete Form 902(c). Child support obligations are based on how many children will receive support, along with the combined net incomes of both parents. Net income is gross income minus any allowable deductions. Gross income includes earned or unearned income such as:
- Self-employment income
- Interest income
- Unemployment benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Rental income
- Pension or retirement benefits
Deductions from earned and unearned income include:
- Child support payments for children from other relationships
- Spousal support
- Medicare and Social Security payments
- Mandatory retirement payments
- Union Dues
- Health insurance premiums
- Local, state, and Federal income tax deductions
Under the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet chart there are basic child support amounts. Once all the necessary affidavits have been filed to determine individual net income, the chart will determine the basic corresponding support amount. This basic support amount will be shared by the parents proportionately to the income of each parent. When one parent has primary physical custody of the child and the other has visitation that consists of less than 20 percent of overnights, the basic calculation gives you the support amount for the non-custodial parent. The presumption by the courts is that the custodial parent already pays directly for costs related to raising the child or children.
Additional calculations are likely to be required. Obviously, it costs more money to maintain two separate households for children. The Guidelines include what is known as a “gross-up” method for these situations. The monthly costs of healthcare for the child or children (health insurance premiums along with non-covered medical, dental, and prescription medication costs), as well as monthly childcare costs, must also be added into the mix. Adjusting calculations for parenting time can be extremely complex. Having child support lawyers from Lauriston Law Firm that are highly knowledgeable regarding Florida child custody calculations can make the process immeasurably easier.
What About Child Support Deviations from the Florida Guidelines?
Sometimes, a parent may request an amount that is different from the Florida guidelines—known as a deviation. Parents requesting a deviation must file a Motion to Deviate from Child Support Guidelines. If a child has extraordinary expenses related to special needs, education, or medical issues, the court might find that a deviation is fair. Courts will also consider whether the child has an independent source of income. While the guidelines contain a detailed list of factors that can be considered by the court, the judge may actually make any adjustments he or she finds fair.
How Do Post-Judgment Modifications Work?
Occasionally, after a child support order is in place, one parent may seek to modify the order. To do so, the parent must show there has been a substantial change in circumstances. For instance, perhaps one parent obtained a much higher paying job—or the paying parent lost his or her job. If either of the parents suffers a serious health issue, this could qualify as a substantial change in circumstances. Florida courts are unlikely to consider a child support modification unless the difference between an existing award and the amount determined by a new analysis would be at least 15% or $50—whichever is greater.
How the Child Support Lawyers from Lauriston Law Firm Can Help
If you are a Broward County parent dealing with a child support issue, the child support lawyers at Lauriston Law Firm can help you achieve the best possible outcome for all those involved—and particularly for your child. When you value transparency, honesty, trust, and advocacy, we are the law firm for you. We are highly client-centered and truly care about your life and your future. Contact Lauriston Law Firm today.