Child support is presumed by law that a parent has the duty and the ability to financially support their child. The state has a program where the parent can go, and for free they will establish child support for you. In many cases where a parent comes into my office, solely to seek to establish child support, I would advise them to go to the Department of Revenue, where they will provide this service for free. It may take a little bit longer, but it will not cost you anything.
However, some people prefer an attorney represent them in child support matters, and we are certainly here to provide child support representation.
Child Support has several components, involving calculations set by the Florida Statutes. This does not provide very much wiggle room.
When addressing child support, the first thing we will look at is income. Let’s say that one parent is working under the table. How are they being paid under the table, and how are we going to prove they are being paid under the table. In this case, it may be very difficult to show their income. But we can perhaps look at their lifestyle, request a financial affidavit to determine what their expenses are.
So, let’s say they are reporting that they have $1500.00 a month in income, but they have $4000.00 a month in expenses. This will show the court that they have much more income than they are reporting. At that point, the court can impute income to them, and accurately determine what the amount of child support should be.
If a person quits their job and decides they are not going to pay child support, the court will look at them as being “voluntarily” unemployed, and impute their last wage to them, and order child support to continue and all deficient child support payments must be made current.
However, there are situations where we cannot tell what the income is, or if the mother is not working because she must stay home and care for three young children and does not have the financial means for daycare or have access to a babysitter, so she can work. The court will then impute at least minimum wage to both parents regarding the component of income when establishing child support.
Florida Statues allows us to deduct Federal Taxes and health insurance costs for the parent to get to a net income amount to base child support on. We combine the net incomes together, known as combined net income. There is a chart that is then referenced based on the combined net income and the number of children. The chart will show that for “this” number of children with this amount of net income, “this” the amount of child support that is “needed.” That gives us a starting point. Then other factors will be considered such as health insurance for the benefit of the child, vision and dental insurance, daycare, preschool or after school costs for the child. These additional factors will bring us to another figure.
The last component of child support is the number of overnights the child will spend with each parent. So, you can see that if your overnights go up, your child support goes down. Some parents will say they want 50% / 50% time-sharing, so they do not have to pay child support. That is not how child support works. If one parent makes more money than the other parent, or one parent is covering the cost of the child’s health care, and the other parent is covering the cost of daycare, all these variables will be considered to establish who will pay child support and how much child support must be paid.
LAW OFFICE OF
GAIL CHEATWOOD, P.A.