One of the most common situations where people need a family law attorney is when they're about to undergo a custody case involving their minor children. Under Florida law, divorcing parties and co-parents must attend a mediation session to avoid a court trial to resolve custody. The outcome of this session will directly influence how much child support you must pay or will receive, if at all.
However, your mediation session isn't the only influencing factor that determines child support. This article will answer the most common questions regarding child support, including the basic rules, how the court calculates it, and what happens if you or your partner fails to pay.
At The Family Matters Law Firm, we handle family law issues for families and individuals in Florida, providing professional representation and legal advice in divorce, child custody, and visitation cases. If you're about to go through divorce proceedings or enter a custody battle, our legal team is here to help you go through this challenging period in your life.
Should you need further help after your case resolution, we can refer you or your children to alternative services, like a therapist, mental health professional, or financial advisor. Call us at The Family Matters Law Firm today at (305) 701-2901 to schedule your strategy session and learn more about the family law services we offer our clients.
Child support (which differs from spousal support) is the financial obligation the parent with higher income must pay to the parent with lower income (or the parent with primary custody, if they differ) to support their minor children’s basic needs like food, housing, clothing, and other necessities.
In Florida, the courts calculate child support based on specific guidelines. Generally, every child custody case will result in one parent paying child support, usually with the primary caregiver receiving support from the non-majority caregiving parent.
One of the most common questions we get from clients facing legal issues regarding custody is, “How does Florida determine child support?” While there is a specific guideline, many factors can significantly affect the amount the courts order the non-majority parent to pay. When we say “non-majority,” we mean the parent that has the child for the least number of overnights each year.
However, Florida's standard child support guidelines include (but are not limited to):
Quick Tip: Florida uses different guidelines if your monthly income is below $650 or above $10,000.
One of the most common legal issues in custody and divorce cases is one parent failing to pay child support. If this happens to you, your first call should be to an experienced family law attorney, who can provide you with legal advice on how to proceed.
To get the ball rolling to collect, you must file a motion for civil contempt in court. Then, the court may enact specific penalties:
Contempt of Court: If the non-majority parent has the income to pay support and fails to comply promptly, they could face jail time or even have to pay very high fines.
Income Withholding: In this case, the parent who doesn't pay could have their employer withhold their income and send it directly to the majority parent.
In custody and divorce cases where child support is a possibility (which is most cases), hiring a custody lawyer is crucial. Florida courts have countless factors that influence the amount of child support you may have to pay or should receive.
For example, taxes, health insurance payments, other court-ordered financial obligations, union dues, and spousal support can all affect the amount of child support the court orders. With a family law attorney on your side, you can better navigate the uncertainty of your upcoming custody case, no matter how cut-and-dry you think it may be at this time.
Having a divorce attorney on your side is particularly important if your ex-partner has also hired a divorce lawyer. Not having representation could place you in a vulnerable position, which is not where you want to be during a custody case.
If you're about to go through a custody battle involving child support, a divorce and family law attorney can help you resolve your legal issues with confidence and peace of mind.
The Family Matters Law Firm has over 25 years of experience serving families in Miami. We strive to assist our clients with all aspects of the divorce and separation processes, including conflict resolution, therapist referrals, and finance management referrals. We will help you divorce yourself from the fight and find peace of mind as you make a fresh start.
Call us today at The Family Matters Law Firm at (305) 701-2901 or contact us online to schedule a strategy session for legal advice with a legal separation attorney in Miami, FL.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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