Florida Child Support Matters
To avoid paying too much child support, an attorney should help get you a parenting plan in which you have your child the same amount of time as your ex spouse, or more if possible. According to Florida child support laws, the parent who spends less time with the child pays more in child support. Our attorneys are experienced in child custody matters and we can help you establish a parenting plan or timesharing plan that gets you equal time or nearly equal time with your child so you pay less support and can be a bigger part of your child’s life.
If you already have a timesharing plan or custody arrangement in place, but believe it could be more equal, it is possible to get your custody and support ordered modified - especially if it was arranged under the old Florida law. We can tell how likely it is to get your judgment modified.
Understanding Florida's Child Support Laws
Florida law gives children the right to be supported by both parents and thereby obligates both parents to provide support. That support is supplied through spending time with the child and mutual contribution to the child’s expenses. If circumstances don’t allow both parents to spend the same amount of time with the child, or the court finds reason to restrict one parent’s accessibility to the child, the parent spending less time with the child is, in most circumstances, ordered to pay child support.
Enforcement of Child Support Payments
Formulas for determining child support payments are provided in Florida law and an attorney can help you estimate how much your payments are likely to be. The formula is based on each parent’s gross income and allowable expenses balanced against the number of overnight stays the child has with each parent. The calculations favor the paying parent much more when he has the child for 20% or more of the nights each year.
Support Payments and Visitation Are Independent
If one parent withholds child support payments, the other parent cannot prevent the paying parent to from spending time with the child. Likewise, if one parent prevents or inhibits visitation, the other parent cannot withhold child support. Both actions are illegal and can be punished through contempt of court or, in some cases, jail time.
Child Support May Include More Than Cash
A parent ordered to pay child support may also be required to maintain life insurance or other security to ensure the child receives support should something catastrophic happen to the paying parent. Payment for the child’s health insurance, uncovered medical, dental and prescription expenses may also be required. Support orders may also specify when support may be increased or decreased, who claims the child’s dependency for tax purposes and other considerations needing clarity.