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Tampa Child Support Lawyers

After a divorce, both parents are responsible for supporting their children financially through the payment of child support. This responsibility continues until a child is eighteen (18) years of age, marries, becomes emancipated from his or her parents, joins the armed forces, or dies. Unfortunately, child support is often among the most hotly-contested divorce-related issues. If you’re currently facing a child support issue of any kind, please don’t hesitate to contact the seasoned Tampa family lawyers here at Tampa Law Group for assistance.

How Do Courts Determine Child Support in Florida?

In Florida, the amount of child support that must be paid is not meant to be a point of negotiation between the parties. Rather, child support is governed by guidelines and is calculated using a formula. The child support formula is based upon factors such as the amount of child support that must be paid given the income of each parent, the number of children involved, and the amount of overnights that the children have with each parent.

Though the amount of child support to be paid is determined during the divorce proceedings and is set forth in the final judgment, this does not necessarily mean that this amount cannot be changed. For example, if there has been a substantial change in circumstances it is possible to request that the amount of child support be adjusted by the court. Having a team of competent child support lawyers in your corner throughout the process can ensure your child’s best interests are protected.

Calculating Child Support in Florida

Once it is determined that child support is an issue, the question then becomes what the amount of child support will be.

Child support is calculated based primarily on the following:

  • The number of children
  • The income of both parties
  • The number of overnights that each party has with the child or children within a year

Once these factors are determined, a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet will be prepared.

The income that is used is the net income for each party. Each party is required to prove up their income through the exchange of financial documents. Sometimes the income of the parties is in dispute. For example, one party might be under the impression that the other party is hiding income or is voluntarily under-employed. In these cases, the issue of income becomes complicated and must be resolved before a calculation of child support can be made.

In most cases, one party or the other is paying for child care and for medical, dental, and vision insurance for the children. The party that is paying for these expenses will receive credit for these expenses on the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.

Paying Child Support in Florida

Once the amount of monthly child support has been calculated, the method of paying child support will be determined. The payments can be made to one party directly or can be made through an Income Withholding Order. An Income Withholding Order is simply an order that is signed by the judge that orders an employer to deduct the amount of the support from the payor’s paycheck so that the payments can be made to the other party.

Child support payments are typically made in accordance with the payor’s pay cycle. In other words, child support payments can be paid monthly, weekly, twice each month, or every other week, depending upon how often the payor is paid by his or her employer.

In addition to the child support payments, each party will contribute to the expenses related to extracurricular activities and uncovered medical expenses for the children. These expenses are typically shared by the parties on a pro-rata basis.

If retroactive child support or child support arrearages are due, this will also be added to the amount that is owed and will be paid as part of the child support payment until the amount is paid off.

Retroactive child support will be applicable if child support should have been paid but was not, and there was not yet a court order that ordered child support. For example, if a married couple separates and files for divorce but no child support is paid between the time of the separation and the court order mandating the child support, retroactive child support back to the date of separation may be applicable.

Child support arrearages will be applied to the child support payment in the event that child support was ordered by the court but was not paid.

Contact Our Florida Family Lawyers Today

If you have further questions about child support or are currently facing a child support issue of any kind, please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated Florida lawyers today. We are here to effectively represent you through each step of the legal process ahead, ensuring you and your child’s best interests are protected.

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