The experienced child support attorneys at Alba & Straile PLLC recognize the financial strain and emotional hardship associated with child support issues. With this in mind, our law firm strives to provide its clients with a clear and complete understanding of the child support process. We will guide you through each step of your case, from filing the proper pleadings to drafting the order and collecting payments.
How is child support calculated?
Child support is calculated by examining the parent’s finances and determining the child’s best interest. Florida courts structure a child support order based on the Florida child support guidelines outlined by the state legislature. These guidelines use the net income of both parents, the number of children involved, and the children’s health insurance and childcare costs. Net income is defined as gross income minus allowable deductions and includes bonuses, benefits, and other assets.
Just a few of the types of Child Support cases are:
- Establishment of child support
- Modification of child support
- Imputation of income for child support
- Collection of child support
- Enforcement of past-due child support
- Determination of child support for high-income individuals
Allowable deductions include:
- Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax liabilities
- Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax
- Mandatory union dues
- Mandatory retirement payments
- Health insurance payments, excluding payments for coverage of the minor child
- Court-ordered support for other children paid
- Spousal support payments under a court order from a previous marriage or the marriage before the court
Additionally, Courts may alter the Child Support orders to consider the Child’s Best Interests. These considerations include:
- Extensive medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses of the child
- Age of the child as older children, generally have more significant needs
- Special needs of the child, for instance, in the event of a child’s disability
- Seasonal variations in parental income
Child support payments are required until the minor child reaches the age of eighteen or is legally emancipated. During that time, changes to support payments may be needed for various financial reasons. Alba & Straile PLLC encourages parents to reach a mutual agreement should a need for modification arise. Official documentation submitted to the court will deter unnecessary additional litigation costs. If an agreement is not possible, the contesting party must file pleadings requesting a modification. Generally speaking, courts are hesitant to grant a modification in payments unless there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances. However, an obligor may apply for a temporary or permanent modification depending on the cause of hardship or change.
Causes for temporary modification include:
- The medical emergency of a child
- Obligor’s temporary inability to pay due to illness or a temporary additional financial burden
- Temporary financial or medical hardship on the part of the obligee
Causes for permanent modification include:
- Loss of a job or significant changes in income due to a new job
- Either parent becomes disabled
- If the result of either parent remarrying results in a significant increase in household income
- Increase in cost of living
- Child’s needs change significantly
Collecting Child Support
Following a child support order completion, clients often encounter problems with the collection and disbursement of funds. Disagreements between parents, resentment, and parental distancing may affect the payment schedule. Ultimately, child support is for the benefit and fulfillment of the child’s needs. A lack of payment will only create a more stressful environment. To prevent or expedite this situation, clients have enforceable government options, such as suspension of a driver’s license, wage garnishment, tax refund garnishment, seizure of assets, and payment through the State Disbursement Unit.
Alba & Straile PLLC is your Trusted Advocate for Complicated Child Support Issues
As an experienced law firm that is proficient in the establishment, modification, and collection of child support, Alba & Straile PLLC is available to navigate each aspect of your case. We are a results-driven firm committed to providing our clients with compassion, attention to detail, and ease of attorney accessibility. Our child support legal team provides our clients with the sound legal representation necessary to effectively and efficiently address their child support-related needs. We represent clients throughout Florida. Contact Alba & Straile PLLC at (352) 371-9141 for a consultation and peace of mind.