One of the immediate concerns of anyone going through a divorce is whether they will get child support, whether they will have to pay it and what that amount might be. My.Attorney can help you figure all this out. The attorneys at My.Attorney have decades of experience in determining child support obligations and can help you calculate the amount your case will involve and also help you understand how changes to income and custody arrangements will impact the amount you receive or pay.
We have spent over 25 years handling divorce and child support cases. We have a solid legal team, dedicated to protecting your rights and assets and ensuring that your children are taken care of throughout the divorce process and after. Please give us a call to discuss how we can help you with your child support case.
Child Support Calculations
One of the first things to be aware of is that child support is determined by using guidelines. These guidelines are enacted by the Florida legislature and the goal of the judge in your case is to take into consideration all of the factors to apply to the guidelines. This isn’t a judgment call as much as a calculation. It goes without saying that having an attorney who is familiar with the guidelines and the factors used to determine them is indispensable in this whole process.
The first thing the court will consider is how many overnights each parent has custody of the children. The key here is overnights. If you watch your children during the day but they return to the other spouse’s home at night, child support will almost always be calculated based on where the children are spending the night. Your attorney can help you understand how this will affect your specific case.
A word of caution here: just because you have 50/50 custody does not mean you won’t have to pay child support. The custody split is only one factor. The custody schedule must also be balanced against the incomes of each parent. The guidelines are designed to adjust the amount of support based upon the income of the parents. This is typically calculated as a combined income. It is the combined effect of the time spent with each spouse and the income of each parent that will be used by the court in figuring out your child support.
Next, daycare expenses, medical expenses, and insurance expenses will be taken into account. This factor can be complicated but simply put, if you have to pay for childcare while you are at work, school or for some other reason, this could affect your child support calculation. If you pay for insurance or medical bills, this also needs to be taken into account.
Another important factor is which spouse gets to claim the children on his or her income taxes. This includes claiming them as dependants and also for credits like the Earned-Income Tax credit. In essence, if you will be claiming the children for tax purposes, the court is going to require you to split that financial benefit with your spouse. This can have a dramatic effect on the amount of whatever child support is owed.
Other Support Issues
The general belief is that child support ends at 18. This is basically true but not quite accurate. It must be paid until the child is 18 unless they are still in high school. If your child is 19 and still in high school, you may still be responsible for child support. Each case is a little different so it is important that you get quality legal advice in determining when your support obligation should end.
Another important clarification is that the child support awarded by the court is the right of the child, not the ex-spouse. This means that your ex cannot agree that you don’t have to pay it, or agree to not collect a past due amount. Even after the child is no longer a minor, past support is owed and can be collected. The court will not violate the guidelines because you and your ex-spouse agree. However, there may be some things that you and your ex-spouse can agree to that will change the way it is calculated. As with any case, having good legal counsel is essential to get you the results you want in ways that will be approved by the court.
Finally, while the child support is to be used to pay for the care and raising of the child, the court will not strictly account for how the money is spent. You will not get very far with a judge by arguing that child support should be less simply because your ex is taking the kids on vacations or getting their own hair or nails done. It is calculated using the guidelines and each parent is free to budget their money as they see fit. So long as the child’s needs are being met, the courts are unlikely to intervene. However, if you are paying support and the basic needs of the child are not being met, you need to get a lawyer involved quickly!
Contact Our Florida Child Support Attorney Today
Even though child support is calculated through the use of guidelines, there are many ways that calculation can get complicated really quickly. You need an experienced and aggressive attorney on your side for all aspects of a divorce case, especially child support obligations. My.Attorney has over 25 years of experience and can help you figure out where you stand. Even more importantly, our attorneys can help you coordinate all aspects of your divorce case to make sure that the amount accurately reflects the reality of the post-divorce situation. This is not an item that most people can handle on their own and we often see huge mistakes that result in either too much support being paid or not enough. Please contact our office today and let us help you get it right.