Frequently Asked Questions On Florida Child Support
If you are planning to divorce in Florida, and you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have minor children, one or both of you will wind up paying child support after your divorce is final. That said, it is all too easy to become confused about the issue of support, with recent changes to state law and just how many factors must be taken into account before a final obligation is defined. An experienced attorney can help to clarify matters.
The Right Cannot Be Waived
Florida’s legislature has defined child support as monetary support for the “care, maintenance, training, and education” of a child, and made it clear that the right belongs to the child, rather than to the parents. In other words, only a child can disavow or waive their right to support, which does not happen. While it is true that married couples are allowed to dispose of certain other issues in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement (for example, alimony, or how certain assets will be divided upon divorce), child support is the single major right to which this does not apply.
In general, Florida child support is designed to cover a host of different potential expenses, from medical costs to food and drink to school-related costs like uniforms or school supplies. The state has instituted guidelines to regulate how much or how little child support should be paid by parents in each income bracket, to ensure that as many of these expenses are covered as possible regardless of how well off (or not) a parent may be. It is possible to deviate from the guidelines, but a judge must explain why they are doing so in writing,
Support Must Be Reasonable But Real
While the guidelines are the main source to be used in calculating how much child support should be paid by each Florida divorced parent (based on each parent’s income), there are several other factors that should be considered before a specific amount is determined. Some examples include the child’s specific medical or educational needs, how much time the child will spend with each parent, and any other financial obligations for either parent, such as child support owed to children from a previous marriage.
Florida law is clear that child support must be “reasonable,” and not require more from the noncustodial parent than they are able to afford. However, if a parent is caught voluntarily taking a pay cut or otherwise claiming a lower amount of income than they have historically had, the court will impute income to that parent because the implication is that they are deliberately trying to duck support obligations. The best interests of the child come first in these types of cases, and to act in a way that does not support that will be seen as suspect.
Call A Hollywood, FL Child Support Attorney
Every good parent wants their children to be provided for, but it is all too easy to be confused over exactly what one is required to do to make that reality. A Hollywood child support lawyer from the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. can help to answer your questions and ensure that the best interests of your children are put first. Call our office at (954) 963-5900 to speak to an attorney.