Determining Factors of Child Support in Florida
Our children are a lifelong commitment – full stop. The duties of being a parent extend beyond our own personal situations and desires. Above all else, we must stick to this commitment even if our relationship with the other parent falls apart. Some parents fail or are simply unable to fulfill their commitment and think of divorce or separation as a way out.
The courts have long held the assertion that the parental responsibility to support our children extends beyond the parameters of the relationship we have with their other parent. In divorce and in cases of separation, child support is likely to make sure our children have the resources they need to grow.
We frequently handle child support cases from both sides and want to help you better understand the circumstances that go into determining Florida child support.
Petition to Establish Paternity
This is an important one to address right away. The petition to establish paternity is a legal effort to verify who the father of a child actually is. In cases where a father is not present to support the child at birth and into adolescence, the courts may force the biological father to make child support payments.
What’s important to note, however, is that simply determining that someone is not the biological father of a child does not absolve them of financial responsibility. If a person has been fulfilling the role of fatherhood for an extended period of time and walks away then they may be considered financially responsible for supporting the child. You can also be considered responsible if your name is on the birth certificate or if you’ve claimed to others that you’re the father of the child.
In Florida, there’s an equation that helps determine what child support is owed. You can find “calculators” online that will give you a general idea of what you will pay or be paid as long as you have the right information.
One key piece of the equation is gross income. This includes all income sources and not just the salary at the parent’s highest-paying job. Income sources may include:
Salary or hourly wages
Benefits such as workers’ comp, unemployment, social security, and disability
Any rental income from homes or vehicles rented out
Other court-ordered payments such as alimony and child support in another case
These and more income factors will impact how much child support is owed. The court will need to determine not only how much should be paid but how much is actually needed by the parent receiving payments.
The reverse impact is present, as well. The court will calculate factors that lower gross income such as taxes, court-ordered support that’s being paid out already, and any other consistent expenses.
The custody of the child will have a major impact on the actual expenses that need to be covered for a child. If the court has ordered one parent to receive most or all custody rights, then the other parent may need to provide more support. However, in cases where the custody rights are split then the assumed expenses will also be split.
When the expenses are split between the parties then support payments may not be as necessary. If both parents are willfully and physically present then both parents will have their own personal responsibilities to provide for their child while in their care.
The Right AttorneyYour attorney should be someone who is experienced and knows Florida family law. At the FAB Law Firm, we handle child support cases for our clients and will fight to make sure your child is taken care of. Whether you’re owed child support or need to pay it, we can help make sure the number is reasonable. Contact our team and let us serve you today.