Child Support Attorney Clearwater, FL
In the state of Florida, child support belongs to the child (or children). It cannot be waived by the Primary Residential Parent under any circumstances, and is a statutory element which means the amount is based on the payer’s monthly income.
In the best interest of the child, our law firm will determine the exact monthly income of the parent who is ordered to pay, compromising zero details. It is important that the children get the financial support they are entitled to, and with the financial background employed by our Clearwater child support attorney, the research, calculations and facts uncovered in this area will speak for themselves.
How Child Support is Calculated in Florida
The Florida Child Support Guidelines employ a formula that takes into account the combined incomes of both parents, the number of children to be supported, the percentage of timesharing for each parent, and a number of adjustments to arrive at a monthly amount of child support. Completing the required worksheets can quickly become confusing, but we can explain complicated questions and guide you through the process. For instance, you are likely paid weekly, every two weeks or twice a month, but in order to find the monthly support amount, you will need to convert income figures to a monthly amount.
The Florida Child Support Guidelines Worksheet will require you to fill in amounts and make calculations with terms such as:
- Present net monthly income
- Basic monthly obligation
- Percent of financial responsibility
- Share of basic monthly obligation
- Monthly child care costs
- Monthly children’s health insurance costs
- Total monthly non-covered medical, dental and prescription medication costs for the children
- Additional support payments
- Statutory adjustments/credits
When each parent has at least 20% of the overnights in the year (73), a special step for substantial time-sharing (gross up method) is also required. Finally, you will also be asked whether you or the other parent is requesting any adjustments to the guideline amount. We are available to walk you through the guidelines worksheet and make sure everything is filled out correctly.
How Your Child Support Attorney can Help
One of the ways we can help ensure a fair amount for your children is by making sure all income is accounted for in the child support calculation. The formula requires both parents to include all income from innumerable sources, including: salary or wages, bonuses, commissions, tips, business income, disability benefits, pension and retirement payments, interest and dividends, spousal support from a previous marriage, rental income, royalties, reimbursed expenses or in-kind payments, gains derived from dealings in property, and more.
We can guide you through the process of determining your own income while also making sure the other parent is properly calculating and including all of his or her income. Sometimes spouses will attempt to hide or underreport income from complex sources such as business or self-employment income, capital gains or other non-salary income. Also, an unemployed or underemployed spouse will need to have a proper amount of income imputed to him or her, which is itself a lengthy and involved process. Our Board-Certified Family Law Specialist will make sure income is properly reported, including enlisting the aid of forensic accountants or other professionals as needed.
Another way our office can help with the child support calculation is when either parent is requesting an adjustment or deviation from the guidelines amount. The guidelines only produce a presumptive amount, and Florida family court judges are allowed to deviate up or down from that amount by as much as five percent or more when convinced a deviation is justified. Judges look at any relevant factor which might justify an equitable deviation, including:
- The child’s needs, including extraordinary medical expenses or other special needs
- The child’s age
- Each parent’s financial ability and status
- Standard of living
- Station in life
- If a parent is also financially supporting his or her parent
- If the child has an independent stream of income
- The parenting plan and time-sharing arrangement
The court will base its decision on the evidence and arguments presented by the parties’ attorneys. We take the time to build and present a strong case that supports you and your children’s interests regarding any proposed deviation from the guidelines amount.
Enforcement of Child Support Payments
If you have been awarded child support by the courts, and are not receiving payment, contact our office right away to establish collection pursuits promptly. Our expert child support lawyers representation will help streamline payments, ensuring your children are receiving the financial restitution they deserve as a result of living in a split household.
Tax deductions are rarely the first item on the docket during a child support hearing, but the application can be incredibly important to the Primary parent’s bottom line. Our Clearwater family law firm’s financial background will help you understand exactly what to expect at the end of each year, so there are no surprises going forward.