Most parents’ chief concern following a divorce is the welfare of their children. For the children’s financial needs, Florida state law has defined criteria for child support payments, which the non-custodial parent is legally obligated to pay to the custodial parent. Ongoing, periodic payments are made by one parent to the other, either after paternity has been established and/or a marriage has officially ended. The payments continue until the child turns 18, joins the military or gets married.
Attorneys William Lobb and Nicholas Mohr of the Lobb & Mohr represent families throughout Polk and Hardee counties in all matters of family law, including child support agreements, modifications and enforcement.
Florida state law determines the amount of child support to be paid based on monthly income and the number of children, as shown on a table provided by the Florida senate. But just as every family is different, not all child support cases are clear-cut. Child support can also be negotiated depending on:
The court assesses a parent’s income by reviewing recent probable earnings based on work history and qualifications. Also, a parent can produce evidence of the other parent’s income or earning capacity to show a need for a variance from the standard support guidelines. A separate agreement may also be made prior to finalizing the divorce that spells out the financial support obligations for each child, regardless of the state support guidelines.
Child support payments are intended exclusively to cover the costs of the child’s food, clothing, living expenses, health and dental needs, and education. These payments are not intended to support the other parent, children not covered by the specific support order, or any other household expense.
If a parent loses a source of income or experiences another financial hardship, the child support agreement may be modified. Child support modifications may occur only if the change of situation is substantial. A small increase or decrease in monthly income will not warrant a modification, but a loss of employment or a substantial raise may be grounds for modification. A court will not make such modifications if the parent proves to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, and it may order the parent to obtain new employment.
In addition to job loss or notable increase in income, the following conditions may merit child support modification:
If something has changed in your economic circumstances affecting the amount of child support, it is vital that you contact a family law attorney to represent you in modifying the existing child support order.
Withholding custody or visitation in punishment for lack of child support payments is not permitted by law. If a parent is not complying with the ordered to pay, the court may grant a child support enforcement order compelling them to do so.
Parents are legally required to support their children financially. Florida’s child support standards are a critical starting point for the payment order, but they are not the last words. Our family lawyers represents clients in and around Bartow, including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Polk City, Mulberry, and Homeland, and throughout Polk and Hardee counties. For reliable, confident legal representation in child support matters, call the Lobb & Mohr at 863-410-0134 or contact us online today to schedule a free initial consultation.