Going through divorce can be a difficult time, especially when children are involved. Ensuring your kids are covered financially is a vital step that must be handled carefully so you can have peace of mind that their future can be as stable as possible under the circumstances. The amount of child support a parent must pay, up until the children turn 18, is determined by Florida law and includes considerations such as:
- Each parents’ income
- Health and childcare costs of the children
- Education costs
- Standard living needs, which are based on the children’s age and parents’ income
Before the divorce, if the supported parent is unable to obtain or afford health insurance for the children, the other parent must pay or add the children to their plan. Disabled children may continue receiving child support throughout their adult life, as well as any children still attending high school who are over 18 years old.
Court-Order and Enforcing Laws
A court-order application is necessary to legalize alimony payments. The Florida Child Support program can assist you with this form and the procedure, but even with these legal requirements in place, some parents might try to withhold payments. If this is the case for you, Florida has a system to enforce payments by locking up the other parent’s government-issued licenses, passport, and tax refunds. They can even freeze bank accounts.
As time goes on, income levels may fluctuate and either parent can ask for a child support review. For there to be a change in the monthly payment, there must be proof of at least a 10% fluctuation.
In Florida, payments are based on income, number of children, and all child expenses. First, the court will calculate each parents’ monthly income, which includes:
- Salary, bonuses, commissions, overtime, tips, etc.
- Business income from self-employment or other business involvements – this amount is the gross income minus deductions
- Disability, workers’ compensation, and unemployment benefits
- Pension, retirement accounts, trust, and estate income
- Social security
- Interest payments, dividends
- Rental property income minus deductions
- Support payments from another marriage
If majority custody is given to one parent, the other parent will be required to provide monthly payments based on the above criteria and how many nights every year the children spend with the non-majority parent. For example, if the mother becomes the custodial parent, courts often suggest 73 overnights per year for the father, who would then give the mother monthly payments. In cases where the couple decides to equally split overnights, further calculations are needed. Keep in mind that courts require the children to maintain their standard of living before the divorce occurred.
It is recommended that you consult a divorce lawyer who understands child support laws before proceeding with your case to ensure your rights are protected and that you are not made responsible for paying more than is fair. Contact a lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from The McKinney Law Group, for more information today.