Florida law considers the “best interests” of minor children who are caught up in a divorce and assists them and their custodial parent by legally providing for their shelter, food, and other necessities through child support orders.
State law contains clear guidelines to calculate child support amounts, while also providing for modification of child support and enforcement of child support orders. The intent of the guidelines is “to encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and minimize the need for litigation” (Florida Statutes 61.29).
In a divorce settlement, courts may order child support in addition to alimony. Child support is most often paid in increments (usually monthly or every two weeks) until (in most cases) a child reaches the age of 18. Child support orders may also be reviewed and altered or ended by a court if the circumstances change.
If you are seeking child support or if you could be or have been ordered to pay child support, it is wise to consult with an experienced attorney who handles child support cases. The lawyers at Yaffa & Associates have explained the complex legal issues related to child support to numerous family law clients over many years. We know the importance of this situation to you and your children.
Yaffa & Associates represents both mothers and fathers in child support cases. As your legal advocate, it is our job to make sure that you and your children are treated fairly. Our lawyers are experienced in the intricacies of family law in Boca Raton and all over Palm Beach County, Florida, as well as Broward and Dade counties. No matter how complex your situation, we can help you emerge with a favorable outcome.
If you need help with child support issues, please contact Yaffa & Associates now by calling (561) 276-3880. We are ready to assist you in whatever way we can to help you determine what steps need to be taken immediately to protect you and your children.
Florida Statutes Chapter 61 enumerates the laws pertaining to divorce, child support and child custody (time-sharing). Florida has also adopted the national Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act in an effort to “avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with courts of other states in matters of child custody” (F.S. 61.502(1)).
In Florida, both parents are required to equally support any minor children after a divorce, but inequities in income and expenses, as well as custody arrangements, often imposes more than half the financial burden on one of the parents. Courts are permitted to explore the finances of both parents to determine “equitable distribution” of assets and liabilities (F.S. 61.075) while acting in the “best interests” of the child.
In determining the best interests of a child, the court should evaluate “all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of that family, including, but not limited to:
Child Custody, often referred to as Time Sharing, is almost always intertwined with child support in a divorce case involving children. Alimony is also often an additional possibility. The experienced family law attorneys at Yaffa & Associates can help you formulate an action plan to protect yourself financially during this difficult time in your life and in your children’s lives.
A chart within F.S. 61.30 specifies the exact amounts to be paid for child support, depending on net income and number of children. Courts may deviate from the specified amounts by up to 5 percent for no reason, but must justify any greater deviation.
Courts may also order “retroactive” child support for a period of up to 24 months prior to the date when the parents did not reside together in the same household with the child before a divorce was granted (F.S. 61.30(17)).
State law also addresses the enforcement of child support orders, including garnishment of wages (F.S. 61.12) or interception of tax refunds or a subsequent contempt of court proceeding (F.S. 61.17), if necessary, to comply with the court.
Once a divorce is final and child support has been awarded by the court, circumstances might change enough that one of the parents considers the court-ordered amount of child support too much or too little. When that happens, either of the former spouses may return to court to seek a modification of child support.
However, the court will only consider a request for modification of child support if the party seeking relief demonstrates that a “substantial” change in circumstances has occurred (F.S. 61.13(1)(a)(2)).
By law, either party may seek “an order decreasing or increasing the amount of support, maintenance, or alimony, and the court has jurisdiction to make orders as equity requires, with due regard to the changed circumstances or the financial ability of the parties or the child, decreasing, increasing, or confirming the amount of separate support, maintenance, or alimony provided for in the agreement or order” (F.S. 61.14(1)(a)).
The court may also reduce or terminate an award of child support if it determines the spouse receiving child support has entered into a "supportive relationship" with someone else (61.14(1)(b).
Child Support Guidelines Worksheet — At the Florida Courts web site, you will find a printable form containing the financial guidelines and worksheets used by courts in determining amounts of child support, as well as other information about child support, and resources and publications covering a wide variety of family court-related topics.
Florida Department of Revenue Information About Child Support — Provides information and brochures about child support in Florida, as well as multiple links to child support resources.
Child Custody Statutes at the Official Site of the Florida Legislature — Log on to the Florida Legislature’s web site for the statute enumerating the state’s primary child custody laws. You can also search for other laws related to child custody and a variety of family law topics under Title VI, Chapter 61, Part I of the Florida Statutes.
If you are seeking child support or if you want to defend an action seeking child support, then you should contact one of the experienced family law attorneys at Yaffa & Associates to schedule a consultation.
Find out what you need to do right now to protect yourself and resolve your case on the most favorable terms. Yaffa & Associates represents clients throughout Palm Beach County, including Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, and Jupiter, Florida, as well as surrounding areas.
During the consultation, one of our attorneys can explain the issues related to child support to help you determine your options. Learn more about the factors the judge will consider in your case in determining the amount of child support you are paying or receiving.
Call Yaffa & Associates at (561) 276-3880 today to discuss the facts of your case.