Do you have questions about your child support rights and obligations in Orlando, FL? It’s possible that you may be receiving too little, or paying more than you can afford, to support your children. An experienced Orlando child support lawyer at Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC can evaluate your situation and fight to protect your children and your financial security.
Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience helping families in Central Florida resolve complex and sensitive family law matters. Our legal team is made up of skilled negotiators and litigators who have helped countless families reach fair and effective child support orders over the years.
It’s never too early to start speaking with an experienced lawyer about your needs. Call our law offices in Orlando, Florida at (407) 831-0203 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our practice today.
How Can Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC Help With My Child Support Case in Orlando, FL?
Child support is a complicated issue. The courts will focus on the best interests of the child. As a parent, you want to make sure your children have everything they need. At the same time, you want your child support obligations to be fair and reasonable.
It’s often difficult for parents to talk about money without conflict. An experienced Orlando divorce attorney can make the process as smooth and painless as possible.
At Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, we’re here to help you understand your obligations under Florida laws and your rights as a family. We’re familiar with the elements that will be important in calculating child support obligations and can help with any complications that arise during the process.
Hiring us means you’ll have a compassionate advocate to:
- Provide sound legal guidance and advice
- Help you prepare an initial financial report for the courts
- Mediate any disputes to minimize court involvement if possible
- Identify all sources of income
- Help with modification and enforcement of existing orders
Our Orlando family lawyers have over 50 years of collective experience handling complex issues in family court. We’ve been rated by Super Lawyers and have earned a perfect 10.0 Avvo rating. We have the answers you need, so call our full-service family law firm for help.
What Is Child Support?
Under Florida law, each parent has a legal duty to provide financial support for their child. That can be relatively simple when two parents are married or in an amicable relationship.
When parents divorce, separate, or have never married, determining child support obligations can become much more complex.
That’s where child support comes in. Child support is the money that a parent pays on a regular basis for the financial support of children. Typically, one or both parents petition the court for a child support order. After the court reviews and approves the petition, it becomes legally binding.
Child support orders are often necessary in cases involving:
- Divorce or legal separation
- A petition to establish paternity
- Domestic violence cases where one party is subject to a restraining order
Each parent is equally responsible for supporting the child. That doesn’t mean that each one will be required to contribute the same amount each month. Many different factors can play a role in determining each parent’s child support obligations.
How Long Do Child Support Obligations Last in Florida?
Most of the time, child support obligations continue until the child’s 18th birthday. However, it is possible that a child support order can be extended.
Child support obligations may be extended if:
- The child suffers from a mental or physical disability that began before their 18th birthday
- The child is between 18 and 19 years old, is still in high school, and is reasonably expected to graduate before the age of 19
It’s also possible that both parents may agree on a different end date for child support obligations, especially if the child plans to attend college after reaching age 18.
How Are Child Support Obligations Determined in Orlando, Florida?
Most parents want to provide for their children. After a divorce or separation, it is possible for two parents to agree upon how much each will contribute to financially supporting their child. Often, parents will sit down and discuss their financial abilities and reach an agreement. If the parties are able to agree, the order can be submitted to the court and become a binding obligation.
The situation can become much more complex if the parties disagree over payment obligations. Often, two parents need help reaching an agreement. It can be difficult to talk about money, especially in the wake of a difficult divorce.
Florida laws provide guidelines for determining each parent’s required payments.
Four primary factors are relevant in calculating child support:
- The combined incomes of each parent
- The child’s basic needs, including health insurance costs, childcare expenses, and other necessary costs
- The amount of time each parent spends with the children
- The number of children each parent is obligated to support
After the child support guidelines are considered, the family law judge has authority to increase or decrease the child support amount by 5%.
Courts often adjust the baseline child support amount to factor in:
- Mortgage payments, if one parent is responsible for payments on the home where the child lives
- The cost of private school tuition
- The cost of extracurricular activities
- Any special needs of the child
- Required spousal support payments
- Any other extraordinary expenses
Typically, child support in Florida is paid by a non-custodial parent to the one with primary custody. However, that’s not always the case. Many times, parents split parenting time on a relatively equal basis.
Our child support lawyers in Orlando are here to help you understand all of your legal rights, guidelines, and obligations. We want to help you make sure you and your children are protected financially. To learn more about our skills and experience, call our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation.
What Factors Are Considered in Calculating Child Support Payments
One of the most important elements in calculating child support is each parent’s respective income level. It’s critical to make sure you understand your co-parent’s ability to pay before entering into child support negotiations.
In calculating each parent’s income, all sources and types must be considered, including:
- Wages, salary and other compensation
- Bonuses, commissions, overtime, and tips
- Disability benefits
- Unemployment compensation
- Workers’ compensation
- Social Security benefits
- Pension, annuity, and retirement income
- Spousal support from a prior marriage
- Interest income
- Rental income
- Income from royalties, trusts, or estates
Florida courts provide guidelines for determining each parent’s child support obligation, based on income. Often, it is simply what they earn from employment.
However, the situation can become much more complex in situations where a parent:
- Is self-employed
- Owns a business
- Attempts to hide income
- Is unemployed or underemployed
In situations where one parent is unemployed or underemployed, the court has authority to impute income if they find that the unemployment was voluntary. In complex cases, the courts may consider the parents’ relative earning capacities in making their child support determinations.
Our Orlando child support attorneys at Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC can help with these and other complications. We offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about establishing an attorney-client relationship.
Can a Florida Child Support Order Be Modified?
Yes. An initial child support order is based upon each parent’s financial situation at one moment in time. However, things rarely stay the same. When circumstances change, modifying a child support court order may be necessary to reflect those changes.
It’s possible to petition the court to have a child support order modified in the state of Florida. Typically, modifications are granted because one parent has experienced a substantial change in financial circumstances.
For example, if one parent receives a raise or receives a financial windfall, it may be possible to petition for an increase in that parent’s child support obligations. Similarly, if one parent begins spending less time with the child, courts may grant an increase to give additional funds to the parent shouldering most of the parenting responsibilities and costs.
What if My Child’s Parent Fails to Pay Child Support?
Florida courts take failure to pay child support seriously. If your child’s parent refuses to pay, you have a number of legal options available.
Penalties for failure to pay child support may include:
- Wage garnishment
- Holding the non-paying parent in contempt of court
- Driver’s license suspension
- And more
If your child’s parent refuses to comply with a court order, don’t hesitate to reach out for the legal advice you deserve. Call Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for help.
Contact an Orlando Child Support Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Our lawyers understand that no two families are exactly the same. It’s important to consider the big picture in order to reach a fair and equitable child support agreement. Our lawyers at Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC are prepared to help your family every step of the way.
To learn more about how an Orlando child support lawyer can help, call to schedule your free initial consultation today.
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Orlando Child Support Resources
- Florida Department of Revenue – Child support payments and parent services.
- Florida Department of Children and Families – Directory and family information center.
- Child Support Guidelines Sheet – Instructions for Florida family law rules of procedure form.
- Florida Government – Child Support Enforcement Program.
- My Florida County – Child support payments.
- Women’s Institute for Financial Education – Financial planning education for women.