Jacksonville Divorce and Family Law LawyersChild Support
One of the most important and often disputed issues in a divorce with a minor child is child support. You and your
spouse each have a responsibility to support your children based on their needs and your financial ability. In Florida, the legislature has developed a set of guidelines which are based on the parents’ combined net income and encourage a fair and efficient settlement of support issues between the parents.
Some of the issues involving child support that must be considered are:
- the total amount of support
- the method of payment
- ways to assure payments are made
- when the child support may be increased or decreased
- who may claim the dependency deduction for federal income tax purposes
If you are having difficulty getting child support payments from your spouse or former spouse, or the time-sharing plan is not being followed, you should bring the matter to the attention of the court. It is not legal to withhold time-sharing or child support because either parent fails to pay court-ordered support or fails to comply with the time-sharing schedule in the Parenting Plan. If you are the paying parent and you are tempted to skip a child support payment because you have been denied time-sharing - don’t. Failing to pay child support can result in the suspension of your driver’s license or even jail time.
The laws in Florida concerning child support have been amended and are scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2010.
Among the more substantial changes to the law are:
- a provision that child support terminates on a child’s 18 birthday unless the parties agree th otherwise or there are exceptional circumstance
- changes in the manner that monthly income will be imputed to a voluntarily unemployed or underemployed parent
- an adjustment, or deviation, to the child support award when the Parenting Plan provides for a substantial amount of time-sharing. Under the new law, a “substantial amount of time” means that a parent exercises timesharingat least 20% of the overnights of the year.
Child support guidelines and time-sharing laws are difficult to understand and it is important to contact an attorney experienced in family law to ensure that you are paying or receiving the correct amount of support. If you need assistance with a child support or other family law matter, contact our office and we will gladly meet with you and discuss your legal options.