Jacksonville Child Support Lawyer
Compassionate Counsel for Your Child’s Best Interests
Few issues in family law are more contentious than those which surround money or children. It should come as no surprise, then, that issues around child support amounts and payments can get particularly heated. Florida courts no longer automatically favor the mother in child custody determinations, and have, in recent years, been in support of relatively equal time-sharing between parents.
This is important because child support is determined, in part, on the amount of parenting time or overnight stays the child has with each parent. At the The Law Office of Kevin M. Cobbin, our Jacksonville divorce attorney has the knowledge and experience to represent you through the process.
How Child Support is Determined
The courts use child support guidelines to provide a consistent method for determining financial obligations. These guidelines help the court when trying to figure out how much support is adequate.
The guidelines take into account:
Net monthly income of each parent
The number of children who are the subject of the pending action
The amount paid by each parent for daycare
The monthly cost of medical, dental, and vision insurance paid by each parent, plus co-pays
Additional support payments made for other children
Percentage of overnight stays of the child(ren) with each parent
The court is always free to deviate from the child support guidelines and order the support it deems appropriate. If the court deviates from the child support guidelines, the judge must specifically state his/her reasons for the deviation in writing.
Modification of Child Support
There are a number of issues which could lead to one parent requesting a change in the child support amount or terms.
Some common concerns or situations that arise include:
Hiding assets or income – Financial disclosure must be complete. Incomplete disclosure may be cause for contempt of court or may even result in a final judgment for support being overturned as a result of fraud.
Change in income by one or both parties – When the paying party’s income increases, there may be grounds to request that child support be increased.
Non-payment of child support – If your income drops and you are unable to pay the agreed-upon amount, you should file for a modification. Withholding child support payments is a willful disregard of the court’s wishes and could result in enforcement actions, including jail time.
Increase or decrease in overnight stays – If work schedules change or other issues arise that cause one parent to have fewer or additional overnight stays, this may be cause for a modification.
Retroactive Child Support for Non-Married Parents
In the case of unmarried parents, it is possible that one parent may seek to collect child support payments. If a paternity determination is positive, or if the father acknowledges paternity, the court can rule that child support is owed for up to two years in the past, starting from the date of the couple’s separation.