Tampa Child Support Lawyer
Child Support in Tampa, FL
When it comes to family law matters like divorce, any minor children involved in the situation must be well taken care of and provided for. That’s why parents are required to pay some form of child support until their minor child reaches a certain age or becomes emancipated. If you are struggling with child support issues, a Tampa child support lawyer at Quinn & Lynch, P.A. can help. With our deep understanding of Florida’s child support laws, we can help you navigate complex child support disputes from start to finish. We understand the significance of child support in ensuring the well-being of your children and will fight to ensure the court orders a fair and equitable child support amount.
Call our Tampa divorce and family law firm at 813-223-7739 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
What is Child Support?
Child support is a legal obligation designed to ensure that both parents contribute financially to the well-being of their child or children, even if they are divorced. It is intended to cover essential expenses such as housing, food, clothing, education, and healthcare. Child support is crucial for providing a stable and supportive environment for children, and it is typically enforced by family courts to protect the best interests of the child.
How Child Support Works in Florida
In Florida, child support is determined through a specific set of guidelines established by state law. These guidelines take into account the income of both parents, as well as custody (now known as time-sharing) rights, the number of children requiring support, and various other factors in order to calculate a fair and equitable amount that each parent should pay each month.
Each parent is expected to provide the child with financial support, even if the child does not live with them. Usually, the custodial parent (the parent with primary time-sharing rights) will receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent (the other parent), which will ensure that the child receives the support they need.
Child support orders are often subject to Tampa court order modifications, especially if there are significant changes in circumstances, such as changes in income or parenting time arrangements. That’s why it’s crucial to stay informed about the process and consult with a Tampa child custody attorney for guidance.
Florida Child Support Guidelines
Florida’s Child Support Guidelines go into detail about the rules and calculations required to determine child support obligations. These guidelines, as outlined in Florida Statute 61.30, consider various factors to ensure that child support agreements are made fair and in the best interest of the child.
In addition to providing calculations for determining child support payments, Florida Child Support Guidelines also provide information on how child support is handled when:
- The child is between the ages of 18 and 19
- One parent is incarcerated
- Parenting plans provide both parents with significant custody time
- The court wants to modify child support requirements by more than 5% of what is recommended by the guidelines
- Child support needs to be made retroactively
- A parent refuses to provide the court with information about their income
- A parent receives social security benefits
Determining Income for Child Support Payments
When determining child support amounts, different states use various methods to estimate just how much money a child may need to survive and thrive. Normally, this is done based on the income of both parents. Income can encompass various sources, like wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, self-employment earnings, rental income, and even governmental benefits.
It’s important to note that both parents’ incomes are considered when calculating child support, so accurate financial information from both parties is crucial. Additionally, imputed income may come into play if one parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, ensuring that child support obligations remain fair and just.
How Child Support Payments Are Calculated in Florida
Florida uses an Income Shares Model, meaning that the child’s required financial support is based on the proportion of each parent’s income in relation to their total combined income. Once the income and expense information is determined, the formula calculates a specific dollar amount that the non-custodial parent is expected to provide the custodial parent with.
In order to accurately calculate your potential child support obligation, contact an experienced child support lawyer at Quinn & Lynch P.A. We can help estimate how much you or the child’s other parent may have to pay in child support.
Can You Challenge the Amount of Child Support Ordered?
Yes, you can challenge the amount of child support ordered by the court, but only if there is a substantial change in circumstances that warrants modifying the child support amount. Some of the circumstances that could warrant court order modification include:
- A change in parental income
- A change in custody or time-sharing rights
- A change in child’s needs
- Emancipation of the child
For example, if a child suddenly develops a life-threatening condition, they will likely have extraordinary medical expenses. In this kind of child custody case, one or both parents could file to have the court order modified and increase the non-custodial parent’s existing monthly obligation. This would allow the parent with primary custody to receive equitable child support in order to keep up with medical expenses.
To challenge or modify a child support order in Florida, you typically need to file a petition with the family court that issued the original order. It’s essential to provide evidence supporting the change in circumstances and how it impacts the child’s financial needs. Tampa child support lawyers can be extremely helpful in navigating the process of modifying the court order, ensuring that your request for modification is properly presented to the court.
How Long Do You Have to Pay Child Support in Florida?
In Florida, the duration of child support payments can vary depending on specific circumstances, but child support generally lasts until the child reaches 18, which is the age of majority in Florida. However, there are some exceptions and factors to consider. These can include:
- Emancipation: Child support can end earlier if the child becomes emancipated before turning 18. Emancipation typically occurs when the child marries, joins the military, or becomes self-supporting.
- High School Graduation: Child support may continue beyond the age of 18 if the child is still in high school and has not graduated by their 18th birthday. In such cases, the child support order will stay in place until the child graduates or turns 19, whichever occurs first.
- Special Needs: If the child has special needs or a disability that makes them dependent on support, the child support agreement may continue beyond the age of majority. The court can order ongoing support to meet the child’s specific needs.
- Agreement: Parents can agree to continue child support for a longer duration, even after the child reaches the age of majority, as part of their divorce settlement or custody agreement.
What to Do if Your Ex-Spouse Isn’t Paying Child Support
If your ex-spouse is not paying child support as ordered by the court in Florida, you can take several steps to address the situation and ensure that your child receives the financial support they need. First, start by talking to your ex-spouse in a calm and non-confrontational manner. Sometimes, they may have valid reasons for missing payments, such as a temporary financial setback.
Next, carefully review the child support order to ensure that your ex-spouse is indeed in violation. If they have missed payments or are not meeting their obligations, document the details, including the amount owed and the dates of missed payments.
If you have a court-ordered child support case managed by the Florida Department of Revenue, contact them to report the missed payments. The DOR has enforcement tools at its disposal to help collect child support, including income withholding, property liens, and driver’s license suspension.
If your ex-spouse continues to evade their child support obligations, consult with a family law attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and explore options for Tampa child support enforcement. These can include actions such as filing a motion for contempt or, if there has been a significant change in circumstances, a petition to modify the child support order.
In some cases, you may need to pursue legal enforcement options through the court, such as wage garnishment, property liens, or driver’s license suspension, to compel your ex-spouse to pay child support.
Why You Need an Experienced Child Support Lawyer on Your Side
Child support disputes can be challenging, but having an experienced child support lawyer by your side can make a world of difference. A skilled attorney will have in-depth knowledge of Florida’s child support laws, guidelines, and enforcement mechanisms, ensuring that your rights are protected and your child’s best interests are served.
They can help you accurately calculate child support payments, negotiate with your ex-spouse or their attorney, and, if necessary, represent you in court proceedings. Moreover, an attorney can guide you through the process of enforcing child support orders or seeking modifications when circumstances change.
Florida child support issues can feel overwhelming and impossible to tackle, but you don’t have to handle them alone. By having an experienced legal advocate on your side, you’ll have the support and expertise necessary to achieve a fair and equitable resolution that ensures your child’s financial well-being.
Call a Tampa Child Support Attorney at Quinn & Lynch P.A. Today
If you’re currently dealing with child support issues, the Tampa child support attorneys at Quinn & Lynch, P.A. are here to help. With our in-depth understanding of Florida law and our experience handling child support cases in Tampa, FL, you can rest assured that we will provide you and your child with the best legal representation possible.
Whether you need assistance in calculating child support payments, enforcing an existing order, or seeking a modification, our team is well-equipped to guide you through the process. Not only that, but we offer compassionate, personalized legal solutions tailored to your unique circumstances, all made with you and your child’s best interests in mind.
Contact Our Experienced, Dedicated Divorce & Family Law Lawyers Today
As a dedicated family law practice in the Tampa Bay area, we work one on one with our clients, resulting in representation that is characterized by genuine care and understanding. If you are dealing with divorce or other family law issues, please contact at 813-223-7739 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family and divorce attorneys.