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DeVoe Law Firm Trials & Transactions
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Orlando Child Support Attorney

Child Support – It’s the Law

child-supportFlorida law requires children to be supported in accordance with your financial ability and your children’s needs.

That doesn’t mean you should have to over-pay child support.

You also shouldn’t have to accept less child support than the law allows.

Establishment of Child Support

Although most child support cases begin with the application of statutory guidelines, there are many other issues involved. There are a number of ways the child support amount can be adjusted.

A child support case involves determination of: (a) the base amount of child support; (b) additional child support above the base amount; (c) credits, set-offs, and deductions to which you may be entitled; (d) the method by which child support will be paid; (e) ways to assure child support payments are made; (f) when child support may be increased or decreased; and (g) which parent will receive relevant dependency deductions and child care tax credits for income tax purposes.

In Florida, child support guidelines apply to all cases and are based on the income of the parents and the number of children they have in common.  Adjustments to child support can be made for substantial overnight contact. However, the court may make findings that certain factors in your case justify deviation from child support guidelines. Litigated issues include credits, set-offs, and deductions to which you may be entitled and reasons for additional child support in excess of the base guideline amount. There may be other reasons for deviation, either upward or downward, in your individual case.

Child support may be by direct payment or by indirect benefits, such as payments of a mortgage, insurance premiums, or medical and dental expenses. Ordinarily, the obligation to support your child ends when that child reaches 18, marries, or becomes financially independent.

It is important to get a court order to establish child support in order to clarify your child support obligation and track your payments. This will help you get credit for your child support payments. Without a formal child support order, you risk your payments being characterized as gifts or the other parent could simply deny receipt of any child support. In such a case, you could remain obligated for a significant amount of back child support or arrears.

Enforcement of Child Support

Sometimes parents are tempted to resort to self-help to enforce child support or visitation and timesharing orders. In Florida, it is not legal to withhold visitation because the other parent fails to pay court-ordered child support. Conversely, it is not legal to withhold child support payments because the other parent denies you court-ordered visitation or timesharing. In these cases, DeVoe Law Firm can bring an enforcement action to make sure the other parent complies with court orders. Sometimes DOR will suspend your driver’s license in order to coerce you to pay child support. In these cases, DeVoe Law Firm can help you get your license back.

Call DeVoe Law Firm for a free consultation.  Get help from an experienced attorney with your child support case.

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