Largo Child Support Attorney
Florida, like most other jurisdictions, is an income share state in terms of child support. A complex formula, which considers the income of both parents, the proportion of overnight visits, and a few other factors, determines the amount of monthly child support payments in most cases. The income share model, although it’s more complicated than the percentage-of-income model, better gives the children the same standard of living they would have had if their parents were married. Most parents would agree that’s a laudable goal. However, as they say, the devil is in the details. So, disputes over the amount and duration of child support are common, especially in modification and enforcement matters.
The thorough Largo child support attorneys at The Reep Law Firm efficiently break down these complex issues into enforceable and fair orders that are easy to understand. Furthermore, we understand that both obligors (people paying support) and obligees (people receiving support) have legal and financial rights. We’re dedicated to upholding these rights and finding long lasting, as well as cost effective, solutions that benefit you and your family now and in the future.
Setting Child Support
As mentioned, income and overnight visits are the most important factors in determining guideline support in Florida. Other factors include the age of the children and the number of children before the court. Stepchildren usually don’t affect the amount of child support, unless the obligor or obligee has legally adopted the children,
Net income for take-home purposes is often different from net income for child support purposes. Certain deductions, such as retirement account contributions and loan repayments, aren’t allowable for child support purposes. Moreover, if the person intentionally over-withholds income, that’s usually not an allowable deduction either.
The court orders, and only the court orders, determine the overnight visit proportion. Informal sleepovers, no matter how common they are, don’t count. Neither does something like after-school pickup and visitation, even if that visitation lasts until bedtime.
Florida’s guidelines are presumptively reasonable in all cases. If the judge finds that the guideline amount is inappropriate or unfair, the judge sets another amount, based on the guideline amount and:
- Obligor’s additional assets or income,
- Extraordinary medical or other expenses of the child, and
- Obligee’s inability to pay for the child’s basic needs.
This same analysis (guideline first and possible deviation second) applies in most child support modification matters.
Modifying Child Support
Initial determinations are based on financial and emotional snapshots. When financial and/or emotional circumstances permanently, unexpectedly, and substantially change, a Largo child support attorney may file a motion to modify the child support payment.
Financially, most people change jobs frequently. These job changes often involve a higher or lower salary. Additionally, it’s usually feast or famine for business owners and other self-employed persons.
Financial changes for employed persons are often straightforward. However, as mentioned above, many people hide money to artificially lower their income. Therefore, extensive discovery is often necessary in these cases. Self-employed income determinations have similar issues. Furthermore, the moving party must usually establish a pattern of higher or lower income. This pattern usually needs to be at least three months.
Emotionally, also as mentioned, some children feel closer to one parent or the other one at certain times of their lives. Once again, before the judge modifies child support for this reason, a pattern of changed overnights is usually necessary. Additionally, family law judges are very adept at determining if a child has been manipulated into saying or doing certain things.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Pinellas County Attorney
Family law matters usually involve financial and emotional issues. For a free consultation with an experienced child support attorney in Largo, contact Reep, Coleman & Stubbendorff. We routinely handle matters throughout the Tampa Bay area.