Fort Lauderdale Child Support Lawyers
Protecting the Best Interests of You & Your Child
In today’s economy, many people are finding it difficult to provide for their families. This becomes even more difficult when you are a single parent trying to make ends meet. If your financial situation has left you in a place where you have become unable to provide for your child’s most basic needs, it is important to remember that there are resources that can help. At Stok Kon + Braverman, our attorneys recognize that both parents may face financial challenges. We represent individuals who are finding it hard to get by due to a lack of support from their ex-spouse. We also represent those who are finding it extremely burdensome to pay the support a court ordered. From our family law firm, we help individuals attain the resources they need to feel financially secure.
To discuss your options with one of our attorneys, contact us to schedule an appointment.
How is Child Support Calculated?
The court generally determines child support by calculating the cost of living for each child. Florida statute includes a child support guideline worksheet for the parents to complete.
Beyond that, there are several factors that are calculated to determine which spouse will pay, and how much the child will receive every month:
- Net income of both parents: This is the amount of income received as take home pay.
- Number of children: Child support must be calculated for each individual child. Calculations are then adjusted in consideration of multiple children.
- Daycare expenses: The total amount of daycare expense is included in the calculation, in addition to which party is paying this expense.
- Health insurance costs: The state wants to ensure that children are covered by health insurance. If one parent pays health insurance through their employer, they receive credit for the amount of the payment.
- Number of overnights spent between parent and child: The arrangement of overnight stays is a large part of the child support calculation. The party with the greatest amount of nights with the child is generally the party to receive child support payments. For example, a parent with every other weekend visitation and half of summer breaks generally has the child for 73 nights out of the year. However, if the parents are sharing time with the children in a true joint custody arrangement, the child support obligations may offset one another, so neither party has to provide support to the other party.
Online child support calculators may give you a rough estimate of what you could get awarded, but an experienced attorney will be able to give you a much better idea of the amount that the court may award. The goal of child support is for the children to have the same standard of living that they would have if both parents were together. The number of possible variables makes the calculation tough to complete without proper legal knowledge and experience.
Child support cases can become contentious when the parties do not agree about the necessity for it or the amount that should be paid. In these cases, there are two separate interests working against one another. On one side, the primary custodian is seeking financial support for assistance with the child. If this is your stance in the case, you will need to provide financial documentation about your income, as well as the expenses of the child.
This may include:
- Your pay stubs to demonstrate your income
- Day care receipts
- Medical documentation for any conditions that create an extra financial obligation
- Education documents if the child is in private school. The court prefers to maintain a child’s standard of living. If the child has been attending a private school, the court can include the expense in the child support calculation.
- Documentation of evidence to prove the other parent’s standard of living. This may prove necessary if you suspect the other parent of claiming less income than they truly earn. You may have proof of expensive purchases or documentation of work that the parent is not reporting.
The other side of a contested child support case is a non-custodial parent who feels that the calculated obligation is too high. They may prove their cases by presenting evidence about their expenses and income. Even though the court is likely to follow the calculations, these parents also deserve representation in court and the right to have their voices heard.
Florida courts strictly follow the child support guidelines when ordering child support. However, you can request a deviation from the calculated amount through a motion to the court. When filing for a deviation, you must document your reasons for making the request. When considering the deviation, the court considers the best interest of the child. Unless the court finds that a deviation is in the best interest of the child, the calculated child support is ordered. Obtaining a deviation can prove challenging, so it is best to secure the services of an experienced lawyer.
When you come in for your appointment, you will sit down with one of our attorneys to discuss your case. We will explain each of the above factors as they relate to your case. From there, we will work together to determine what steps should be taken to provide you with the results you need.