Every parent in Florida has a legal obligation to provide a certain amount of financial assistance towards ensuring their child has a safe and secure upbringing. However, the exact amount of aid a particular parent may owe and what factors play into that determination can change significantly in different situations, and trying to make sense of them alone rarely leads to positive outcomes in court.
If you have any questions about your obligations or would like help negotiating for a fair order from a family court, seeking assistance from a knowledgeable family attorney should be a priority. Once retained, an experienced Florida child support lawyer located in our Coral Gables office can advocate for your best interests while helping you avoid common legal pitfalls.
How Do the State’s Child Support Guidelines Work?
If a family court is adjudicating how much financial aid a parent should provide to their kid, that court will initially base its decision on the “child support guidelines” outlined in Florida Statutes §61.30. The word “guidelines” is crucial since, as a child support attorney could explain, it means that this is a general model for Florida courts to follow. Likewise, it does not perfectly apply to every situation and can be deviated from if a court deems it appropriate to do so.
Net Income of Both Parents
The first and most important step towards determining these payments is to establish the individual net income of both of a minor’s parents. This is calculated by subtracting certain exclusions and deductions from each parent’s gross monthly income. In this context, gross income includes not only wages or salary from employment but also bonuses, business income, government benefits and/or settlement payouts, and more. Applicable deductions may include but are not limited to:
- All income taxes paid to local, state, or federal government, as well as self-employment tax;
- Mandatory union dues or retirement payments;
- Court-ordered payments owed to other kids or spouses from current or previous marriages;
- Health insurance payments.
Based on the calculated monthly net income and the number of “overnights” the kid in question spends with each parent, the court then determines a basic monthly financial obligation.
Seeking Deviations from the Child Support Guidelines in Florida at Our Coral Gables Office
As noted above, there are circumstances under which a court may find it necessary for a parent to pay more or less per month than the amount suggested under the guidelines. With the caveat that a court may not order unreasonable obligations or require a parent to pay more per month than they can afford, the court may order a change from the guidelines’ recommendation based on factors like the:
- Financial status of each parent;
- Age of each parent;
- Capacity of each parent to continue working or advance in their career;
- Child’s unique educational or medical needs;
- Standard of living to which the child is accustomed.
Any deviation greater than five percent from the guidelines must be accompanied by a written explanation regarding the court’s decision. A Coral Gables attorney could provide crucial assistance advocating for a deviation from the standard guidelines about financial aid for a minor in the state.
Contact One of Our Attorneys Located in Coral Gables on Your Child Support Matter Now
No matter what, every parent in the state must contribute to financially helping their kid, and state courts are prohibited by law from waiving a parent’s support obligations. With that in mind, establishing a fair financial aid arrangement that serves both your kid’s best interests and your own can be vital to protecting your future prospects. Assistance from a Florida child support lawyer located in Coral Gables is often crucial to achieving positive resolutions in situations like this. Learn more by calling our office today.