When people have a child together, both parents must provide for the child’s basic needs. If the parents live apart, then one parent will pay child support to the other in most cases. The law provides a formula to determine the amount of child support and parents must include their agreement regarding child support in their parenting plan.

A West Miami child support lawyer can help parents determine the amount that should cover necessary expenses. If a substantial change occurs that merits a change in the support arrangement, a dependable family attorney can help a parent seek or defend a modification of child support.

Determining Appropriate Child Support

Florida Statutes § 61.30 contains the state’s child support guidelines. The formula considers how many children the couple has together and how many other children each parent supports. It considers each parent’s after-tax income, childcare expenses, and the cost of the child’s health, vision, and dental insurance. The formula also considers how many overnights each child spends at each parent’s home.

Sometimes people assume that if the parents have roughly equal numbers of overnights with the children, neither parent will pay substantial child support. That is not true. The parent who earns more usually pays child support to the parent who earns less, even if they have equal parental timesharing. The law wants the children to have a lifestyle similar to what they had before the parents split up.

The child support formula ensures fairness but special situations sometimes justify deviations from the formula. A Judge could approve a child support arrangement that deviates by up to five percent from the formula amount. If a deviation is more than five percent, the Judge must state a reason for ordering the higher or lower amount.

Child Support Issues for Unmarried Parents

Parents’ relationships with each other have no bearing on the child support obligation. Both parents must contribute financially to a child’s needs even if they were never married, never lived together, or had only a fleeting relationship. A parent owes child support even if they have no visitation rights and no contact with the child.

A mother seeking support from her child’s father must establish the man’s paternity. The parents could both sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born. If they do not acknowledge paternity at birth, they could do so later using Form DH-432. The forms are available at Department of Health offices, many pediatrician’s offices, and any Department of Children and Families office.

If the father is unwilling to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity, the mother could seek a court order requesting a Judge to declare the man the legal father. A West Miami child support attorney could represent a parent before the courts. In disputed cases, the Judge usually orders a DNA test. If the test reveals the man is likely to be the child’s father, the court will enter a child support order.

Modifying an Order for Child Support in West Miami

Determining the correct amount of child support requires considering multiple factors. If one of the factors changes significantly, the appropriate child support amount might change, too. Either parent could seek a modification of child support if a new circumstance would result in a change in the monthly support obligation by 15 percent or $50, whichever is greater.

Parents also could seek modification if they show a substantial change in circumstances justifies it. For example, a child might be diagnosed with a learning disability that requires substantial support or they might suffer significant injuries in an accident. The parents’ incomes might stay the same but the expense of caring for the child might increase significantly, which might cause a need for more child support.

Child support is a court order, so parents must obtain the court’s approval before they modify an order, even if they agree. A West Miami attorney could assist a parent in preparing and presenting a motion to modify child support.

Contact a West Miami Child Support Attorney with Your Questions Today

The child support formula is supposed to simplify child support issues but complications sometimes arise. A West Miami child support lawyer will explain the law and help you take the necessary steps to provide for your child. Place a call to schedule a free consultation with The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm.