Child support enforcement is a fast growing area of family law. An unfortunate side effect of divorce, child support can have a big influence on a child’s life. If child support has been ordered by the Court or agreed upon by two parents, it does not always mean that the issue has been resolved. Although we hear a lot about “deadbeat parents” (moms or dads), the reality is that the majority of parents do pay child support and take care of their children as agreed upon. But, when that is not the case, it is vital to know how child support enforcement works. By hiring a child support attorney, you can equip yourself with the necessary tools to get a fair amount of child support set.
The duty to pay child support originates from the common law principles of providing the necessities of life to one’s dependents. The obligation falls on both parents, although in many cases unequally. The payment of child support is intended to help meet the dependent’s needs. Too often parents ask themselves “How much should I pay my divorced spouse in child support?” when the question they should really be asking is “How much do I need to pay my divorced spouse to support my child?”
The Florida Child Support Guidelines can be found in the Florida Statutes 61.30. Many other child support issues are addressed in Florida Statutes 61.13. Both sections of Chapter 61 are important and must be taken into consideration for overall child support. These guidelines must be consulted as a starting point for child support calculations, but there are a multitude of reasons to adjust upward or downward in each individual case. In basic child support calculation, many expenses are not taken into consideration, such as after school care, summer camps, private instruction and many other extracurricular activities.
Child support is also influenced by custody. A parent who has their child 5 nights a week, may not be required to pay as much as a parent who only has custody 2 nights a week. In rotating custody cases, there may be no child support payment due at all because the total costs of raising a child are already being split somewhat equally. The same result may occur in split custody arrangements, where one child primarily resides with one parent and another child resides with the other.
It is also important to know that a child support obligation is not set in stone and can be altered if necessary. Under Florida Statute 61.30, a modification of child support obligation can be made when a substantial change in the payer’s circumstances has occurred. Before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances, a difference must be proven between the existing monthly obligation and the dollar amount provided for under the guidelines of at least 15% or $50, whichever amount is greater.
If you or a loved one is battling child support, please contact our experienced family law attorneys at The Curry Law Group. Please give us the chance to provide legal representation in your case. We invite you to fill out the form on this page or give our office a call today.
In the 19th century, it was felt that the US legal system needed laws to enforce the father’s obligation to support his offspring, and courts began to rule likewise. One of the earliest American support cases was Stanton vs. Willson, decided by the Supreme Court of Connecticut in 1808, where the court allowed Eunice Stanton to recover support from her first husband on behalf of her deceased second husband. At that time, two of Eunice’s children had been awarded to her by a custody decree, and the third had fled from her ex-husband because of fears of abuse. The court clearly stated in this case that the children’s father was legally bound “to protect, educate, and maintain their legitimate children.”
Information on the Child Support Enforcement Program can be found here: