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Determining the Correct Amount of Child Support in Divorce or Paternity Cases

The use of standard guidelines to determine the amount of child support payments in Florida divorce and paternity cases has gone far to promote certainty and reduce disagreements between parents on child support issues. It’s usually fairly simple to identify the amount of a noncustodial parent’s basic child support payment.

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In some cases, however, the noncustodial parent’s income exceeds the upper limit of the guidelines formula, or special circumstances might indicate the need to apply for a higher or lower amount than the guidelines would require. To learn how an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support attorney can help you understand your options on a novel or difficult child support question, contact Moraitis & Raimondi, LLP.

The basic Florida Child Support Guidelines require that the noncustodial parent pay a percentage of income based on the number of children. This amount is then adjusted to cover additional expenses for day care, medical insurance and un-reimbursed medical expenses. It can also be reduced to reflect a pro data credit for overnight stays by the child with the noncustodial parent. The figure yielded by these calculations will usually fall close to the child support obligation stipulated by the parents, recommended by a mediator or ordered by a judge.

In some situations, certain factors or specific circumstances can justify a substantial upward or downward adjustment to the formula. These can include:

  • Problems with the income calculations for self-employed parents
  • Unusually low or high incomes reported for a parent based on job market problems or an unusually successful year
  • Support payments for children from previous marriages or relationships
  • Special needs and expenses related to a child’s disability, medical problems, behavioral problems or outstanding talents

The legal considerations related to child support are basically the same in paternity cases as they are in divorce. For unmarried parents facing child support obligations, it often makes sense to work out a parenting plan and time-sharing agreement with the custodial parent at the same time the child support payment is being determined. Otherwise, you will end up with an enforceable child support commitment without any formal protection of your access to your own child.

Child Support & Finances

Whether you are paying or receiving child support, it will have an impact on your financial future and the future of your child. The attorneys at the law firm of Moraitis & Raimondi, LLP, are committed to providing you with the advice you need to make informed decisions regarding child support and your finances. With decades of experience handling child support issues, we can answer your questions and help you anticipate potential financial issues that may arise down the road.

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Getting Child Support

When you receive child support payments through the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR), you can elect to receive that payment in one of two ways. The default option is to receive a debit card from the state that will receive your funds. You can then use that card to make purchases or withdrawals. Alternatively, you can have the money directly deposited into your checking or savings account.

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Modification and Enforcement

Whether ordered by the court or stipulated between divorcing spouses, continuing obligations such as child support can be revised as necessary to meet changed needs and circumstances. They can also be enforced if they go into default.

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When a child’s parents are unmarried, either the mother or the state has a strong interest in identifying the father through his own acknowledgment or by means of a DNA test. From the standpoint of the mother and the state, it’s important to determine and enforce a child support obligation on the part of the natural father. From the standpoint of the father, determination of paternity is the essential first step in obtaining a secure right of access to the child.

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Paying Child Support

There are a number of methods available for paying child support in Florida. You can make your payments online, by mail or by money transfer. You can make those payments by check, credit card or money order, or you can have them deducted directly from your bank account.

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