We know child support can be frustrating, that’s why Jacksonville family law attorney Ashley Goggins uses her experience and extensive knowledge to help you through the process. Her experience has allowed her to guide countless fathers and families through the process of determining and modifying child support payments.
Establishing Child Support
If you are currently going through a divorce or paternity determination for your minor child, the awarding of child support is an integral part of these processes. Under Florida law, both parents have the obligation to provide support for their children. This is done in order to ensure that a child’s basic needs are met and to allow the child to benefit from the monetary resources of the parent. For these reasons, child support is the right of the child, not the parents.
In Florida, any parent who resides the state may petition the Florida courts for child support, or request support during a divorce or paternity case. The amount of child support to be received is based on child support guidelines provided within the Florida statutes. These guidelines consider numerous factors in calculating child support, including:
Number of children
Combined net monthly income of the parents
Cost of daycare
Health insurance requirements for the child
Number of nights each parent spends with the child based on the parenting plan
Where it is reasonably possible, a Florida court will require parents to provide medical and dental insurance for their children. Additionally, life insurance may be required in an amount commensurate to the amount of child support owed.
If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, Florida courts may chose whether to impute income to the parent based on recent work history and prevailing earning levels. They may decline to do so where it appears necessary for the parent to stay home with the child.
Parents can seek modification of a prior child support award when it is based on a showing of a substantial, permanent, and unanticipated change in circumstances. This can include:
Loss of a job
Termination of daycare or childcare
Substantial increase or decrease in income (15% or greater)
A request for modification of child support should be filed with the court immediately if any of these circumstances arise. This is because modification is effective only from the date of filing onwards – it does not apply to child support owed prior to the filing. If you have had a recent significant change in circumstances that you believe merits modification of child support, you should contact an experienced Florida family law attorney immediately.
Enforcing A Child Support Award
When one parent fails to make required child support payments, there are several options available for enforcement of a child support award. A court may hold the parent in contempt, suspend the parent’s driver’s license, or place a lien on the parent’s property. The court may also empower the Florida Department of Revenue to take action by seizing the parent’s bank account.
Additionally, when timely child support payments are not made, the court may make a judgment that allows interest to accrue on overdue payments. Child support payments are also enforceable at any time, even after a child reaches 18, because there is no statute of limitations on enforcement.
If you have not received child support payments that your children are entitled to, or believe that you may have difficulty making a child support payment, you should talk to a lawyer to determine what options are available to you.
Successfully Addressing Your Child Support Issues
At Ashley Goggins Law, P.A. we understand the complexities involved in determining and obtaining child support and will work to assist you through this process. If you are concerned about your child support obligations, we are here to help you. We provide dedicated and aggressive advocacy to help you obtain & fight for a fair child support award. Give us a call today at 904-903-4522 to schedule a comprehensive consultation or schedule with us online.