Lakeland Child Support Attorney
Child support is not a bargaining chip to be used to gain an advantage in a divorce. Child support is a child’s right and a parent’s obligation. Both parents, in fact, are obligated to financially support their children under Florida law, so when a couple splits up, the court will often order one parent to pay child support to the other, either because one parent has significantly more parenting time than the other or due to a significant discrepancy between the earnings of the parents. A child support order can help ensure the child is adequately supported and enjoys roughly the same standard of living at both parental homes.
Child support is initially determined by applying a formula written into the Florida child support guidelines. However, calculating child support is a complicated matter, and many factors can be present which might justify deviating from the guidelines amount. The family law attorney at Darla K. Snead, P.L., can guide you through the process of determining child support, making sure the end result is an amount that fairly supports your children and is fair to you as well, whether you are the party paying or the one receiving child support on behalf of your kids. Learn more about child support in Florida below, and contact our experienced Lakeland child support attorney for help with child support and other critical issues in your Polk County divorce.
How Child Support in Florida Is Calculated
The Florida Child Support Guidelines are a set of forms, tables, worksheets and schedules that parents use to gather up and provide a complete picture of their finances and financial needs. Based on the combined incomes of both parents, the number of children to support, each parent’s percentage of timesharing, and various incidental costs such as health insurance, medical costs, daycare or after-school care and any special needs the child might have, the Guidelines come up with a presumptive amount of child support to be paid to the parent with the majority of timesharing. If timesharing is 50/50, the court might still award child support to the lower-earning parent to even out the standard of living for the children at both homes.
Darla K. Snead, P.L., can guide you through the complex Guidelines formula to make sure child support is calculated fairly and accurately. It might be necessary, for instance, to uncover hidden assets or misreported income, or to impute a higher level of income to a parent who is intentionally unemployed or underemployed. If paternity has not already been legally established, it might be necessary to do so now to get an enforceable order for child support.
Changes or Challenges to the Guidelines Amount
Although the Guidelines are presumed to arrive at a proper amount, this amount can be challenged by either parent, or the parents can come together and agree on a different amount, subject to court approval. When the parents are arguing over what the proper amount of child support is, attorney Darla K. Snead uses her skills as a mediator and courtroom litigator to help resolve the conflict and make sure her client’s interests and the children’s interests are well-represented.
Under Florida law, judges can deviate from the Guidelines by as much as five percent in either direction based on factors such as:
- The child’s age
- The child’s station in life/standard of living
- The financial situation experienced by each parent
- How much timesharing each parent has
- Any special needs, such as extraordinary medical expenses
The judge can also deviate more than five percent in appropriate instances, based on the evidence and arguments put forward by the parents through their lawyers. Whether you are the parent seeking support for your children or the one who will be ordered to pay, you want to make sure the amount is adequate and fair, and the skilled family law attorney at Darla K. Snead, P.L., can help you get there.
Contact Our Lakeland Child Support Lawyer Today
For skilled and experienced help in calculating child support in your Florida divorce, including deviating from the Guidelines through agreement with your co-parent or litigation in court, count on the trusted advice and representation of a skilled family law attorney at Darla K. Snead, P.L. Call our experienced Lakeland child support lawyer today.