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Virtually every parent in Florida has a legal obligation to financially support their children until they reach the age of 18. However, not every parent will owe the same amount of child support, and various factors may determine the exact amount each person owes.
Making sense of how Florida law addresses this matter could be much easier with guidance from an experienced Boca Raton child support lawyer. Once retained, your family attorney could explain how the child support guidelines work, the exceptions to those guidelines, and your available options for pursuing modified child support payments based on your specific circumstances.
Child support aims to preserve a child’s best interests by ensuring they have an acceptable standard of living throughout their childhood. More specifically, child support payments fund basic needs such as food, clothing, medical treatment, various educational expenses, and sometimes extracurricular activities, hobbies, and even personal entertainment.
While all child support payments are meant solely for the child in question’s benefits, the money is generally paid to the parent or guardian with primary physical custody as a matter of practicality. As a child support lawyer in Boca Raton could explain, the percentage of total support that a parent owes varies from case to case. This ratio is based on how much of both parents’ combined monthly income they account for, and the percentage of time they have physical custody over the child.
The child support guidelines for families in Florida—codified in Florida Statutes §61.30—serve as a starting point that may be adjusted as needed for each unique family. This section of state law includes a chart establishing specific amounts of child support owed by parents who make anywhere from $800 to $10,000 in combined monthly net income to anywhere from one to six children. Calculating essential child support obligations beyond either of those maximums is a more complicated task that a local attorney could explain in more detail as needed.
The guidelines define “income” to include wages or salary derived from employment and virtually every other means by which someone might take in money. This can include anything from commissions and bonuses, to retirement and pension payments, to various government benefits and court awards. If the court finds that someone is underemployed or unemployed with the specific intent of minimizing their child support obligations, the court may “impute” income onto that person and calculate their support payments accordingly.
All parents are required to support their children financially, regardless of whether they are in a relationship with their child’s other parent or separated from them. However, that does not necessarily mean you have to accept the amount of support a court imposes upon you—or your child’s other parent—without meaningfully advocating for your child’s rights and interests.
Assistance from a Boca Raton child support lawyer could make a massive difference in your ability to achieve the support order your family needs. Call today to learn more about what a dedicated member of our legal team could do for you.