Child support is a top concern of many parents who are no longer together. While most parents want to do what is right for their children, there is often a fine balance between ensuring a child is well taken care of and maintaining reasonable expectations for the supporting parent. Both concerns are valid.
West Palm Beach child support lawyer Charles D. Jamieson has represented clients in their needs for over 40 years, protecting the best interests of the children and parents involved in preserving parental rights. Winning child custody while avoiding contentious child custody battles takes experience. Few child custody lawyers can match the unique focus and expertise Charles Jamieson offers.
The Purpose of Child Support
In West Palm Beach, child support is intended to provide the child with an acceptable standard of living if the parents do not reside together. The support may cover the following expenses:
- Food and clothing, including school meals
- Educational expenses such as tuition, uniforms, school supplies, tutoring, and sports
- Medical expenses, including out-of-pocket costs, deductibles, and uninsured healthcare
- Extracurricular activities, including summer camps, music lessons, and entertainment
A knowledgeable attorney in the area could determine how to properly include these expenses in the child support calculation and ensure that all relevant information is addressed.
Child Support Factors
Child support guidelines in Florida provide a baseline for required support payments. Factors such as income levels, earning potential, number of children, and others are used to calculate the figure. From this baseline, a West Palm Beach attorney can recommend adding or subtracting 5% to the child support after documenting and presenting evidence to the court. Never-the-less, the Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A., is experienced in exploring and presenting evidence, which may cause additional increases or reductions in the baseline calculations of child support.
Because the parents’ combined monthly income is an essential factor in calculating support, it is necessary to establish each parent’s income correctly. Under Florida Statutes §61.30(2)(a), there are fourteen different types of payments that are considered ‘income’ for child support purposes, including:
- Bonuses, commissions, overtime, and tips
- Business income
- Disability, worker’s compensation, social security, or unemployment benefits
- Spousal support from a previous marriage
- Interest and dividends
- Rental income or recurring gains from property
- Royalties, trusts, or estate income
Accurately determining a parent’s income can be challenging, particularly if the parent receives payment from several sources, has complex self-employment earnings, or attempts to hide income. An experienced child support attorney in Palm Beach County could ensure that all sources are identified, including examining a parent’s tax returns, business records, and bank statements.
What if One Parent is Unemployed?
Under Florida Statues §61.30(2)(b), when a parent is voluntarily unemployed or deliberately earning less than they are capable of, a court may impute income to that parent. In this circumstance, a judge can consider the unemployed parent’s recent work history, occupational qualifications, and the wages of someone similarly qualified and determine what income that parent could earn.
The party requesting imputation of income has the burden of proving that the other parent is voluntarily unemployed. A child support attorney could assist in presenting the necessary evidence to a judge.
Enforcing a Child Support Order
Florida courts use several methods to enforce child support orders, including:
- Suspending the nonpaying parent’s driver’s or professional license
- Holding the parent in contempt of court, which may include incarceration
- Placing a lien on the parent’s property
- Garnishing a parent’s wages or tax refunds by deducting the child support directly from a paycheck or diverting a tax refund to the parent receiving support
- Authorizing the receiving parent to claim the child as a dependent on their income tax returns
There is no deadline on child support enforcement in Florida, and a parent may seek compliance even after a child reaches age eighteen.
Consult a West Palm Beach Child Support Attorney
Whether settling child support payments or seeking a child support modification, Mr. Jamieson seeks to understand each client’s needs and economic situation. His regular participation in seminars and educational forums help him stay well informed about current child support issues, including interstate support disputes, so he can best represent his client’s interests.
While protecting child custody rights and maximizing support within Florida child support guidelines, West Palm Beach child support lawyers must remember the importance of placing the child’s best interest at the center. Mr. Jamieson is committed to helping each family reach an amicable resolution if possible. When it’s not, he is equally effective at reaching a fair resolution through assertive representation. Call today to set up a consultation.