Child support is an important issue for both spouses in any divorce. Modification of child support obligations is also a frequent concern. To learn more about your rights regarding child support, contact Fort Lauderdale child support attorney Serena Carroll.
Child support is a significant issue in any divorce. While emotional support, guidance, and strong parent-child bonds are extremely important, financial support is also given immense importance under federal and state law.
In Florida, both parents have an equal responsibility to provide financial support for their children, both during and after the marriage. However, the amount of support each parent must pay will be adjusted based on a variety of factors. These factors are spelled out in worksheets and online calculators, making the calculation of each spouse’s child support obligations fairly routine and straightforward. The comparative net income of each spouse is an important factor in creating a basic monthly obligation for each spouse. Each spouse’s payment of education, healthcare, child care, and other important expenses are factored in. The number of nights the child or children spend with each parent is also considered, and the more nights that are spent with the non-primary parent will generally lower the support obligation of the non-primary parent. High-asset divorces, children with special needs, and private school tuition, amongst other things, can complicate the calculation.
In some cases, calculating net income and ability to pay can be complicated. Tax records must be closely scrutinized, and for those who are self-employed, income may be realized in other ways. Sometimes a forensic accountant or other economic expert must be employed to ensure that all income is considered in determining a fair level of child support.
Once child support is determined – even when by agreement between the spouses – it may sometimes need to be modified in the future. For example, where one parent is laid off from his or her job, that parent may face economic hardship and need a reduction in child support payments. Temporary hardships for one parent, or temporary costs to the child – such as unforeseen medical expenses – can create grounds for a temporary adjustment in child support. Where a spouse becomes permanently disabled, obtains substantial additional income through work or remarriage, or the needs of the child change, child support orders can be permanently modified.
If you face changed financial circumstances, it is a good idea to act quickly. If you fall into arrears in child support payments due to personal hardship, you may have your future obligations modified, but will still owe past child support at previous levels. The failure to pay child support can have severe consequences, including garnishing of wages, seizure of property, suspension of professional licenses, liens against real property, and criminal penalties.
You want what is fair for your child, and for you. To make sure that child support obligations in your divorce are fair, you should seek the advice of an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support attorney. Waiting to talk to an attorney until after a child support order has been entered is a bad idea, as modification is generally allowed only on a showing of substantially changed circumstances. An experienced attorney can make sure that the full financial status of both parents is accounted for, and that all personal issues and deviations from standard child support calculations are properly considered. For assistance with your child support issues, contact the Law Office of Serena Carroll today at (954) 525-2050.