Tampa Child Support Attorney
In any divorce where the divorcing couple has minor children, the court will need to decide how to order child support – a monthly payment from one parent to the other for the benefit of the kids. Even if the parents were never married, court-ordered child support might be necessary and proper. Also, long after a divorce has been finalized, modifications of child custody, parental relocations, or changes in needs can cause parents and the courts to revisit the child support obligation. In any situation, Tampa child support attorney Laura A. Olson provides practical advice and effective representation to make sure your children’s needs are being fairly met, whether you are the parent receiving child support or the parent being asked to pay. Learn more about child support in Florida below, and contact the Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A., for help with child support in a Tampa divorce or other family law matter.
How is child support determined in Florida?
State law uses a statutory formula to determine a parent’s child support obligation. This formula, drawn from the Florida child support guidelines, considers factors such as both parents’ incomes, the number of children to be supported, the percentage of time the children stay with each parent, the healthcare and childcare expenses of the children, and other basic needs of the children to come up with a monthly amount of support for both parents and determine how much one parent will need to pay the other.
Florida’s Child Support Guidelines
Florida Statute 61.30 lays out guidelines for how much child support a parent will have to pay depending on both parents’ incomes and the number of children that are being considered for child support. For example, the guidelines state that parents who bring in $8,500 in monthly income and have one child should have child support of $1329. If there are two children, the child support increases to $2064 per month. According to Very Well Family, the average child support due nationally is $5,760 dollars per year which equates to less than $500 per month.
How an Attorney Can Help in Your Child Support Case
Although the guidelines provide worksheets that some parents could fill out without legal help, there are many reasons why you may want or need to involve a lawyer in the process of determining child support. Child support is based on the net incomes of both parents. For some, net income can be pulled from a W-2 wage statement. For others, however, the situation can be incredibly complicated. For instance, a parent may have real property holdings and investment income, income from a business the parent owns separately from the other parent, or complex income structures involving commissions, bonuses, profit-sharing and pensions plans. Attorney Laura A. Olson is experienced in handling high net worth divorces. She knows how to ensure each parent is reporting the right of income for a fair determination of child support. This process may also include imputing a proper income amount for a parent who is unemployed or voluntarily underemployed.
It is also important to know that the guidelines are just that – guidelines. The judge has the authority to deviate up or down from the formula amount if persuaded such a deviation is necessary or just. This decision is made after hearing the parents’ arguments regarding the relevant factors, such as:
- Any extraordinary medical expenses for the children, including psychological or dental expenses
- Any extraordinary educational expenses
- Any independent income the children may have
- Seasonal variations in the income or expenses or either parent
- The children’s ages
- Any special needs of the children
- Whether the timesharing schedule gives one parent a substantial amount of custodial time compared to the other parent
In some situations, the judge can deviate from the guidelines by as much as five percent. In other cases, the judge can deviate from the formula by an even greater amount. If you are seeking a deviation from the guidelines or challenging the other parent’s plea for a deviation, Tampa child support attorney Laura A. Olson can prepare and present a compelling argument backed with evidence the court needs to make a fair ruling in your favor.
Get a Child Support Result that Works for You and Your Children in a Tampa Divorce Proceeding
Child support is a financial payment to the custodial parent to help them with the upbringing of the child. When parents get divorced, child support is a way to still hold both parents responsible for the well-being of their child. Florida law mandates child support payments and offers guidelines for how much child support should be paid, but each situation is unique and the judge can decide to deviate from the guidelines when ordering child support payments. The Tampa child support attorneys at The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A. can help you create a child support agreement with your child’s other parent or modify an existing agreement that is no longer adequate.
Whether you are the non-custodial parent who is trying to stay afloat financially without paying unfair child support dues or you are the custodial parent who is advocating for additional child support to cover the extraordinary needs of your child, a skilled Tampa attorney can help you seek a positive outcome. After a compelling argument from an attorney for why the child support should be different from Florida guidelines, judges may deviate as far as five percent. Call The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A. today at 813-222-0888 to schedule a free consultation today.