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Sanford Child Support Lawyer Serving Seminole County

For family cases involving children in Sanford, child support can be one of the most important issues to be decided. Child support most often becomes in issue in divorce cases involving minor children, or in child support or paternity cases between unmarried parents. Sometimes even after child support is court ordered, one parent may wish to have the court make a modification, requiring further action by the court. Child support guidelines are provided in Florida statutes and are primarily what will be used to determine child support in Sanford. While the Florida statutes provide what is similar to a mathematical equation to calculate child support, there are several factors also included that will allow child support to vary based on the circumstances of each family. Our Sanford child support attorneys have extensive experience determining child support and can use these factors and child support calculations in your favor to help get you the results you want.

Calculating Child Support in Sanford

One of the first steps in calculating child support is to determine the net income of both parents. To calculate the net income of each parent, certain deductions or expenses are subtracted from their gross income. The net income from each parent is then added together and the child support guidelines will determine the total amount of support that needs to be provided. Each parent’s share of that total support obligation is then calculated based on the percentage of the total net income they contribute.

Calculating child support for parents in Sanford more than just following a formula, however. The Florida statutes governing child support do allow for several factors to be considered when calculating child support. The most significant factors include the number of overnights each parent has, the cost of health insurance and extraordinary medical or dental expenses for the child, and childcare expenses. The medical and dental expenses must be out-of-pocket expenses the parents will be responsible for that health insurance does not cover. Childcare expenses are only considered if the childcare, such as a daycare or after school program, is needed to allow the parents to work, seek employment, or attend school.

One factor that is not considered by the court in Sanford is the gender of the parents. Many people are under the misconception that only fathers pay child support and only mothers may receive it. This is simply not true. Neither mothers nor fathers are to be given preference in family law cases based on their gender, including when calculating child support.

Many people also hold the mistaken belief that a parent can avoid paying child support by quitting their job or taking a job that pays them substantially less money than they had been making. Florida statutes will allow a court to impute income to a parent if that parent is purposefully or voluntarily underemployed or unemployed. The court does not look favorably upon a parent trying to intentionally avoid supporting their child financially.

Modifying and Terminating Child Support in Sanford

Child support will only continue until the child reaches age 18, gets married, dies, or becomes self-supporting. There is an exception for children who will turn 18 years old before graduating high school. As long as they are in good faith expected to graduate before they turn 19 years old, child support may continue until their graduation, but never past their 19th birthday. If there are multiple children the court has ordered child support for, the court order should include how much the child support payments will decrease as each child reaches age 18.

What happens when one parent in Sanford wants to modify child support that is already court-ordered? Once child support has been ordered, the parent responsible for paying that child support must continue to pay it until there is a new court order relieving the parent from that obligation. If a parent merely stops paying or pays a lesser amount that the two parents agreed on between themselves, then the payor parent could still be found in contempt of court for not following the court order.

To modify child support, the parent seeking the change would need to file a petition for modification with the court, which will reopen the court case. The other parent would then need to be served with the petition and file their answer. If the parents do not agree on the modification, then the court may refer them to mediation or hold a hearing to determine whether the modification should be granted and determine the new amount. Many parents dread having to do a modification, even if they are unhappy with their current situation, because they do not want to go through the whole court process again to make a change. Hiring an experienced child support attorney from the beginning can help avoid the time, expenses, and stress associated with needing to do a modification. A skilled child support attorney can also make a modification go as smoothly as possible to reduce the burden of having it done.

Enforcing Child Support Orders in Sanford

What happens when a parent who is court ordered to pay child support in Sanford is not paying? One of the most common ways one parent can enforce a child support obligation against the other parent is by filing a motion for contempt with the court. There are many different types of action the court may take in this situation. For example, the court may enter an order requiring child support to be automatically deducted from the parent’s paycheck to ensure child support is paid going forward. The parent who failed to pay may also be held responsible for the other parent’s attorney’s fees. The parent failing to pay will have the opportunity to show the court that their failure to pay is because they did not have the ability to do so. Anyone unable to comply with their child support obligations should consult with a child support attorney in Sanford before they fall behind to determine their best course of action.

Contact Us Now for Your Free Consultation

Our Sanford child support attorneys at My Florida Family Attorney, Adams & Luka, P.A., understand just how important child support issues can be to a family. Most parents want to ensure their children are properly taken care of, and that the amount of child support they are receiving or paying is fair. Our child support attorneys have the dedication to listen to the unique circumstances of your case, and the experience to know how to use those circumstances to ensure the amount of child support in your case is fair and just. Contact us now for a free consultation 24/7 at 407-872-0303 or 352-357-4084 to get our attorneys started on your case now.