Michael N. Bress, Esq.
Child support is the financial support a non-custodial parent owes to a child to provide for the child’s needs. Parents are legally responsible to support their children whether they are married, divorced, or have never been married. The right to child support belongs to the child and cannot be waved, for example in a marital settlement agreement. Although children are entitled to child support from both parents, generally the parent who lives with the child is the parent who receives the support.
A child support obligation usually ends when the child reaches eighteen, the age of majority, gets married, is emancipated, joins the armed forces, or dies. The obligation to pay child support, however, may continue past the age of minority if the child is still in high school or has a mental or physical disability that prevents the child from self-support.
Federal law mandates that child support be determined according to child support guidelines. Florida’s Child Support Guidelines contain a complicated numerical criteria involving worksheets, schedules, and forms that take into account the parent’s incomes, the number of children, the allocation of timesharing, healthcare costs, expenses for day care and after-school care, and whether a child has special needs. Once applied, the formula arrives at a presumptive amount of child support.
The court has discretion to deviate from the presumptive amount of child support by as much as five percent based on the consideration of various factors, such as:
The child’s needs;
The age of the child;
The child’s standard of living; and
The financial situation of the parents
In some cases, the court can deviate from the guidelines by more than five percent based on a showing that the presumptive amount is inappropriate or unjust.
If a parent who is obligated to pay child support refuses to pay, the court can hold the non-compliant parent in contempt of court, and may enforce the obligation through methods such as withholding income from the parent’s paycheck, intercepting their tax refunds, garnishing their financial accounts, and placing liens on their real or personal property.
If you need legal assistance in a Divorce and/or Child Support matter, you can contact Bress Law Firm, PLLC at (954) 336-8049, or by email at Michael@BressLaw.Com. Initial consultations are free and confidential. We are a Family Law Practice located in Aventura, Florida, but serve clients throughout Miami-Dade and Broward. By appointment only.
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