Florida Child Support Guidelines and Calculator

Florida Child Support Guidelines and Calculator

A child support order tells the parents what they must do to support their children. Enforcing child support orders means getting the parent to do what the order says.

The amount of child support is based on guidelines defined in Florida law. Child support guidelines are standards used to figure out the support needed for a child and the amount a parent has to pay. Guidelines help make sure support amounts are fair. Every state has guidelines, but they may be different in each state.

These guidelines are used the first time child support is ordered and every time the child support amount changes. They are also used to review the order to see if the support amount should be changed.

Child support guidelines consider:

  • The income of both parents
  • The child’s health care and child care costs
  • The standard needs for the child. A list of support amounts based on the child’s age and net income of the parents is in the Florida law – standard needs table.

The court or agency establishing support must use these guidelines to decide the amount of child support that will go in a Florida support order. In special circumstances, support amounts can be higher or lower than the guideline amounts. For example, a judge may consider a child’s high medical expenses as a reason to change the support amount. In most cases, judges have to give written reasons why support amounts are different from guideline amounts.

You can get an estimate of child support amounts by using the Florida Child Support Calculator. The calculator will take the information you put in and give you an estimate of your child’s support amount. This estimate is for informational purposes only. A court or agency may look at factors that are not included in your estimate.

A Cautionary Tale: Divorce Leads to High Emotions

A Cautionary Tale: Divorce Leads to High Emotions

Heightened Emotions during a divorce can lead to Abuse

All too often when clients are first dealing with the throes of divorce or separation, the emotions involved run high. There is an old adage that says that criminal lawyers see people at their best and divorce lawyers see people at their worst.

Sometimes, however, emotions can run too high and things can turn violent.  Attorneys and judges work very hard to keep this from happening. That said, in April of 2011, Catie Scott-Gonzalez was brutally beaten by her husband, Paul Gonzalez, after a judge ordered that he pay child support. According to an ABC News report, Gonzalez told the judge he was going to take his children and nobody was going to see them again. When Catie looked to see the judge’s response, Gonzalez came after her from behind and started strangling her with his left hand and started hitting her on her face with his right hand. The first blow to her head knocked her unconscious. Bailiffs had to taser Gonzalez twice to subdue him.  Catie spent three days in the hospital with a broken nose, fractured cheekbone and broken jaw. She was so badly beaten that her children, Isabella, 2, and Nathaniel, 3, didn’t recognize their mother.  This incident took place in the judge’s chambers.

Although child custody, child support, and divorce are difficult issues which can and do put a great deal of stress on both the individual spouses and the families, no person has the right to let stress turn into violence or to hurt another person physically (or emotionally or mentally for  that matter).  The point is that in the above situation, because of his poor choices, Gonzalez will now face serious criminal charges, jeopardizing his parenting time and his children will be without child support while he serves time in jail.

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

Why does anyone agree to premarital agreements in Florida?

Why does anyone agree to premarital agreements in Florida?

Reasons for having Florida Premarital Agreements  (the Pre-nup)

People aiming to marry use premarital agreements for a variety of reasons, a few of which may very well be interrelated. Premarital agreements help clarify the parties’ expectations and rights into the future. The agreements may avoid concerns or fears about how a Florida divorce court might divide property or spousal support in the event the union fails.

Individuals who want a future partner to sign a premarital agreement often has something they hope to secure, usually money. One partner probably wants to avoid the risk of a serious decrease in assets, earnings, or a family business in the instance of a divorce.

People marrying for the second or third time may also want to make sure certain assets or personal belongings are passed on to the children or grandchildren of prior marriages, rather than to a current spouse.

The less prosperous spouse generally is giving something up by signing a premarital agreement (or prenuptial agreement). That spouse (along with the other spouse) is agreeing to have her or his property rights determined by the agreement rather than by the standard rules of law that a court would apply on divorce or death. Courts have rules for dividing property when a couple divorces. In Florida, courts divide property as the court considers fair, and the result is less predictable. The split might be fifty-fifty or something different.

If one spouse dies, courts normally follow the decedents’  will, but under state laws the surviving spouse usually is eligible for one-third to one-half of the estate regardless of what the deceased spouse’s will says. If the couple have signed a legitimate premarital agreement, however, that agreement will supersede the typical laws for dividing property and income upon death. Oftentimes, the less wealthy spouse will receive less under the premarital agreement than he or she would receive under the usual laws of divorce or wills.

If the less wealthy spouse will get less under the agreement than under the general laws of divorce and death, why does the person opt to sign the agreement?  The answer to that question varies according to the person.

A lot of people would rather control their fiscal relationship rather than to leave it to state regulation. They might wish to avoid uncertainty about what a court might decide if the marriage ends in divorce. For some people, the solution might be “love conquers all”–the less wealthy person might just wish to marry the other person and not care much about the financial details. For others, the agreement may provide ample security, even if it’s not necessarily as generous as a judge may be. Still others might not like the agreement, but they’re prepared to take their chances and hope the partnership and the financial arrangements work out for the best.

 

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

If I move before the divorce is final, what can I take?

If I move before the divorce is final, what can I take?

What can you take when separating?

If you decide to move out before your divorce is final and you do not have a Marital Settlement Agreement in place, try to come up with an agreement with your spouse as to who is going to take what.  If that is not possible, literally make a list of all the property in your marital home.

When making the list put everything on there… even the dresser that your Uncle Bobby’s sister’s cousin made you for your high school graduation… meaning put non-marital or pre-marital items on there (things you bought or got as a gift before you got married).  Note on the list that those items are non or pre-marital.   For the remaining items that are marital (meaning you and your spouse purchased them or received them as gifts during your marriage), use eBay, craigslist, the Flier, and the newspaper to determine the fair market value of the property and put that on your list.  Then divide up the property as close to 50/50 as possible.

Conventionally speaking, this means if you have a master bedroom set and a guest bedroom set, you take one and you leave one.  If you have a dining room set and a kitchenette set, you take one you leave one.  If you have two smaller television sets and one big set, you take either the two smaller ones or the one big set.  The idea is that you don’t strip the house bare on your way out, because if you don’t have an agreement and you take it all, you could be placing yourself in a bad position in front of the court and the judge hearing your case may not find your method of emptying out the house to be the right way to do it.

Every case is different of course, but as a rule of thumb, take half (and not just the nice half but half of all of the good, the bad, and the ugly).  Always speak to your lawyer before you make a move of this sorts in order to determine what the best course of action is for you in your individual case.

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

Florida Divorce Law: Property Division

Florida Divorce Law: Property Division

Division Of Assets in Divorce, Florida

One of the most difficult and complex areas of divorce is the division of marital assets and liabilities (debts). Marital property may include cars, houses, retirement benefits (pensions), business interests, cash, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, personal property, and other things of value. Liabilities include mortgages, car loans, credit card accounts, and other debts. Generally, any asset or liability acquired during the marriage is considered marital and subject to distribution. The parties may also have assets or liabilities that are considered non-marital and should be awarded to only one party.

Florida statutes and case law provides for an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. In essence, the marital property should be divided fairly or equitably (not necessarily equally) between the parties regardless of how the title is held. This is based on a long list of statutory factors.

Equitable distribution is done first before alimony is considered.

There is no fixed way to determine how you or the court should divide the property or debts. Factors to be considered by the court include the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, the duration of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse. If you and your spouse can agree, and if your agreement is reasonable, it will be approved by the court. If you cannot agree, the court will divide the assets and liabilities after a trial.

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

Florida Divorce Law: Child Support

Florida Divorce Law: Child Support

FLORIDA CHILD SUPPORT

You and your spouse each have a responsibility to sup­port your children in accordance with their needs and your financial abilities. Child support may be by direct payment or by indirect benefits, such as mortgage payments, insurance, or payment of medical and dental expenses. Ordinarily the obligation to support your child ends when that child reaches age 18, marries, is emancipated, joins the armed forces, or dies.

Some of the issues concerning child support which must be considered include: (a) the amount of support; (b) the method of payment; (c) ways to assure payments are made; (d) when child support may be increased or de­creased; and (e) who claims the dependency deduction for tax purposes. Other questions may need to be answered,depending on the circumstances of your case. Guidelines for the amount of support apply to all cases and are based on the income of the parents and the number of children with adjustments for substantial overnight contact.

If you have a problem getting support payments from your spouse or former spouse, or the time-sharing plan is not being followed, you should bring this matter to the attention of the court. It is not legal to withhold visitation or child support payments because either parent fails to pay court ordered child support or violates the time-sharing schedule in the parenting plan.

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

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