Child support is part of a paternity or divorce with children case and is calculated using a specific formula. Contrary to popular belief, both the mother and the father of the child have the fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child and that obligation cannot be waived by the parent. Child support is the right of the child, thus, a parent cannot waive child support because it is not their right to waive.
The formula to calculate of child support includes, among other things, the combined monthly net income of the parents, the amount of overnight time sharing each parent has, and who pays for child expenses such as day care of health insurance. The combined net income of each parent takes into consideration certain allowable deductions that may lower your net income for child support purposes. Things like who pays for the child care expenses and health insurance coverage affects each parents child support obligation. An attorney will also have to determine which of the parent’s financial sources are considered as “income” for child support calculation purposes.
When it comes to income, another myth is that if a parent quits their job they no longer need to pay child support. This is incorrect. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily under employed then not only do they remain obligated to pay child support for their child or children, but we will fight to have income imputed to them based on their earning potential and other factors. However, an involuntary change in income such as an unexpected lay off or substantial decrease in salary, may trigger the legal basis for a downward modification of previously ordered child support. If you have experienced an unexpected or involuntary loss of employment or decrease of income, it is important you contact us immediately to begin the modification paperwork as soon as possible as any retroactive requests for a reduced child support obligation will date back to the day the modification is filed with the court, not the date you financial change occurred .
Failure to pay child support comes with various consequences such as the suspension of the obligors driver’s license, seizing a tax refund, wage deductions, or even a lien on personal property. In addition, if the parent who is the recipient of the child support on behalf of a child receives government assistance (for example: food stamps), then the Florida Department of Revenue may pursue a child support enforcement action against the non-paying parent to relieve the State of Florida from the need to support the child with government benefits due to the lack of financial support. Furthermore, the failure to pay child support may have the non-paying parent subject to the obligation of having to pay current child support as well as retroactive child support, which can go back as far are two years.
If you are seeking to enforce child support payments from the parent of your child, or if you are a parent who is seeking to modify a current child support order or defend against an enforcement proceeding, call our office today to schedule a consultation and case analysis.