How does child support work in Fort Lauderdale?

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If the custodial parent marries someone with considerable financial means, you can try to get a reduction in the child support you owe.


Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Child support is unfortunately one of the main causes of disagreement between divorcing couples. Florida law requires both parents to support their children until they turn 18 or until they graduate from high school. The Sunshine State uses the “income-splitting model,” which means the court will estimate the amount the parents would spend on the children if the family were still intact and living in one household, and then split that amount between the parents by based on their net income. The amount of child support each parent must pay also depends on the custody arrangements. If the parents get joint custody and spend about the same amount of time with the children, the child support will be less than in cases where the non-custodial parents only get the children for a few nights a month.

How is child support calculated in Florida?

Child support is usually dictated by a judge, using Florida child support guidelines, which take into account both parents’ income and the number of children they have. You can find various calculators online to estimate how much child support you will need to pay, but each case is different and there are many factors to consider. If you are going through a divorce, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support attorney to understand what is at stake.

Although they are bound to use the general guidelines, Florida judges can revise the figure up or down based on the particular circumstances of each case. For example, if a child has special medical or educational needs, the judge may decide to impose a higher child support amount than the algorithm dictates.

Woman throwing a happy child in the air; image by Thiago Cerqueira, via Unsplash.com.

Another important reason why you should seek the advice of a competent divorce attorney in Fort Lauderdale is that you need to establish all of your ex’s sources of income. For example, if your ex earns money from tips, rent, dividends, or some perk, those probably won’t be included in the pay stubs. A qualified lawyer can investigate your ex-spouse’s financial situation and bring it to the attention of the judge so he can make an informed decision.

How can you modify child support in Florida?

If you want to reduce the child support you owe, you will have to go through family court. The same is true if the custodial parent wants more money from the non-custodial parent. The process can be lengthy, so divorcing couples should seek the help of an experienced attorney when making arrangements for their children.

If you are asking to change your child support agreement, you will need to show proof of a material change in circumstances. For example, if the non-custodial parent loses their job or has a serious health problem, they may not be able to pay the same level of support originally agreed upon. Likewise, if one parent starts earning significantly more money than when they divorced, the other parent may have the right to request a change in the child support agreement.

How Does Remarriage Affect Child Support?

In itself, the fact that either parent decides to remarry should not affect child support. At least not directly.

For example, if the non-custodial parent marries someone with significant financial means, the step-parent’s income is not a reason for requesting a variation in child support.

If the custodial parent marries someone with considerable financial means, you can try to get a reduction in the child support you owe. However, the judge will not directly take into account the income of the new spouse, but will assess the influence of this additional money on the living expenses of the custodial parent.

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