Child Support & Timesharingosm2021-10-01T13:09:51-04:00
“If you can control your behavior when everything around you is out of control, you can model for your children a valuable lesson in patience and understanding…and snatch an opportunity to shape character.”
— Jane Clayson Johnson
CHILD SUPPORT / FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN
Child Support in Florida is pursuant to statutory guidelines that consider a parent’s ability to pay and the amount of time each parent spends with the child(ren). However, several things can modify child support calculations including credit or deductions and judicial discretion. It is imperative to be well-versed with the applicable statute, and it is imperative to know how to determine the validity of financial affidavits. The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. has the experience, resources, and skill-set necessary. Essentially, ongoing child support is determined by the income of each parent and the overnight schedule each parent has with the child(ren). The emphasis on overnight visitation is a key detail in Florida’s formula (set by Florida’s legislature) for child support because it means that if a parent solely spends time with a child during the day, that time may or may not be factored into the calculations. Florida’s child support worksheet and child support guidelines also consider net income (your wage after tax deductions) the number of minor children, and the children’s age. Florida’s child support worksheet and child support guidelines also offer credits and deductions determined by a parent’s financial contributions to child related costs (for example, child care costs and health insurance premiums). Additionally, Florida law allows a Judge to deviate (upward or downward) from the child support guideline amount; either parent or party may also motion (request) for a deviation (upward or downward) from the child support guideline amount. If a parent claims that the other parent has failed to financially support the child(ren), he or she can collect retroactive (prior unpaid) child support. When child support is disputed, it is not uncommon for the non-custodial parent (the parent who spends less time with the child(ren) / does not live with the child(ren)) to delay and falsify financial disclosure. It is crucial that all sources of income are known and calculated. Florida law requires that parents financially support their child(ren) until the age of majority (18 years old), or until the child(ren) graduates high school (some children graduate high school a few months after turning 18).
Additionally, Florida law provides extended child support for children with special needs who require continuous financial support. The Court can enter an Income Withholding Order to ensure compliance with child support obligations; an Income Withholding Order automatically withdraws the monthly child support amount from the payor’s paycheck. The party’s may also request that a Delayed Income Withholding Order be entered instead, which delays the automatic withdrawal of any child support until the obligee (the parent receiving the child support) notifies the Department of Revenue that the obligor (the parent ordered to pay child support) is delinquent on any child support payment. Child support delinquency can cause, among other things, for the obligor’s driver’s license to be suspended. A parent delinquent on their child support obligations may also be arrested. If a parent files or filed a Child Support case through the State Attorney’s Office (separate from a family case), the Department of Revenue will intervene in the family case.
A child support order may also be modified. Florida law requires a substantial change in circumstances to modify a child support obligation. Florida law provides substantial changes that may warrant a modification: a significant decrease or increase in income; suffering a disability; relocating; and becoming unemployed. An amicable and collaborative approach can be the most cost-effective approach in child support disputes. Attorney Osman Lopez has an exceptional track record of negotiating, mediating, and settling child support issues before trial or prolonged litigation. However, if collaboration is not feasible, Attorney Osman Lopez will aggressively litigate your matter in court. Call (305) 744-5229 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation.
TIMESHARING / CUSTODY / VISITATION
The state of Florida favors and encourages shared parental responsibility and equal timesharing between divorcing or separating parents. The policy in Florida is to keep child-parent relationships intact post-divorce or separation. Florida also advocates for both parents to be equally involved in their child(ren)’s lives post-divorce or separation. Under this policy, Florida courts embolden parents to arrange their own timesharing / visitation schedules without judicial intervention (where a judge has to decide the issues for them). Parents are ordered to attend mediation and draft a parenting plan settling all issues like visitations, parental responsibility, education, and medical expenses. Parents may also add personal considerations like religious upbringing, travel, and extracurricular activities.
Pursuant to Florida law, the Court will assess whether a parent plan is comprehensive and detailed so as to avoid ambiguity and future litigation. The Court checks that a proposed parenting plan clearly outlines how many overnights each parent will have with each child; how school and holidays breaks will be divided between the parents; how the parents will communicate regarding the children; how the children will be exchanged (where pick up and drop offs will be and at what time); which parent’s address will be used for school zone designations; how the children will communicate with a parent while in the care of the other; which parents will claim the children on their income tax return or if the parents will alternate years; etc. Historically, acute specificity in parenting plans is in the best interest of the children. Enforcement proceedings are available in the event that a party fails to comply with a timesharing agreement or parenting plan. Modification proceedings are also available if a party wants to change a timesharing agreement or parenting plan. Relocation proceedings are available if a party wants to change the timesharing agreement or parenting plan because they want to move away with the child(ren).
An amicable and collaborative approach can be the most cost-effective approach in timesharing / custodial disputes. Attorney Osman Lopez has an exceptional track record of negotiating, mediating, and settling timesharing / custodial issues before trial or prolonged litigation.
However, if collaboration is not feasible, Attorney Osman Lopez will aggressively litigate your matter in court. The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. is also experienced with prosecuting or defending against post-judgment enforcement and modification petitions, as well as relocation petitions. Call (305) 744-5229 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation.