Even in Winter Park, Florida where proximity to Disneyworld and many other natural and cultural attractions draw residents and visitors alike, child support issues cause divorced individuals to contact their lawyers. For many, the child support attorneys they turn to are part of the Orlando Family Team. Well-respected for our strong legal skills and depended on for our compassionate concern, we are here when you need us. Contact us for a confidential consultation to discuss your options.

Whether you require our representation to negotiate original child custody arrangements, modify existing ones, settle new or ongoing child custody disputes, or enforce the terms of your divorce agreement, you can depend on us to provide prompt and effective advocacy for you and your child. Whether or not you were ever married to your child’s other parent, Florida law holds both parents responsible for supporting their child.

Although the obligation of both parents to provide financial support is generally accepted,  disputes over child support are commonplace. To ensure that your children have the funds they need to grow and thrive, it is best to work with an experienced Winter Park child support attorney. By the same token, if you are the payor, you need a savvy child support lawyer to protect your interests and make sure that you have enough money to support yourself after paying child support.

What Child Support Pays for in Winter Park

Child support helps to pay the costs of raising a child, including:

  • Living expenses (e.g. housing, clothing, food)
  • Healthcare expenses/health insurance  
  • Educational expenses
  • Childcare expenses
  • Special needs care (when necessary)

How Child Support Is Calculated in Florida

In Florida, child support is based on the net incomes of both parents that paid to support their children when they were still married. Once this amount is established, it is divided between the parents based on their incomes — a method known as the “income shares model.” 

Typically, if sole custody is in place, the noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent who has far higher costs for caring for the child. However, this also depends on which parent has the higher income. If the parents have joint custody and happen to have identical annual incomes, no child support may be required. Child support is paid until the child reaches 18 years of age or 19 if the child requires the extra year to complete high school and may go on longer if a child has special needs.

Determining Income in  Winter Park

Any legal payment is considered income by the state of Florida, including:

  • Wages or salary
  • Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, and tips
  • Workers’ compensation benefits and settlements
  • Business income from self-employment, partnerships, and closely held corporations
  • Social Security and disability benefits, including VA disability
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Reimbursed expenses 
  • Dividends and interest on savings or investments
  • Compensation for work as an independent contractor 
  • Payments from federal or local government
  • Pension, retirement, and annuity payments
  • Rental Income from owned properties
  • Royalties, trusts, and estates
  • Spousal support from a previous marriage

Despite these specific guidelines used to determine income, child support can be a source of dispute. A recipient of child support may feel cheated out of necessary funds; a payor may think that after paying the child support they are left with insufficient funds to live on. 

Disputes may also arise about the actual income of either party and whether there are hidden resources or money is being misspent. At such times, having a child support attorney to advocate for you is invaluable.

Child Support Modifications

After the divorce agreement has taken effect, circumstances may change, requiring child support modifications. Once again, this is a time that having the services of a capable lawyer can make all the difference. Florida law recognizes that child support arrangements may be altered if:

  1. Three years have passed since the order was originally issued and/or 
  2. There has been a substantial change in one parent’s circumstances. 

The courts recognize the following as valid reasons for child support modification:

  • The paying parent has involuntarily become unemployed
  • There is a significant change in the paying parent’s income 

(15% or $50 monthly, whichever is greater)

  • Either parent has become permanently disabled
  • The child’s medical needs have increased

Whether you are seeking child support modification or disputing that such a change is appropriate, Orlando Family Team attorneys can help. Once you become our clients, we are fully committed to protecting your best interests through adept negotiations or representation in court. 

Enforcing Child Support in Winter Park

Parental child support is an absolute requirement in the state of Florida and our attorneys are available to help you navigate enforcement issues. As soon as a parent is late with a child support payment, it is past due. If the paying parent becomes delinquent, the Department of Revenue (DOR) will step in. Delinquency is defined as:

  • Being four months past due
  • Owing $2500 or more
  • Having already been convicted of nonpayment
  • Having attempted to leave the state to avoid payments 

Florida has a two-year limitation on retroactive child support payments so you cannot seek back payments to the child’s birthdate unless the child is less than two years old. Delinquent parents will face the following sequential steps necessary to enforce child support:

  • DOR will have the delinquent parent’s income withheld by their employer and will then send funds to the parent owed child support
  • The payors’ driver’s license will be suspended
  • The DOR will intercept federal tax refunds as payment of child support
  • The DOR will take legal action in the circuit court

It is possible that the delinquent parent will be incarcerated, but only if it can be proven that they are capable of paying the amount owed. Otherwise, such a step would be counterproductive since incarceration prevents the delinquent parent from getting a job.

Contact Our Experienced  Winter Park Child Support Attorneys Now

Whatever challenges you are facing regarding child support, Orlando Family Team is ready and able to defend your rights. We are caring people as well as knowledgeable lawyers and will treat you with concern as well as respect. Contact us today so we can begin working to make you and your family secure.