Child support is every child’s right in Florida and every parent’s responsibility regardless of their marital status. This court-ordered obligation is a significant factor in divorce and paternity cases. Many times, the parents of a child have a tumultuous relationship or no relationship at all. Sparrow Law Office, P.A., is an experienced and dedicated family law practice. Attorney Jimmie Sparrow understands the legal issues and family dynamics involved in child support matters. He represents parents in matters of mediation, litigation, modification, and enforcement of child support.
Florida Child Support Guidelines
Florida utilizes an Income Shares Model for calculating child support payments. It is a formula based on the parents’ incomes and the number of overnight visits a child has with the non-custodial parent. Expenses covered by child support payments are basic needs such as housing, clothing, and food. It includes daycare costs, medical care, educational expenses, activities, and additional expenses to meet the child’s needs.
Enforcement of Child Support
Failure to pay child support has very harsh consequences and is governed by the Florida Department of Revenue. Those that are non-compliant with court-ordered child support payments can be found in contempt of court, and penalties may involve jail time. Non-payment of child support for four consecutive months or having more than $2,500 past due constitutes a felony charge. Additional sanctions can include garnishment of wages, suspension of a driver’s or professional license, passport suspension, judgments against the non-custodial parent’s assets, and more. If non-payment is due to an unavoidable change of circumstances, it is recommended that legal actions be initiated immediately for a modification.
Modifications of Child Support
Child support can be modified under Florida child support law when there is a permanent, substantial, and involuntary lifestyle change for either parent or the child. Examples are the relocation of a parent more than 50 miles away from the child’s primary residence for more than 60 days, resulting in a reduction in the number of overnight visits. Or an adjustment in a parent’s income, an injury or illness that causes permanent disability, or a change in the needs and costs of raising the child. Either parent can request a modification by filing a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support. Generally, court-ordered modifications do not affect payments in arrears, so it is recommended that a parent file for a modification as soon as a significant change occurs.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
One objective of this federally mandated legislation is to allow Florida courts to have jurisdiction over out-of-state parents regarding child support payments. Florida’s child support laws apply in enforcement and modification proceedings, even when a parent has moved across state lines. Some of the various interstate mechanisms for enforcement include locating the offending parent, procedures to establish paternity, garnishment of wages, judgments against assets, and more.
At Sparrow Law Office, P.A., we analyze all the Issues of a Case to Best Represent our Clients.
We understand the complexities and nuances of Florida child support laws. Through mediation or litigation services, we can aggressively advocate for fair child support arrangements in the best interests of your child. We work diligently to create practical, creative, and workable solutions for our clients to fulfill child support obligations.
Contact Sparrow Law Office, P.A., at 352-421-9261 to discuss child support orders, modifications, and enforcement to meet the needs of your child. We represent clients in Marion, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Alachua Counties, Florida.