Raising a child is expensive, and few people can afford to do it alone. Further, even if a parent can bear the costs of raising a child independently, both parents have an obligation to provide a child with financial support. Thus, under Florida law, parents can seek monetary payments from their child's co-parent to help a child receive the funds needed to provide food, shelter, and other necessities. If you share custody of a child and you or your child's other parent intend to seek financial support via the courts, it is prudent to speak to an attorney to discuss your case. The knowledgeable Cape Coral child support attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can inform you of your options and help you strive for the best outcome possible under the circumstances. We regularly assist parents in child support matters in Cape Coral and other cities throughout Florida.Florida's Child Support Laws
Under Florida law, parents must provide monetary support for their children. Child support is not only meant to provide a child with food, shelter, and clothing but also with health care and educational expenses. Generally, child support obligations will continue until a child reaches the age of eighteen but, in some cases, the court may extend an obligation beyond that date. Notably, either parent can seek support, and the courts do not consider a parent’s gender in determining if they should grant support.
No set amount is considered adequate support. Instead, the courts will turn to the Florida child support guidelines to determine an appropriate award. The guidelines employ what is known as an income shares model to calculate an obligation, which means that the court will evaluate the parents' combined income and then assess what portion of that income a child would receive if the parents lived in the same household. Child support lawyers in Cape Coral can help parents with this step of determining their obligations.
In determining the parents' income, the court will look at affidavits submitted by the parties, outlining their expenses and earnings. Income includes salaries, wages, bonuses, disability and Social Security benefits, rental income, trusts, and spousal support. The courts can also impute income to people if they receive financial support from another person such as a parent or romantic partner. After the court establishes a parent's gross income, it will deduct expenses for certain things such as spousal support, income taxes, court-ordered child support for other children, and health insurance payments. The court will then use the parents' combined net income in combination with the number of children involved to determine the support obligation. While the guidelines should be used to calculate support, in some cases the court may deviate from the guidelines.Modifying and Enforcing a Child Support Order
In many instances, what the court determines to be a suitable support amount will no longer be ideal as the child's needs or the parents' financial statuses change. Thus, either party can retain a child support attorney in Cape Coral to seek a change of an existing order if it is warranted. A party seeking a modification generally must show that there has been a significant and lasting change in a material circumstance. In other words, the party must show that the change is not temporary and that it affects one of the elements used in determining the initial order, such as the income, debts, or assets of either parent, the division of custody, or the child's needs. If a parent refuses to pay support despite an order, the court may hold the parent in contempt. It is important to note, however, that the party entitled to receive support cannot withhold access to the child from the other parent due to the lack of support.Meet With a Trusted Child Support Attorney
Children have the right to receive financial support from both parents, but legal action must be taken to obtain adequate funds in many cases. If you or the co-parent of your child intend to file an action seeking support, it is essential to understand your rights and obligations. The trusted Cape Coral child support lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are proficient at helping parties fight to protect their interests in family law cases, and if you hire us, we will work diligently to help you pursue your desired outcome. We regularly assist people in family law cases in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Naples, where our offices are located. You can contact us to set up a meeting by calling us at 855-409-3419 or using our online form.