Cape Coral Attorneys Representing Parties in Child Support Matters
All parents have an obligation to care for their children, which in part means they must provide financial support. When parents share custody of a child, one parent will frequently be in a better financial position than the other, and therefore will be required to pay child support. Situations can change, though, and a child support obligation that was once appropriate may need to be adjusted.
If you share custody of your child and you or your co-parent want to seek child support modifications, it is smart to meet with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. The trusted Cape Coral lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can advise you of your rights and help you to seek a result that benefits your child and is fair in consideration of the circumstances. We frequently represent parties in child support cases in Cape Coral and other cities throughout Florida.
Florida’s Child Support Laws
In Florida, parents have a legal duty to support their children financially. In most instances, that obligation endures until the child reaches the age of majority. When parents share custody of a child, either parent can seek child support. Florida employs the income shares method of determining child support, which means that the court will look at the total income of both parents and determine what percentage of their combined income a child would receive if the parents lived together to arrive at an appropriate support obligation. The courts will look at each parents’ wages, salaries, pensions, disability or social security benefits, spousal support, trusts, and bonuses to determine their gross income. The courts will then deduct certain expenses, like health insurance, spousal support and support for other children, and income taxes to arrive at the parents’ net income. The court will then issue a support obligation based on the combined net income, the number of children the parties share, and the statutory guidelines.
Grounds for Requesting Child Support Modifications
Florida law allows either parent affected by a child support order to seek an adjustment of the current terms of the order. Child support modifications will only be granted if the party seeking the modification demonstrates that there has been a permanent and substantial change in material circumstances. For example, if one parent becomes unable to work due to an illness, the child’s needs increase due to a physical or mental condition, there is a modification of the custody arrangement, or either parent experiences a significant increase or deduction in income, in may constitute sufficient grounds to warrant a modification. Generally, a change lasting six months or more will be considered permanent. In some instances, recent changes will be deemed permanent as well. Notably, the change generally must be involuntary. In other words, a parent cannot stop working to avoid a support obligation. A change in circumstances will be deemed substantial if it will result in a support amount changing by at least $50 or 15%, whichever is greater.
Seeking Child Support Modifications
A party seeking a child support modification must file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support and serve the petition on the other party. Both parties must then disclose their financial information to each other and to the court. If the court finds that a modification of the support obligation is justified, it will issue a new order. It is important to note, however, that an existing support obligation will continue until a new order is issued, and the obligor parent must continue to pay the ordered amount until it is adjusted.
Speak to an Experienced Cape Coral Family Law Attorney
Parents have a duty to provide financial support for their children, but the specifics of their obligation may be modified if warranted due to a change in circumstances. If you or your child’s co-parent wish to seek a child support modification, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney. The experienced Cape Coral child supportlawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. possess the skills and resources needed to help parties protect their parental rights, and if we represent you, we will fight to help you seek a just outcome. We frequently represent parties seeking child support modifications in Cape Coral and in Fort Myers and Naples, where our offices are located.
You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at (239) 908-4930 to set up a meeting.
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