Divorces can be complicated, especially when children are involved. While determining the amount and type of child support can be one of the most difficult conversations you will have during the divorce process, it is a necessary one. Going into this conversation with an understanding of what child support is and how it works can save you, your spouse, and your children time and legal trouble.
Is Child Support Required?
Florida law obligates parents to support their children, holding that a child has a legal right to a parent’s financial support. This means that, when parents divorce, providing child support is mandatory. Because the right to be supported is the child’s, neither the custodial nor noncustodial parent can waive this obligation. When parents do not follow the law and do not pay child support, the Florida Department of Revenue will step in to provide the noncontributing parent with late notices and will send income tax withholding notices to employers or other sources of income to ensure that the child support is accounted for. In extreme circumstances where these enforcement mechanisms have no effect upon the noncontributing spouse, a driver’s license suspension may be implemented upon the nonpaying spouse.
How Is the Amount of Child Support Determined?
Courts take a variety of factors into consideration when determining how much child support is required. Generally, courts first look at how much income the contributing spouse is earning, and make adjustments for child care expenses, health insurance expenses, and how many overnights a child spends with either parent. Courts may also consider factors like standard of living when calculating this amount.
What Does Child Support Pay For?
Child support generally provides for a child’s basic needs. This includes food, shelter, and clothing, and also includes education and sports activities the child is involved with. It can also cover the child’s travel and even their “just-for-fun” expenses. Child support also covers health insurance for the child.
What Should Spouses Be Prepared to Provide When Determining Child Support?
Spouses should be prepared to completely divulge all of their financial assets and information. This includes tax returns, paychecks, and financial records detailing trusts and other income. While most people consider this to be highly personal information, it is necessary that both parties provide an honest accounting of their financial means. Otherwise, the court is within its rights to make its own determination of how much money a supporting spouse needs to pay. Courts will look at the supporting spouse’s work history to estimate how much support the spouse will pay.
What Do I Do if My Spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support?
If your spouse refuses to pay child support, your first step should be contacting an experienced family law attorney. Your child has a right to be supported by their parent, and this right does not terminate because of a divorce. The attorneys at Blair H. Chan III, PLLC, have experience securing child support payments from nonpaying spouses, and are ready to fight for you and your family. Missing child support can have a significant impact upon you and your children, so do not let this problem go unchecked. Contact the experienced attorneys at Blair H. Chan III, PLLC, today.