Fort Lauderdale Child Support Lawyers
Curtis R. Cowan – Fort Lauderdale Family Law Attorney
Board Certified Family Law Attorney Curtis R. Cowan handles family law matters including marriage dissolution, parenting plans, custody, child support, alimony, asset division, modifications, and enforcements. For representation, contact the firm in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. 954-953-2575/ https://www.curtcowanlaw.com
Fort Lauderdale Divorce Attorney
Initial Determination and Deviations in Florida Child Support
Aside from continuing to provide love and regular attention, parents have no higher obligation than to provide financially for their children after the divorce. Child support is more important than any other debt or financial obligation. What level of support will be required? A court will determine the amount, and an attorney can help assure that the determination is fair under the law.
Curtis R. Cowan, P.A. represents divorcing men and women throughout Broward County. Contact our Fort Lauderdale office at (954) 953-2575 to discuss your child support case. Curtis R. Cowan is a Board-Certified marital and family law lawyer practicing in Florida with over 20 years experience.
Determining Child Support
Child support is the most predictable aspect of divorce or paternity once you have the basis information. The law requires the judge and the parties to follow statutory child support guidelines that are very specific in determining the amount of child support based primarily on the respective incomes of each parent and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent. The amount of child support the one parent pays the other parent is determined after custody, property division, and alimony (if any) are decided. Florida child support is generally based on a ratio of the net incomes of the parents — the more you make relative to the other parent, the higher percentage of the support you pay. Here is the information necessary to determine child support:
- Gross Income of Father (deducting alimony paid or adding alimony received, if any)
- Gross Income of Mother (adding alimony received or deducting alimony paid, if any)
- Tax filing status of each and who gets dependent deduction.
- Mandatory Union Dues and Mandatory Retirement Contributions (rare) of Father, if any
- Mandatory Union Dues and Mandatory Retirement Contributions (rare) of Mother, if any
- Court Ordered Support Actually Being Paid by either Mother or Father to Prior Spouse or Children
- Health Insurance for Just Father**
- Health Insurance for Just Mother**
- Health Insurance for Just Children and who pays**
- Child Care Expenses for Children and who pays***
- Number of Timesharing Overnights for Each Parent
** Health Insurance cannot be based on the family plan. For example, if one parent pays for a family plan that includes the other parent and children, the parent must go to the provider and determine how much insurance would cost for just he/she and how much the family plan will cost for just he/she and the children without the other parent. For example, father currently pays $700 per month for family plan that includes the other spouse and children. However, the if the cost of it were $300.00 for only him and if the cost for him and just the children would be $500.00, then the amount for him is $300.00 and the amount for the children is $200.00.
*** Child care costs must be incurred due to employment, job search, or education calculated to result in employment or to enhance income of current employment and is limited to the amount required to provide quality care from a licensed source.
From that baseline, a judge can deviate up or down by 5 percent without any findings or more than 5 percent after making specific findings justifying the deviation. For example, additional support may be awarded for private school tuition (if the child already attends) or if your child has a medical condition. If the paying parent has a very high income and the amount of support greatly exceeds the child’s needs, the court may appoint a guardian to help manage the child’s financial interests (often through a trust fund).
Another limiting factor is custody and timesharing. If the non-primary parent has at least 20 percent of the overnights, child support is calculated at a lower ratio. However, parents who litigate for the 20% overnight requirement to obtain a lower child support amount will discover that they really do not save money.
Your Attorney’s Role — Determining Income and Protecting Your Rights
You may need a lawyer to make sure that child support is fairly determined. The paying parent may be self-employed or own a business and not be reporting all income. I use all means necessary, including subpoena of bank records, to verify actual income. If either parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed, the court can impute income and order child support accordingly (forcing the parent to get a real job).
If your financial circumstances have changed, either party can request a child support modification hearing. If the other parent is not paying court-ordered support, we can assist you in enforcement actions.
Call Today at (954) 953-2575
For experienced representation and an estimate of the child support you would pay or receive under Florida law, contact Curtis R. Cowan, P.A. to schedule an appointment. We represent divorcing parents or never-married parents in all child support and custody proceedings.