Child support is an amount of money that one parent is obligated to pay the other after a separation either in a divorce or a paternity action. The money is used to pay for the cost of the expenses relating to the children. This includes basic living expenses, clothing, food, and extra items that we all know kids ask for on a regular basis. The amount of money that has to be paid out for child support will depend on many factors.
In Florida, the calculations are readily available and easy to comprehend through the Florida Supreme Court’s Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. Sometimes the Florida Department of Revenue will represent a party who is seeking child support assistance.
Generally, the parent who has the children the majority of the time will be receiving the child support payments. Even if the parties have equal time-sharing (custody), Florida has a “gross up” method of calculation that still may require one party to pay another. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the issue of child support.
There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the issue of child support though. It seems to be one of those bitter issues that continues to affect the relationship of the adults long after the marriage has ended.
Some individuals refuse to pay the court ordered child support. They don’t think their ex-spouse uses it for what it was intended for. They also do it as a control issue that affects their ex-spouse. They want to make it financially difficult for them to get by. This is often a form of retaliation for getting a divorce.
Others simply can’t afford to pay the child support for one reason or another. They may have too many other bills. The cost of paying for all the living expenses for yourself can be very hard. When you have a huge amount of child support to pay on top of it, you may find it almost impossible to make ends meet.
Changes in a person’s finances such as changing jobs, getting laid off, medical problems may warrant a modification of the child support award. There are several enforcement options for unpaid child support as well including loss of driver’s license, garnishment of wages or tax returns, and other avenues.
For example a parent may lose their right to drive, to hunt, or to obtain an income tax refund if they owe child support. This is because so many people are relying on public assistance due to not getting the amount of child support that is owed to them. For many divorced people, child support can be a financial burden.
As a result they may try to get the courts to change things in their favor. For example they may ask for more parenting time so that they can pay less in child support. There are those that don’t get to see their children very often as it is. So they choose to terminate their parental rights as part of a deal with the other parent. They agree not to have any say in their children’s lives in exchange for not having to pay any child support. This can leave children feeling like they weren’t wanted as they don’t see the financial severity of the issue.
Consulting a Family Law attorney is very important if you want to establish, modify, or enforce child support orders. While Florida has attempted to make the child support process simple, it still contains many different issues that only a Family Law attorney is trained to handle.