By definition child support is an ongoing regular payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of the children following the end of a marriage or other relationship. Its purpose is to provide for the needs of the children with respect to food, shelter, and clothing; and to allow the children to share any wealth, fortune, or lifestyle of the parents. The State of Florida requires that minor children are required to be financially supported until they turn 18 years of age (or 19 years of age if in high school and have expectation of graduating before turning 19 years of age), they marry, they join the Armed Forces, they become emancipated, or they pass away.
Both parents are legally and morally responsible for providing financial support for their children. Laura Callahan, P.A., has the knowledge and experience necessary to help resolve your child support issues.
Uniform Child Support Guidelines
In the State of Florida child support is determined by following the Uniform Child Support Guidelines governed by Florida Statute 61.30. A statutory formula is used to calculate the amount of child support each parent will contribute proportionate to each parent’s income. Factors used in the calculation include but are not limited to each parent’s net income, parenting time, and insurance and childcare costs. When extraordinary circumstances exist the Court may deviate from the guideline child support amount. This may occur when children have special needs, when there are atypical expenses for health care or education, when the children have independent income, or when one or both parents have income or expense changes due to seasonal income variations.
Laura Callahan, P.A., represents both payers of child support and payees. If you are seeking child support, Laura Callahan P.A., will pursue what your children are entitled to financially. If you are being asked to pay child support, Laura Callahan, P.A., will seek to ensure that an appropriate amount of child support is ordered, and will pursue credit for other monies paid on behalf of the children. Laura Callahan, P.A., will guide you through the process of determining child support by obtaining true financial information from each party as well as true expenses for the children.
Each case is unique and there are never guarantees regarding the outcome. It is critical to consult with an experienced family law attorney to protect yours and your children’s rights. Laura Callahan, P.A., will evaluate your situation, explain your legal rights and obligations, and provide the legal assistance you need to pursue this journey.
Alimony and Other Support
Alimony refers to a person’s legal obligation to provide financial support to his or her spouse before or after a marital separation or divorce. Florida law requires that alimony be decided before child support is decided.
In the State of Florida Courts can award the following types of alimony in a dissolution of marriage action:
- Temporary: Support given to one spouse until the final disposition of the case;
- Bridge-the-Gap: Short-term support given to allow one spouse to make a transition from married to single life. It may be used to find employment or housing and cannot be given for more than two years.
- Rehabilitative: Short-term support given to allow one spouse to reenter a career or to get further training or education that will allow him or her to be self-supporting. The requesting party must present a specific plan to the Court;
- Lump-Sum: Support that is usually a one-time payment. It may consist of money, property, or any other item of value;
- Durational: May be awarded when permanent alimony is inappropriate. The support cannot be given for a time that exceeds the length of the marriage.
- Permanent Periodic: Support given to one spouse of a long-term marriage. It is paid on a monthly basis until the receiving spouse remarries or until the death of either spouse. It can be either modifiable or non-modifiable.
The initial inquiry is whether there is a need and ability to pay alimony. When making decisions about the type and amount of alimony to award, Florida Courts consider many statutory factors including but not limited to:
- The duration of the marriage. Marriages of less than seven years are considered short term. Marriages of between seven and 17 years are considered moderate term. Marriages of over 17 years are considered long term;
- The marital standard of living enjoyed by both parties;
- The age, physical health, and emotional health of each party;
- The financial resources and assets of each party;
- The marital assets and liabilities of both parties;
- The contributions made by each party to the marriage. Theses may include, but are not limited to child care, homemaking services, and the education or career building of one party;
- The time needed for one or the other party to get education or training that will lead to gainful employment;
- Every source of income available to each party;
- Tax consequences;
- Marital fault. While the State of Florida grants no-fault divorces, marital misconduct may impact alimony awards including the intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or within 2 years prior to the filing; and
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
In addition, the Court may order the paying spouse to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy to secure alimony to be used in the event of death before the end of the ordered alimony period.
Alimony and Child Support Unconnected with Dissolution
Florida law also allows a spouse to pursue legal action against their spouse for alimony or child support if that spouse is failing to provide maintenance or child support for their spouse or child without dissolving your marriage.
Each case is unique and there are never guarantees regarding the outcome. It is critical to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Laura Callahan, P.A., will assist you in navigating your alimony and support issues, evaluate your situation, and explain your options.
Laura Callahan, P.A., provides the legal assistance you need to protect yours and your children’s financial rights.