Law Offices Of Andrew Merlo, P.A.


(561) 893-9993

Law Offices Of Andrew Merlo, P.A.

The parent who earns more money than the other parent will generally be the payor of child support in a divorce. In Florida, child support is governed by statute §61.30 and there is a mathematical calculation performed to determine the amount of child support. For the most part, who pays child support in a divorce is governed by the incomes of both parents and what the Florida child support guidelines dictate should be paid. Judges look at the number of overnights that the children spend with each parent and they look at the parents’ combined net incomes. They calculate the amount of child support that the higher earning parent is going to pay to the lower earning parent based on what the statutory guidelines establish should be paid.

Even with the statutory child support guidelines in place, there are still many areas where people litigate and fight. Some people may try to hide or understate their true income. You also have to take into consideration issues such as the taxes that are paid by the parties, health insurance premiums and uncovered medical expenses of the children, the daycare expenses and other things like that that can have an impact on the amount of child support.

Does Anyone Have To Pay Child Support If Parents Share Equal Custody?

Maybe, and maybe not. If you think about it logically, if both parents are earning the same amount of money annually and both parents have the same amount of overnights with the children, then in theory, you would think that neither parent should pay the other any child support. That might be the case. But then again, it might not be the case if you look at all the other things that have to be taken into consideration. These can include who claims the kids for tax purposes and which parent pays the health insurance premium for the children and the children’s daycare expenses and things like that. Even though there could be equal time and equal income, it is not necessarily true that there is going to be no child support paid.

What Is The Process To Get Child Support Started?

You first have to file an action requesting court-ordered child support. Usually, it is filed as part of a divorce action or a paternity action but it does not necessarily have to be limited to those two scenarios. Next, you have to determine the true net income of each parent and then you determine a timesharing schedule establishing where the children will be spending their overnights. The total number of overnights with each parent is input into a calculation along with the parties’ respective net incomes and an amount of child support is determined.

Actually getting a court order in place to receive your first child support payment can take several months. The case has to be filed first and a court action initiated. You can ask for temporary, immediate child support. Most judges are first going to require mediation. The parties are probably going to have to also exchange financial documentation prior to mediation and these things can take time. Once mediation has taken place, it may still take some time to get in front of the judge. The judge is the one who controls his or her scheduling calendar. We will do everything in our power to expedite the process. Although we will immediately push for expedited treatment or to get in front of the judge as fast as possible, it still can take several months before you begin receiving regular child support payments each month. One thing is for certain – the sooner you start the process, the sooner you will start getting monthly payments.

Once Child Support Is Established, When Does It Actually Start?

Once the proper amount of child support is established, the court issues an order requiring the amount of the child support payment going forward. Before a child support order is put in place, the parties can agree on a temporary amount and make voluntary payments amongst themselves and that could be recognized by the court. But if there is no agreement and you are talking about forcing one parent to pay against their wishes, then it would require a court order and that would happen after the case is filed. You engage in some exchange of financial disclosure with the other side and you probably attempt mediation either successfully or not and then you go in front of the judge. You tell the judge that you settled at mediation and make them start paying. Or you tell the judge that you were not able to settle at mediation and that you need a hearing. The judge will give you a child support hearing at that point if needed. It can take some time to receive your first payment. So, in addition to ordering child support be paid going forward, judges can also require that additional child support be paid retroactively to the date support was first requested.

For more information on Payment Of Child Support in Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (561) 893-9993 today.

Andrew Merlo, Esq.

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(561) 893-9993