Category Archives: Florida Child Support Law

4 Things to Know About Child Support in Florida

Divorce is a life altering experience that results in a number of changes for both you and your spouse’s lives, but also in the lives of your children. With divorce comes the added process of making sure that the children are provided for not only mentally and emotionally, but also financially. To do so a child support agreement may be put into place by the court. No two child support agreements are the same, but in the state of Florida there are several things that you can expect when entering into one of these agreements – no matter which side of the situation you are on.

It’s important to note that nothing is permanent and just like a custody agreement, child support agreements can be updated if there are new circumstances like a change in income whether its an unexpected drop or substantial increase. This is a matter that would need to be taken to court and often the assistance of a family law attorney is needed.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when it comes to child support in Florida:

  1. The custody agreement will be taken into consideration – One of the biggest factors when it comes to determining child support is how much time the child(ren) will be spending with each parent. The number of overnight visits per year will help decide what the additional financial responsibility will be. The more overnights, then the less one would have to pay as its assumed they are responsible for all finances while taking care of the child. If there is a 50/50 custody arrangement in place and both parties make roughly the same amount of money, chances are no one will be paying child support in this instance. Typically, whichever parent makes more money, or has them less would be the one to pay child support.
  2. Net income will be a major deciding factor – When it comes time for the courts to calculate what the dollar amount will be net income for each parent will be taken into consideration. This means the amount of income after monthly taxes, health care, and any retirement payments, etc. This will show the true income that each parent has available to handle their actual finances each month.
  3. Don’t forget to include any daycare or health care costs – While figuring out what your child’s monthly expenses are the usual suspects like food, clothing, and shelter are important but don’t overlook things like daycare costs or medical expenses. Be sure to calculate what is needed on a regular basis, as well as what could be needed in case of an emergency. Keep track of these costs in case a change needs to be made to the agreement in order to cover such expenses at a later date.
  4. Consider an Income Withholding Order – In the state of Florida, when it comes to court ordered child support, it’s possible to have an Income Withholding Order put into place that would automatically deduct the child support payment from the payer’s paycheck, within each pay cycle through their employer. Sometimes this is mandated by the courts and usually makes things easier on both parties as it allows for a paper trail and there are no missed payments or opportunities to forget to make a payment.

If you are currently working through a child support agreement, whether you’re the one requesting the payments or the one making the payments, consider hiring a family law attorney to help you through the process. Someone like Russell Spatz can help you to understand the court’s process and to calculate an amount that works for you and your child’s needs. Give him a call today at (305) 442-0200.

3 Co-Parenting Tips for Summer Break

fam summer

Schools are out and summer is here, meaning schedules are changing making more obstacles for divorced parents who are co-parenting. The last few months of this school year took place at home, causing a serious shift in scheduling, and may have made the transition into summer a bit easier. Regardless, having less of a daily structure and being on summer vacation means it’s time for those who are co-parenting to be a little more flexible and understanding with their ex when it comes to the children’s best interest.

In order to have the smoothest co-parenting summer possible I suggest keeping these things in mind.

1. Decide on holidays and major events early – There are certain parts of summer that are expected every year including holidays and any annual trips one or both parents may have planned. If your custody agreement doesn’t have specific rules for holidays, then this is something that should be discussed at the beginning of the season. Make sure to come up with a schedule that is feasible for the child – include logistics on transportation costs for things like summer camps or activities, etc.

2. Share a calendar – The best way to keep organized is with a calendar. Whether you’re on good terms with your child’s other parent or not, consider downloading an app that allows you both to share a calendar that keeps track of all events that involve your child. Apps like Family Wizard, 2Houses, or even your phone’s Google calendar make this task very easy to use. This will only work if both parents are dedicated enough to keep it updated. It’s an extra task, but it will help to keep organized through the summer leaving no questions for when or where the children will be.

3. Don’t try to compete with each other – It’s important to remember that parenting your child is not a competition. One may have a larger budget and might have big and flashy plans for the summer, but if that’s not what’s right for you, then don’t try to over do it. Keep in mind that the best memories aren’t always the most expensive one. Your child or children are going to remember specific moments and those aren’t going to be monetary or material.

Summer vacation is a special time for children. It’s their few months of freedom from school where they look forward to spending time with their friends and families. Remembering that your child’s happiness comes first is always a healthy first step to handling co-parenting. If you need assistance in setting up a custody agreement after separating with your spouse, the help of an experienced family law attorney like Russell Spatz could make a difference in making it as smooth of a process as possible.

 

5 Celebrity Couples Who Co-Parent Successfully

celeb

For any divorced couple with children, having to navigate co-parenting isn’t always easy. Those who have to try to figure out how to move on after divorce and successfully co-parent while in the spotlight have it just a bit tougher. Celebrity parents know that with fame comes eyes on them at all times – especially the hard times like divorce and raising children.

By keeping their children’s best interests and well being at the forefront of their thoughts, several celebrities have managed to figure out how to co-parent in a smooth and successful way.

Here are five sets of celebrity couples that have survived divorce with their friendship intact, at least enough to peacefully co-parent.

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore

One of the OG families when it comes to co-parenting, Willis and Moore famously divorced two decades ago. The pair has three daughters, who are now all grown and yet the co-parenting continues. According to an Instagram post Moore shared on her page, the divorced duo decided to spend quarantine.  A whirlwind romance, that resulting in marriage and the start of a family before fame got in the way.

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow

A divorce that sparked the phrase “conscious uncoupling” also resulted in a successful set of co-parenting celebrities. The rockstar and actress are parents to Apple and Moses who spend their time split between both homes. “Both Chris and I have made a commitment to continue to love the things about each other that we’ve always loved and to really continue to develop our friendship and to find ways to continue to communicate,” Paltrow told Today during an interview.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan

Divorcing after 9 years of marriage, this celebrity couple shares custody of their 6 year old daughter, Everly. Using an app called OurFamilyWizard, the ex-couple has successfully figured out how to navigate the strange waters of co-parenting as each has already moved on – with Dewan already having another child with her new beau.

Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez

This Miami based celebrity couple has figured out co-parenting and friendship while still being able to support each other personally and professionally. Not only do they share their twin children’s time successfully, they show up at each other’s holidays, events, and milestones as a strong pillar together in the lives of their children. At Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl performance in 2020, Anthony proudly stood by the stage cheering on not only his 11 year old daughter Emme during her performance, but her mom as well.

Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian

A relationship that was watched endlessly on screen, the eldest Kardashian and her longtime-boyfriend and father of her three children have figured out the secret to co-parenting. Though they don’t live in the same home, these two are known for taking vacation together in order to make memories for their children that they will never forget. They may pick on each other and argue on camera, but at the end of the day they always put their children first and have made sure they know they are loved by both parents.

 

Can I Adopt My Spouse’s Child?

adoption

Marrying someone with a child can be a blessing, as well as a large responsibility. Sometimes step parents are willing to go the extra mile and want to take on the huge task of becoming a legal parent to their spouse’s child. This isn’t a simple process, but with some determination and a bit of guidance it can be done.

How To Adopt Your Spouse’s Child

In order to adopt your stepchild, a petition must first be filed with the court. Once this petition is accepted, it then most be proven that you are eligible to adopt the child and that both your spouse and the child (if the child is 14 years old or older in the state of Florida) consent to the adoption. Of course, the second parent must be taken into consideration. If they are in the picture, then they also much consent as well as sign away their own parental rights. If the second parent isn’t around due to unestablished paternity, being an unfit parent, being a danger to the child, or has been in prison for a significant amount of time – then their consent may not be needed.

What Happens When You Adopt Your Step Child?

Once the adoption is finalized, you’re no longer a step parent, but a true legal guardian to the child. This means you accept all legal and financial responsibility. If there are any child support orders in place from a biological parent, these orders will end. Alternatively, if there is a future divorce, the adoptive parent may be held responsible for future child support payments. It’s a big step to take, but creating a new blended family can be a wonderful thing.

Adopting a stepchild can take roughly three months, but with the help an of experience family law attorney like Russell Spatz, the entire process can be made seamless and easy to understand. Those who are willing to take on the legal and financial responsibility of a child who is not biologically theirs are very special people and Russell Spatz takes great pride in working with them to help make their family complete.

 

Establishing Paternity in Florida

establishing paternity

According to Florida Law, when a mother gives birth and is married, it is assumed that the husband is the father of the child. If this isn’t the case, or if the mother is unmarried at the time of the birth, then paternity must be established. Establishing paternity when the parents of a newborn aren’t married is done either voluntarily or by court order.

What is Voluntary Paternity v. Court Ordered Paternity?

Voluntary paternity is established when both the mother and father or the child agree on who the father is and sign a “voluntary acknowledgment of paternity” form. This form simply means that both parents are acknowledging that the child belongs to them. The father who signs the form is agreeing that they are the child’s father and will take all legal responsibilities as such. The form is then file and becomes final 60 days after it has been signed. No changes to this form can be made without proving that fraud or force was used in the signing.

Court ordered paternity is when either parent takes the situation to court to establish the paternity. This may be brought to the courts by the child’s mother, the alleged father, the child themselves via legal representation, or Florida Department of Child Supportive Services. This process can begin before the child is born, but can not be finalized until after the birth.

What Happens Once Paternity is Established?

To prove paternity, genetic tests will be done for the mother, child, and possible father. Once paternity is proven child support, visitation, health insurance, and authority over the child’s rights are determined.

If you or a loved one are currently in the process of establishing paternity or believe that you have the right to be granted paternity of a child you think is yours, the assistance of a someone who is knowledgeable in the field of family law could make the process smoother. Consider giving Russell Spatz a call today at (305) 442-0200 to help make your family whole.

 

Will Child Support be Enforced if a Parent Goes to Jail or Loses a Job?

black-and-white-child-connected-265702

The issues of divorce or separation and child support can be extremely touchy for many reasons. When couples with children separate, the consequences can be tumultuous. One of the consequences may be that one parent must pay child support to another parent, which should go solely to the care of the child.

How is child support calculated?

In the state of Florida, child support is taken very seriously. The courts make a decision on how much one non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent in order to support the needs of the child. This decision is based on several factors including the income of both parents and the healthcare and child care needs of the child or children, as well as the standard needs of the child. If a parent is voluntarily not working, then a salary will be assigned to him or her based on the average salary of their location at that time. One parent may be required to pay child support to the other even if the custody arrangement is 50-50.

Changes in Employment Status or Incarceration

In the event that a parent who is paying child support loses his or her job, there are several things that can happen. Unemployment does not mean that the parent is relieved of his or her child support obligation. If a parent loses his or her job, he or she should notify the child support enforcement agency immediately. The unemployed parent should then apply for unemployment benefits in the state, if he or she qualifies. Through the unemployment benefits, the parent may have the child support automatically deducted.

If a parent is unable to find employment, he or she must continue to actively search for jobs, and it may be possible to request a reduction of child support or a modification. However, it is up to a judge to decide any changes in child support, and the parent must continue to pay as required in the original agreement until the courts approve a change. Once employment is re-established, the parent may have an increase in their payment amount in order to cover any missed payments during unemployment.

In the unfortunate event that a parent is incarcerated while he or she owes child support, that parent is still obligated to pay. He or she must contact the child support enforcement agency as well, and may also request a modification in payments. Once he or she is released from their sentence, he or she must notify the courts and resume regular payments as established by the courts.

Any time there is a change in financial status, it is possible that child support payments can be modified, but the courts must approve the modification in order for it to be legal.

Child Support Payment is Critical

Any time that a parent can pay child support; he or she should always pay based on the court order. It’s important to note that the consequences of not paying child support can be severe.  A delinquent parent can be punished by anything from the suspension of a driver’s license, to passport denial, or even jail or prison time.

If you or anyone you know is going through a divorce or needs assistance with issues of child support, it’s important to contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you on the best course of action for your case.

References:

Child Support Amounts. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://floridarevenue.com/childsupport/child_support_amounts/Pages/child_support_amounts.aspx

Child Support Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://thespatzlawfirm.wordpress.com/?s=child support