Child support guidelines are strictly enforced. However, there is an option to deviate from child support guidelines. Courts choose to do this rarely deviate from the child support guidelines set forth in Fla. Stat. 61.30. The fact that you earn minimum wage is not enough to deviate from your child support obligation. If you are unemployed – the court will impute minimum wage to you, at a minimum, in order to calculate your child support obligation. If you were employed and intentionally lose your job or choose to be voluntarily unemployed – the court will impute income to you based upon what you were previously earning. In addition, you may be ordered to paying sanctions and/or attorney fees as a result of the voluntary and/or intentional unemployment.
When deciding whether to deviate from Child Support Guidelines, the court will consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to: the needs of the child, the standard of living of the parents, the parent’s ages, and the financial status of each parent. If the Court deviates from the Child Support Guidelines by more than 5%, findings of fact and conclusions of law will be required in any order regarding child support.
Child support terminates when a child attains the age of majority or graduates high school – whichever is later. If a child marries or becomes emancipated, the child support obligation will also terminate. Child support may be extended past the child’s age of majority if the child has special needs.
Should a child support obligation be entered into by a court, you must comply with it. Otherwise, the other parent can file a Motion for Enforcement and/or a Motion for Contempt against you for your failure to comply with the child support order. Should that parent prevail, you may be ordered to pay that parent’s attorney fees. In addition, the Court holds the power to suspend the non-conforming party’s driver’s license, garnish their wages, suspend occupational and business licenses, put liens on their property, arrest the non-paying parent until they pay, seize their assets or many other sanctions. “Courts have the authority to enforce a judgment by the exercise of their contempt powers.” Parisi v. Broward County, 769 So. 2d 359 (Fla. 2000).
When Does Child Support Terminate?
In addition to receiving current and future child support. A parent can seek child support as far back as two years prior to filing an action for divorce or paternity – even if there is no child support order in place. If there is a court order and the party ordered to pay the child support does not pay, the amount owed is known as “child support arrears”. Whereas, once the support ordered is entered by the court, the Judge can order “retroactive support” based upon the child support calculations in the order for child support prior to the support order being issued.
Contrary to what some people believe – child support orders DO NOT terminate upon the child attaining the age of 18. If there is a child support order in place, a parent can seek to enforce the order and/or modify it up until the child attain the age of 18. Once the child turns 18, the child can enforce the child support obligation for the unpaid amount from the parent who was supposed to pay it. In addition, the adult child may be entitled to attorney fees.
Schedule A Consultation With Horton Law Group
Child Support litigation is tedious and if you don’t have an experienced attorney on your side – you may forfeit what your children are entitled to. It is important to retain counsel who is extremely experienced with Florida Family Law. The attorneys at the Horton Law Group, P.A. have over 20 years of combined experience with family law litigation. We take pride in our work.
The attorneys at the Horton Law Group, P.A. are knowledgeable in the law, aggressive in court, well-respected in the community and will fight for both, you and your children. If you have questions about child support and/or if you are looking for a family litigation attorney, please call the Horton Law Group, P.A. at 561-299-0018 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with the principal partner of the Horton Law Group, P.A., Sommer C. Horton, Esq. Or you can email us at email@example.com to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.