Experienced Delray Beach Child Support Lawyer Protects Your Child’s Welfare
Attentive Florida family law firm helps with support petitions and disputes
Under Florida law, parents have a fundamental obligation to support their minor children. Support comes in the form of shelter, food, clothing, care and financial resources to pay for the child’s education, healthcare and life as he or she grows. At Miller Morse Law PLLC in Delray Beach, we advocate for child support arrangements that are fair to parents and children. We advise clients in Palm Beach County and the surrounding areas who are seeking support as well as those who must pay it.
Who has to pay child support?
In divorces involving parents of minor children, the issue of child support can be one of the most contentious. Though each parent has an obligation to support their children, whether the parents were ever married or not, a court order is required to legally enforce that obligation. A parent who wants to receive child support from the other parent must file an application for child support services with the Florida Department of Revenue. In many cases, the parent with whom the child lives most of the time will seek support from the noncustodial parent. Our firm is committed to assisting parents in child support negotiations and asserting your rights when disputes arise.
How is child support calculated in Florida?
Florida courts follow specific guidelines for calculating child support amounts, with various factors influencing the final calculation. A judge will review evidence of:
- Each parent’s financial status and ability
- The established standard of living
- The child’s need, including childcare and healthcare costs
- The child’s age and station in life
A judge can increase or decrease the calculated amount by up to 5 percent if he or she believes that changing the amount is advisable for the family’s circumstances.
Can the support amount be modified?
A support order can be temporary or permanent. A temporary order at the start of a case cannot be increased or decreased, but will only last until a permanent order is issued. A permanent order may be modified upon request from either parent. A court will only grant a modification if there has been a substantial, material and unanticipated change in the family’s circumstances, such as a significant increase or loss of income, or the discovery that a child has previously unknown medical or educational expenses. A parent cannot decide to change the child support amount on his or her own. We represent parents seeking modifications as well as those opposing them.
How is child support collected and enforced?
Child support payments are collected through the Child Support Enforcement Program, which is overseen by the Florida Department of Revenue. Support payments are usually made through income deductions, with money owed coming out of a parent’s paycheck. If a parent fails to make owed payments, the other parent can ask the county court to enforce the order. To force payment, the court may order wage garnishment, grant an injunction against the paying parent’s property, initiate a criminal contempt proceeding or take other measures.
What happens if the receiving parent misuses child support payments?
Child support is intended to pay for the needs of the child, not the needs or desires of a parent. If you suspect that your ex is using child support funds to pay for personal expenses, you can report your suspicions to the Florida Department of Revenue. However, you may first want to speak with a family law attorney to consider your options. Misuse of child support can result in a misdemeanor criminal charge if the spending deprives a child of a proper home, food, clothing or other life necessities. Repeat offenders may face felony charges.
Contact a trustworthy Delray Beach child support lawyer for an initial consultation
At Miller Morse Law PLLC, we are ready to answer your child support questions and take action to address your concerns. To schedule a meeting with our experienced attorney, call our Delray Beach, Florida office at 561-422-4832 or contact us online. We advise and represent parents in and around Palm Beach County.