Many parents have to deal with the possibility of child support payments after a separation or divorce. While this is a serious obligation and it can be costly, getting assistance from the right family lawyer will help make the process less painful.
Florida’s administrative process
People who have support obligations in Tampa and the rest of the state will generally handle their payments and administrative issues through the Department of Revenue. Their website allows for most tasks related to payments to be completed online if necessary. An application can also be filed or modified through the site.
However, some parents will not be eligible to use this online program based on the specifics of their case and location. There are other courts and administrative bodies in the state that may handle these matters instead. If there are any doubts, it is important to contact your attorney or someone who is in charge of managing your case.
Determining the cost of a child support payment
Child support is fairly straightforward to calculate in Florida. This is because the same formula is used throughout the entire state, and deviation from these guidelines only occurs based on extraordinary needs related to healthcare or education.
The main determining factor in a child support amount is the non-custodial parent’s income. A certain percentage of that parent’s earnings will be collected for providing things like food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities. In some cases, if a judge believes that a person is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed, they may impute income based on the person’s earning potential and the monthly payment will reflect the imputed amount rather than their actual earnings.
Modifications to payments
Courts will need to make a legal finding that justifies deviation from the amounts given in child support guidelines. One parent may think that they are not receiving enough money, and other times the parent making the payments may have serious trouble affording them. Not making payments on time can lead to the loss of driver’s or professional licenses, or even jail time in serious cases.
Because of the possibility of a court unfairly modifying a parent’s standard payment, it is recommended to have legal representation at all hearings. A lawyer will help make sure that an obligation does not become too burdensome or a judge is not unfairly expecting a much larger payment than necessary. They can also negotiate for the most favorable result possible.
Learn more from an attorney who deals with child support cases
To speak with an attorney who can assist you with any issues related to child support in the Tampa area, contact The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet. They can guide you in the right direction and help ensure that you understand your rights and obligations.