Alimony & Child Support

Child Support in Sarasota County, Florida: What you need to know

What is child support?

Child support is a form of financial assistance provided by the noncustodial parent. Noncustodial parent refers to the parent who does not have custody of the child. A child support payment is intended to help with costs associated with raising children. It may be paid in one or more payments, depending on the situation.

Child support may be paid by a parent to another parent or guardian of his or her child, and the courts will determine what is fair. Child support payments may be paid directly to the other parent or guardian, or may be paid into a trust account that is then given to the other parent.

Hiring a Sarasota divorce lawyer provides you with the right counsel. With years of experience helping parents sort out agreements, Bragg Law Firm can help you figure out which child support arrangement is best for you.

How Does Child Support Work In Florida?

It is the public policy of Florida that both parents financially support their child. Therefore, “child support” technically belongs to the child and not the parent receiving the support.

However, this does not mean the receiving parent has to spend the money in a certain fashion. As the parent of the child, they can spend the money as they see fit. This can be very frustrating for the paying parent. This is one reason why it is very important to have an attorney for proper counsel when navigating this area of family law.

What are the responsibilities of a parent in the state of Florida?

In the state of Florida, parents have a duty to provide for their children. This includes providing shelter, food, clothing and education. Parents are also expected to monitor their children’s activities and provide guidance. When one of the parents is not providing this care, the state law steps in by enforcing “child support”.

How is it child support calculated?

Florida essentially uses a formula commonly referred to as the Child Support Guidelines to determine how much of a child support obligation to order.

The key components of the child support calculator are:

  1. the number of children
  2. the number of overnights spent with each parent
  3. the combined net monthly income of both parents

Other factors and financial circumstances that determine child support amounts:

Deductions such as taxes, mandatory union dues and retirement payments are also considered by the courts.

  • Salary or wages
  • Unemployment
  • Social security benefits
  • Disability benefits
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Bonuses
  • Spousal support

How much does child support cost in Florida?

It depends a few factors. Child support includes the following three parts:

1. Basic support

As previously mentioned, basic support is intended to cover the costs of a child’s housing, food, clothing, transportation, education, and other related expenses.

2. Medical support

This includes providing health and dental insurance, payments for the costs of health and dental insurance that the other parent provides, and payments for uninsured or unreimbursed medical and dental expenses.

3. Child care support

Payments for child care (day care) costs when parents go to work or school.

Child support guidelines for Sarasota County, FL

There are child support guidelines that use both parents’ gross income, the number of children, and the cost of raising a child at various income levels. Use the online Child Support Calculator to estimate how much child support your case would entitle you to receive.

How to apply for child support in Sarasota County, Florida

In Sarasota County, Florida, the application process can be completed on-line or in person. Applicants should bring their current order for child support from a court in another state or country to the Clerk’s Office. If there is no order, the petitioner must file a petition for child support with a court in Florida.

To apply for child support in Sarasota County, Florida, the petitioner must file a petition for child support with a court in Florida.

Contact Bragg Family Law to begin the process

How to get child support in Sarasota County: Step-by-step list

The procedure for getting a child support order in Sarasota County includes the following steps.

  1. The first step is to establish paternity, which is done by submitting an Affidavit of Paternity and a completed Child Support Affidavit. In some cases, it is possible for the mother to get a child support order without involving the father and having him sign an Affidavit of Paternity.
  2. The second step is to establish the child support order. This is done by filing a Petition for Child Support in the family court and having it served on the father.
  3. The third step, if necessary, is to modify or enforce the order. This is done by filing a Petition for Modification of Child Support and having it served on the father. In some cases, there may not be a need to file a petition for modification of the order.

Get knowledge on what to expect in the process of child support issue including information such as caring for children, their health, and financial information.

If Child Support is a set formula, why is it so contested?

While the parties generally do not argue about the number of minor children between them, they may disagree on two key things:

How do I calculate income for child support?

Monthly net income is a common highly-contested issue. Official tax filings and employment records will be the proof needed for determining income of each parent.

How many overnights should be granted to each parent?

Regarding overnights – Florida no longer uses the term custody and instead uses the term timesharing. The number of overnights used in the formula is taken from the parties’ timesharing plan. The exact number is determined by mutual agreement, work schedules, living arrangements, and if the parties can’t agree, it is decided in a court order.

What is the procedure for getting a child support order?

Providing proof

In order to get a child support order, the person who is asking for it must provide proof that they are the parent and that they are going through financial hardship or if their income has decreased. The person who is requesting the order must also provide a list of all the children that they have and their relationship to them.

Disputes between multiple parents

If there is more than one parent, then both parents will need to be involved in the process. If there is not enough information or they cannot provide a list of all their children, then it will be difficult for the court to determine who should get support from whom.

What happens if you don’t pay child support?

Consequences of not paying

There can be significant legal consequences if parents fail to submit child support payments.

If you don’t make payments, a judge can issue a warrant for your arrest and have you taken into custody. Your wages will also be garnished or seized, and it may result in your inability to renew your driver’s license or apply for a new one. With all the requirements and details, it’s important to do your research before legal action is taken.

To get legal support and guidance in this process, contact an attorney.

Can you change a Child Support agreement?

In some cases, yes. Parents may petition to modify the agreement for child support if there is a material change in circumstance. Our child support lawyers can help parents modify child support with file petitions and advocate on their behalf to prove why the change is necessary. Any child support issue that may affect a parent’s rights is assisted by our attorneys, including:

  • Deviations in Child support
  • If one parent is choosing to be unemployed
  • If one parent has a high income
  • What do to with seasonal income
  • Calculating self-employment income
  • Extra expensive costs of care if a child has an illness or disability

If I lose my job, can the amount of child support I am ordered to pay change?

It is possible to request a modification of a child support order when a significant financial change in circumstances occurs. A loss of employment or dramatic income reduction can be the basis for a modification. However, please note that a court will only modify from the date of the filing of a Supplemental Petition for Child Support Modification.

Simply put, the court only modifies from the date you filed. So if you wait (sometimes people wait years) the total amount owed continues to build up into a large and unmanageable number and the court is not permitted to reduce it even if the judge wanted to.

Do I need a lawyer to get child support?

Technically, you don’t need to hire a lawyer to get child support, but it is a complicated process and a lawyer will save you from making costly mistakes.

Doing it by yourself

You can go the route of filing for court-ordered child support yourself and then arranging a meeting with your former spouse. If it is not possible to get a hearing date, you can file for child support yourself and then ask your spouse to agree that the court order will be enforceable by taking out a complaint of contempt against them.

Hiring a lawyer to help you

If you find that going through the process DIY is too confusing or too time-consuming, reach out to a trusted attorney in the Sarasota area.

Bragg Family Law has been helping clients with child support cases for many years. Call (941) 893-1555 or fill out the form to the right today to find out if your case is eligible.

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