Orlando Child Support Lawyer
Child support payments are part of life for many Orlando families. Establishing support under Florida law requires both parties to prioritize their children while protecting their own interests. The Orlando child support lawyers at the O’Mara Law Group are prepared to use their decades of Florida family law experience to navigate your family’s case.
Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara
Content last updated on: May 18, 2023
When you face a divorce or separation, it is important to understand how Florida courts make determinations about arrangements for the support of your children. The Orlando child support lawyers of the O’Mara Law Group have a 35-year record of helping Florida families ensure their cases are thoroughly evaluated by the court.
Florida child support payments are established by court order, and parents may reach agreements in mediation proceedings or appear in court. While Florida law sets basic guidelines for child support amounts, the court has some discretion in determining a fair award for each unique case.
To ensure that your child support order is calculated and adjusted correctly according to your life circumstances, consult with the dedicated Orlando child support lawyers at the O’Mara Law Group.
How can an Orlando child support lawyer from the O’Mara Law Group help my case?
While Florida law strives to divide child-rearing responsibilities equally between parents, a fair arrangement is not a given. You and your children need the seasoned advocacy of the Orlando child support attorneys at the O’Mara Law Group throughout your case.
Board-certified in marital and family law, Mark O’Mara has built a team with a reputation for helping Orlando families through difficult times. They are prepared to simplify and de-stress your child support case by:
- Evaluating each unique factor
- Ensuring all claims and subsequent filings are made correctly and on time
- Advocating for you to pay or receive an appropriate amount of child support
- Seeking modifications and payment of delinquent child support
Our attorneys understand that family law deals with sensitive, personal relationships and that the outcome of your case is crucial to your and your children’s well-being. No matter how overwhelming or complex your case feels, a call to the Orlando child support lawyers of the O’Mara Law Group is the first step toward resolving it.
Child Support Guidelines in Florida
The Florida Statute § 61.30 provides rules to guide a court’s calculation and determination of child support obligations.
Net Income in Florida Child Support Cases
The net income of both parents is the primary factor in Florida’s child support guidelines. The court will first consider your gross income from sources including but not limited to:
- Salary or wages
- Benefits such as disability and social security
- Investment, rental, and royalty earnings
- Unemployment or workers’ compensation
- Pension, retirement, and annuity payments
- Recurring capital gains
- Interest and dividends
- Alimony payments from a previous marriage
- Reimbursed expenses
To determine your net income, the court then makes deductions from your gross income, including but not limited to:
- Health insurance payments besides those made on behalf of the children
- Court-ordered child support payments for other children
- Court-ordered spousal support from a previous divorce
- Federal, state, and local taxes
- Mandatory union dues and retirement payments
The court combines your net income with the other parent’s, factors in the number of children you share, and assigns child support obligations according to the chart in Florida’s guidelines.
Other Factors Under Florida’s Child Support Guidelines
Generally, a Florida court may increase or reduce your child support payment under the guidelines by up to five percent upon consideration of your case. A greater deviation is possible when the court deems the amount awarded under the guidelines to be unjust.
Florida courts have flexibility based on several factors they may consider relevant:
- Parental Time-Sharing — Florida custody arrangements are known as “time-sharing.” The court may adjust child support based on the percentage of yearly overnight visits each parent has with their children under a parenting plan.
- Childcare Costs — The high cost of Florida childcare can factor into a court’s child support order. For a judge to order childcare payments, a parent must pursue employment or education intended to result in an increased income.
- Medical Care and Health Insurance — Florida Statute § 61.13 (2)(b) states that child support must include health insurance at a reasonable cost and that medical expenses not covered by insurance must be factored into child support. Florida’s guidelines allow courts to adjust child support obligations in cases of children’s extraordinary medical needs.
- Parental Net Income — Orlando parents with lower incomes may struggle to pay child support, whereas those with high incomes and larger assets could pay an amount higher than what is in the child’s best interest. The court may adjust a child support order to remedy these discrepancies.
Each Florida family law matter is as unique as each family. Your situation deserves the diligent attention of an Orlando child support lawyer at the O’Mara Law Group. We evaluate each factor in your case and fervently pursue a positive outcome for you and your children.
How long does child support last in Florida?
Orlando parents are generally required to make child support payments until each minor reaches 18 years of age. However, Florida Statute § 743.07 allows for an extension of support obligations under certain circumstances.
For instance, support may be extended if a child is between 18 and 19 and has not yet graduated high school. If a child has special needs which constitute physical or mental incapacity, child support may be continued beyond the child’s 19th birthday.
Can a Florida child support order be modified?
Life changes that impact the needs of your children are often unpredictable. Fortunately, Florida law allows either parent to request the modification of a child support order.
You may petition the court for a modification of child support due to changes such as your income, your child’s medical needs, or a temporary financial hardship. Parents can agree on these modifications and present them to a judge for approval, or both parties can participate in a circuit court modification hearing.
A compassionate representative skilled in Florida family law can simplify the modification process by filing a petition on your behalf, collecting all required documentation, and ensuring your support is adjusted to fit your child’s changing needs.
What if my child’s other parent fails to pay Florida child support?
Family issues such as divorce can be contentious long after agreements are reached. Parents sometimes act on emotions when children are involved by refusing visitation or neglecting child support obligations. Florida parents have multiple forms of recourse when the paying parent fails to take responsibility for contributing to a child’s upbringing:
- Notice of Delinquency. The Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers Office sends a delinquent notice to a non-paying parent after 15 days. If payment is not made within 20 days, a judgment can be entered against the other parent, and you may request a suspension of their Florida driver’s license.
- Income Withholding Order. The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) is responsible for strictly enforcing the payment of child support. An income withholding order requires an obligor’s employer to deduct wages to be sent to the DOR for disbursement to the non-paying parent.
- Civil Contempt Proceeding. Orlando parents who are owed child support may file a claim in civil court. Under stringent Florida law, failure to pay child support can result in misdemeanor or felony charges and even jail time. Remedies can include fines, restitution for missed payments, and court costs.
If your child’s other parent falls behind or willfully does not make their payments, the experienced Orlando child support lawyers of the O’Mara Law Group will explore and pursue every avenue of relief.
Contact the O’Mara Law for experienced divorce representation.
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