Tampa Child Support Attorney
Experienced Florida Child Support Attorneys
You need an experienced attorney when dealing with child support matters. These cases are not overly complicated, but often a time of intense emotional strain for of our clients. We do what we can to take the complexity out of your options, and give you the personal attention you need when dealing with this type of situation.
We can assist you with most types of child support cases, including:
- Florida Child Support
- Child Support Modification
- Enforcing or Challenging Child Support
Florida Child Support Law
In a divorce proceeding, the Court may, at any time, order a parent who owes a duty to support his or her children to pay child support in accordance with the Florida Child Support Guidelines. Child support is calculated based on the income of the parties. Furthermore, if the parties have daycare, afterschool care and health insurance payments, those items are calculated in the child support guidelines.
The Florida Child Support Guidelines are found at Florida Statute section 61.30. The obligation to pay child support arises from common law which required parents to provide for the necessities of the children. The obligation to support children falls on both parents after a Florida divorce, although not often equally. The payment of child support by one parent to another is intended to meet the children’s needs.
Common Issues and Complications that May Affect Your Case
There are adjustments made to child support based on timesharing reasons. If the non-custodial parent has timesharing with the minor children for more than 40% of the overnights, then that parent is entitled to an adjustment to the child support. The court may also depart plus or minus 5% from the statutory child support guidelines but the court must make findings of fact to support its ruling.
Our child support attorneys are well-versed in the mathematics of child support calculation, from the beginning point of determining true monthly income through the process to determine the final and correct figure.
Child Support Modifications
The legal purpose of child support is to ensure the child does not suffer financial hardship after a divorce and to promote the child’s stability. When the court finalizes a divorce, it also issues a child support order by which parents must abide. However, circumstances frequently change after divorce, making child support modifications necessary.
Whether the parent with primary custody or the parent providing support seeks modification, changes in child support orders must occur through the court system. A modifications attorney at the Quinn Law Firm can discuss your needs, help you devise a modification request, and submit the petition to the court for approval.
Reasons for Modification
Situations that make modification necessary typically involve matters involving either the child or one of the parents, such as:
- Job loss
- Parent or child illness or disability issues
- Changes in costs of living
- Financial hardship
- Other demands as the child ages
- Increased educational expenses
- Increases in health insurance needs
- Income loss
- Income increase
- Extended visitation
Child support orders can be long in duration, ranging from infancy until the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school. During that time span, many different events take place and some that potentially influence the child’s needs. When a parent moves out of state, matters can be more complicated. Which state has jurisdiction for child support modification? Quinn Law Firm, P.A. can explain applicable laws that affect your and your child’s rights to support on an interstate basis.
In some cases, recent changes in Florida statutes have affected child support. Previously, for a reduction in child support based on time-sharing, parents had to spend 40 percent or more of the time-sharing schedule with the child. However, the requirement as of 2011 changed to 20 percent of the time-sharing schedule, which means parents within this category are entitled to a reduction in child support amounts.
Most parents care about doing what is in their child’s best interests, which is also a major concern of the courts. No matter what your change in circumstances, your modifications attorney must prepare documentation that shows the court that a substantial change has occurred. Otherwise, the court will not approve child support modification.
If you are facing the decision of filing for a divorce and need trusted legal advice, please contact us today to arrange an appointment with our modifications lawyer.
Child Support Enforcement
Once a court issues a child support order, the child is entitled to receive consistent child support payments. Unfortunately, life does not always work out this way. You may need to take legal action to get the support your child deserves. At Quinn Law Firm, our enforcement lawyer can review your situation and advise the best way to deal with it. A variety of strategic approaches exist to enforce child support payments.
Legal Options for Enforcement
To enforce child support, Quinn Law Firm, P.A. can take legal action for the court to order the following sanctions:
Garnishment is a legal action that takes support payments from paychecks. This is enforced when a noncustodial parent is ordered to pay child support by the courts, but fails to do so. The Florida wage garnishment states that employers must follow Florida child support collection laws if they receive a wage garnishment order. Even if an employer receives an out-of-state wage garnishment order, they must abide.
For private support orders, both involved parties may be required to file a termination motion.
Freezing bank accounts
When a noncustodial parent is in arrears with their support payments, the courts can order bank accounts frozen until the custodial parent receives support. When this occurs the noncustodial parent must make a payment arrangement for the past due amount. If their inability to pay was because the payment was too much, they can file for a modification of the Child Support Order, in which case future payments may be reduced. Therefore, this will not affect payments in arrears.
Depending on the circumstances, a judge can put a lien on real estate property for child support payment arrears. A judge may order a property lien if past-due child support payments are at least $600. If the noncustodial parent does not own property, liens may also be placed on other property items such as a vehicle or a boat (if it is registered under their name).
As a penalty for child support default, courts can deny or suspend driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, recreational licenses, and professional licenses if the parent who owes the arrears is 15-days late.
Before a license is suspended, the parent in default will receive a notice allowing them the opportunity to pay the delinquent amount in full, or make arrangements for the outstanding amounts owed. This notice only gives the defaulter 20 days to pay in full, make arrangements to pay default amounts or to file a petition to contest accusations of delinquency.
Authorities can deny passports to parents who have more than $2,500 in child support arrears. In order to even submit a passport application these parents are required to make payment arrangements for child support. Once the arrangement is made, they must wait another 2-3 weeks before their passport application will be processed.
IRS tax refunds confiscation or seizure
Authorities can take IRS tax refunds to pay for overdue child support. As long as the child support enforcement office is involved in collecting your child support payments, the IRS will seize tax refunds automatically and send you direct payments. If the child support enforcement office is not already participating in collecting your payments, you will need to file a petition to have it collected this way, in order to receive the direct payments in arrears from the IRS.
Authorities can use lottery winnings exceeding $600 (after the cost of the ticket) to pay for past child support. Since all lottery winning are reported to the IRS as income on federal tax returns, the IRS will notify the defaulted parent if they will be collecting child support in arrears from the winnings.
Submitting information about delinquent child support debt to consumer reporting agencies can lower credit ratings. In the State of Florida, the Department of Revenue is responsible for reporting child support debts to credit agencies. So any amounts in arrears can have a negative impact on the noncustodial parent’s credit rating.
Courts can hold spouses in contempt of court for not paying child support, and this action subjects the party to fines and jail time. In Florida, contempt actions can be filed when the defaulted parent does not willing abide by the court order.
We also help clients challenge enforcement proceedings when appropriate. Sometimes a parent who is in non-compliance with a child support order has suffered substantial changes in circumstances that warrant a child support modification. Job loss, sudden illness or other financial distress may prevent a parent from paying child support. You may need to challenge enforcement proceedings on this basis, and our firm can also help you when in this situation.
In either case, if you want to enforce child support payments or challenge an enforcement proceeding, seek legal help right away. Any delay may result in losing your right to a legal resolution. If you are facing the decision of filing for a divorce and need trusted legal advice, please contact us today to arrange an appointment with our enforcement lawyer.