All 50 states and the District of Columbia, will order child support for children of divorced or never married couples. The laws are designed to make sure that children get the support they need. Both spouses under Florida law have a financial responsibility towards their children. They have the responsibility to provide for the expenses of the children and support the children according to their means and income. If you are eligible to pay youngster assist, your responsibility to pay child support will end when the child turns 18 years of age. However, in some cases, youngster assist may be extended beyond the age of 18.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Child support payments are based on a pre-existing formula. The formula will take into consideration a number of factors to determine the payments that the parent will have to make. Those factors will include the net income of the parents. Net income here could include not just the amount the parents earn from their jobs, in terms of wages and salaries, but also bonuses, overtime, tips, business income, profits, disability benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, pension benefits, retirement benefits, Social Security benefits, and a number of other types of benefits, which are all at considered as income.
The court will also include expenses of the parents, like health insurance premiums, and daycare costs. Other factors, like the number of overnights that the child spends with each parent, will also be factored into the determination of youngster assist. Besides, the court will also consider whether the person paying the child support has other children from a previous relationship that he is financially responsible for, or children living with him or her.
What Happens If A Parent Stops Paying Child Support?
Years ago, it was too easy for deadbeat parents to skip out on their financial obligation but new laws have replaced old ones, so it is harder for deadbeats.
While it is harder to avoid paying child assist, it sometimes takes the help of an experienced Boca Raton child support lawyer to push the envelope and get the ball rolling. Federal, state and local agencies have powerful child-support collection tools at their disposal but many times it takes very lengthy waits before you can get in front of the right person who can make this happen.
Once a youngster assist order is established and approved by a judge, it becomes official. If both parents cannot agree on a set amount for support then you should hire an experienced Boca Raton child support lawyer to file a request for a child support order. Once established, a youngster assist order must be obeyed. Under Florida law, you may claim child support either in the form of cash payments or in other ways. For instance, youngster assist payments can take the form of insurance, payment of medical expenses, and other expenses. If the support order is not enforced then an attorney can help. Some of the ways to enforce support include:
- Wage Deductions
- Federal Income Tax Intercepts
- License Suspensions and Revocations
- Passport Restrictions
- Contempt of Court
Penalties for Not Paying Child Support
Sometimes, people make the mistake of withholding visitation if their spouse is behind on child support payments. Remember, this is illegal. Under the law, child assist and child custody are treated as two separate issues, and you cannot punish or penalize your spouse based on his failure to adhere to the terms of your child support agreement by violating the terms of the visitation agreement that you have with him or her. You cannot simply withhold visitation rights because of the delayed payments. Similarly, if your spouse is not complying with certain terms of the visitation schedule, or denying you access to the child, you cannot simply stop making youngster assist payments. It is against the law to do so.
The punishment for failure to pay court-ordered child assistance includes fines and up to 6 months in prison (or both) for a first offense. For a second offense, or where youngster assist hasn’t been paid for more than 2 years, or the amount owing is more than $10,000, the punishment is a fine of up to $250,000 or 2 years in prison or both.
Child Support After Remarriage
If you reside in Florida and are receiving youngster assist, spousal assist, or both it is understandable that you may have some reservations about getting remarried. Florida law, along with most other states does not include the new spouse’s income when making a support order. The law sees that it is the parents who should support the children. So, while the monthly obligations and payments of both parents are taken into consideration, the new spouse’s income is not added. There are some exceptions to this rule.
In extraordinary cases such as unemployment, underemployment, income reduction, and/or other reliance upon a new spouse’s income the court may include the new spouse’s income if it can be proven that the children would suffer extreme hardship without adding the new spouse’s income. Most of the time, the new spouse is excluded because the law has determined that the new spouse has no legal obligation for the financial assistance of stepchildren. There is no legal responsibility to the new spouse although they may help meet the needs of children voluntarily.
In Illinois, the courts may decide to consider the income of a parent’s new spouse on an equitable basis when determining child support. Child support payments can also be affected by the addition of children to the non-custodial parent’s household. Monthly payments may decrease with additional children to support. If the child starts to spend more time with the non-custodial parent after they remarry then child support can decrease.
If you are in the Boca Raton area and need help with a youngster assist order, call the Law Offices of Lewert Law for a free consultation with an experienced Boca Raton child support attorney. This law office has years of family law experience, including child support enforcement. Call 561-544-6861.