Child Support Calculations
Many married couples considering divorce worry if they can afford their current lifestyle after separation. In addition, many parties are concerned that courts make baseless child support awards that they cannot pay. While some lifestyle adjustments and living arrangements will change after divorce, child support calculations are based on imputed income and contributions to the marriage, not a random figure. If you have shared children with an ex-spouse and are unable to make child support payments, contact our Tampa child support attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A.
During the divorce process, while you are gathering important documents and drafting a marital settlement agreement, it is critical that you also complete a financial statement. Both parties prepare their own financial statement even if the information is identical. The financial statement is integral for the judge to make alimony and child support determinations. The financial statement allows the parties to present a list of assets and liabilities along with contributing income and an itemized list of monthly expenses. It contains all monthly expenses, and imputed income is listed. You should not guess or estimate figures if you are not sure. Find copies of billing statements or call your billing provider or financial advisor if you are unsure about what you owe or what your investment portfolio consists of. Be diligent when preparing your statement because it is submitted to court and shared with the other party.
Child Support Calculator
Prior to a scheduled hearing or settlement conference, you may utilize the child support calculator provided by the Florida Department of Revenue. The calculator is an online feature that approximates your monthly child support calculation based on your income and age and number of children. The calculator is a rough estimate of your contribution. The court will also use non-monetary contributions and the terms of your marital settlement agreement as well as custody arrangements to determine child support. If one parent has primary physical custody the other parent will generally contribute a proportion of support. The court will also look at factors like the age of the child, who carries the child on their health insurance plan, cost of private education, special needs, and other specific factors. Fla. Stat. §61.30 (2020). If you have questions about child support or are struggling to make payments, you should contact our office as soon as possible.
Modifications & Arrears
If the child reaches the age of majority (18), a parent becomes unemployed, or another major life change occurs, a party can petition the court for modifications to the order, but they must also serve the other party. The petitioning party also needs to file an affidavit of income along with the motion for modification. Only the court can grant modifications. Even if the other party falls behind in making timely payments, arrears(missed payments) cannot be waived or discharged in bankruptcy. In fact, if non-payment continues the owed party can petition the court and a writ of judgment can be ordered, or the court can order wages or benefits garnished until the arrears are paid off. If you are struggling to pay, we can work with you and the other party to identify a solution, but you should not ignore your financial obligations, your ex-spouse, or the court.
Call Our Attorneys Today
Our attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. have decades of experience in family law matters including child support orders and modifications. If you have questions about what you may owe or are entitled to after divorce, or need assistance drafting a financial statement, call today to schedule a consultation.