How Child Support works in a St. Petersburg Divorce

When couples decide to separate, or divorce  they have a legal obligation to provide for the safety and well-being of their dependent children. Rather than come up with a figure on their own however, Florida parents can hire a divorce lawyer to assist with the correct calculation of child support, and allow the  court system to establish an order for an amount of child support that will take care of their children sufficiently. Child support must be court ordered, and agreements outside of court have no legal value.   Understanding how child support is determined and how a St. Petersburg child support order is enforced can help parents avoid misunderstandings  and allow them to be better parents to their kids after the breakup of their relationship. The Florida family court system, and courts  in St. Petersburg utilize the Florida child Support guidelines worksheet and take into consideration several factors when deciding how much support a  parent is entitled to each month.  In the past, Florida recognized a primary and secondary parent. However under the current law, there is no designation of primary parent or secondary parent, rather there is a time sharing plan put into place and the amount of time children spend with each parent will affect the amount of child support that must be paid.

In addition, the child support calculation also takes into account the number of children,  each parents net monthly income (bring home pay),  as well as child care costs, and health insurance costs.  If one parent does not have an income, the court may impute income and may also consider  earnings from a job, self-employment, Social Security benefits, pension payments, or unemployment benefits, among others. Child support is paid until children reach the age of 18, and may continue beyond the age of 18 if the child is still in high school, and in that case may continue until graduation from high school. Children who need therapy or medical services cold be entitled to more child support each month.

Enforcing Child Support Orders

Once the court has issued an Order for child support, Florida family law courts and the divorce lawyer on the case will work to see that it is enforced. Normally child support is paid by income deduction order, meaning that it is taken out of your pay by your employer.  The parent making the payments will be expected to maintain a steady and viable income and to report changes in earnings to the court promptly. In the event of a job loss the parent will be expected to conduct a diligent job search.   The child support order can be reevaluated and modified if necessary, particularly if there is a change of circumstances such as an increase or decrease in the income of either parent, or the needs of the child.   A divorce lawyer can petition for a modification if needed.

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