child support

How Does Child Support Work?

When it comes to child support issues, a friendly co-parenting relationship can quickly become an acrimonious one. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the parent who is ordered to pay child support to resent the amount or just the fact they have to pay the other parent.

Are all parents required to pay child support?

Under Florida law, every parent is responsible for providing financial support for their child. When a child lives with a parent, there is typically no question as to whether the parent is providing financially for their child because the evidence is there in the home they live in, the food they eat, the utilities they use, the clothing the child wears, etc.

When a child does not live with a parent, then the law says that the parent must contribute to the child’s wellbeing and must pay the parent the child does live with child support. There are several different ways the amount of support may be calculated, depending on the state you live in. Some states use an income shares model while other states determine the amount based on a formula using how much the parent earns and how many children he or she is responsible for paying support for. Florida uses the income shares formula.

How long is a parent required to pay child support?

In many child support cases, the parent is responsible for paying support until the child turns 18, but it is important to keep in mind that every case is different and a judge may extend how long the parent is responsible. A family lawyer can determine if your situation would fall under that category, but, in general, common reasons why this would occur include the child attending college after they graduate from high school or the child is disabled or has special needs and requires some type of parental assistance.

How is child support paid?

When it comes to paying the child support obligation, there are several different ways this can be done. In situations where both parents get along and there really are no issues, the obligor parent will pay the obligee parent directly. In other situations, the obligor parent may be ordered to send the child support to the state, which will then send the funds to the obligee parent.

What happens if a parent refuses to pay child support?

If a parent who is ordered to pay child support refuses to pay, there are steps the courts and/or the state will take in order to enforce the child support order. These actions can include wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, professional license suspension, passport suspension, interception of tax refunds and lottery winnings, liens on accounts in financial institutions and other assets or property, and credit bureau reporting. If actions the court takes still do not result in the parent paying their child support, the court can order the parent to be incarcerated until they pay the amount they owe.

Contact a Family Law Firm Today

If you are considering a divorce, you need aggressive legal representation and someone ensuring your rights to the marital estate and parenting rights are protected. Contact The McKinney Law Group to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Tampa, FL family lawyer.