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In addition to establishing who will maintain primary physical custody of a child, courts in Florida overseeing divorce or separation proceedings almost always issue an order detailing child support obligations for the non-custodial parent. Once it is in place, this order carries the full weight of Florida law, and failing to comply with its terms can lead to serious financial and even criminal penalties.

That said, it is not impossible to negotiate for more favorable terms to be implemented in an original support order—or to petition for a new order altogether—with help from a seasoned family attorney. If you want to protect your rights when it comes to the financial support you or your child’s co-parent are compelled to provide, you should speak with a Miramar Beach child support lawyer at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon.

How Do Courts Calculate Child Support Obligations?

While every situation is unique and no two child support orders issued by a Florida court will be exactly alike, state law does establish broad guidelines that courts will follow when calculating the minimum amount of support both parents will be expected to provide together for their child(ren). Under these guidelines, there are two main factors used to determine the estimated value of child support needed:

  • The number of minor children needing support
  • The combined monthly available income of both parents

Florida Statutes § 61.30 establishes specific payment obligations for people supporting anywhere from one to six children on combined monthly available incomes of $800 to $10,000. Courts will generally split the obligation to pay the calculated amount based on what share of physical custody each of the two parents has over the child. As a Miramar Beach child support attorney can explain, courts have the authority to adjust this amount based on factors like:

  • The child’s age
  • Special needs
  • The normal standard of living
  • Income disparity between the parents
  • The value of certain assets and property available to the parents or child

Petitioning for a Support Order to Be Changed

Once a child support order is in place, courts generally will not change it unless one or both parties subject to the order demonstrate that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. Typically, this means something like a sudden job loss, an unexpected illness, or a serious accident that the affected parent(s) had no reasonable way of preventing or predicting ahead of time.

It is also worth noting that courts will not agree to change a child support order even under these circumstances unless the amount owed will change by at least $50 or 15 percent, whichever is greater. A child support lawyer in Miramar Beach can assist with correctly filing and effectively pursuing or contesting a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support.

Contact a Miramar Beach Child Support Attorney Today

Child support obligations are often the most contentious aspect of any divorce or separation proceeding. No matter what led to your dispute or what outcome you want from it, you have help from capable legal professionals to ensure your rights and best interests are respected.

Working closely with a Miramar Beach child support lawyer will dramatically improve your chances of getting through the legal process efficiently and with the final result you want. Call Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon today to learn what our team of skilled legal professionals can do for you.