West Palm Beach Child Support Lawyers
Attorneys for Child Support Matters in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie & Indian River Counties
In Florida, both parents regardless of marital status, must provide financially for their child(ren). Child support is the court-established financial amount one parent must pay the other to provide support for their child(ren). Based off child support guidelines, with an emphasis on the child’s best interests, the courts in Florida determine child support based on what is known as the income shares model.
At Sesser, Cestero & Roy, P.A. we understand how difficult an unfair child support order can become for our clients. If you need child support and are having challenges ordering it, your child's needs are not being met. If you are ordered to pay child support and have faced hardships that have made the payments difficult or impossible, you risk penalties such as fine or even jail time. Child support in Florida can be a very contentious issue, we aim to resolve your support issue and reach the best possible outcome.
What is the Income Shares Model?
Florida adheres to the Income Shares Model for determining child support. Based on the concept that the child should receive the same amount of financial support from each parent if they lived in an intact household, this model protects the rights of children with divorced parents. For parents in an intact household, child support is determined by pooling each parent’s income together and dividing the number to come to a fair child support amount.
How Can I Modify a Child Support Order in Florida?
To modify an existing child support order, you must prove a substantial change in circumstances.
Some examples of this might include:
- An increase or decrease in income
- A change in the child’s needs (for example, if the child becomes disabled)
To make a child support modification, file a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support. It would behoove you to speak with an experienced attorney beforehand to ensure your child support order can be modified and how to best pursue such a change.
The Florida Statutes permit a modification petition if it results in a change of support at least 15% or $50 – whichever is greater. All child support orders entered on or after Oct. 1, 2020 will terminate on a child’s 18th birthday. In the event the child is over 18 and dependent due to mental or physical incapacity, the court may require continuing child support past 18 years of age.
What to Do if My Spouse Refuses top Pay Child Support
If your spouse refuses to pay child support, you can file a Motion for Civil Contempt to enforce the order. To prove to the judge that your ex-spouse is indeed in contempt, you will need to showcase the following:
- You have a valid child support order approved and signed by a judge
- The other parent has chosen not to adhere to the child support order
- The other parent can pay child support
It is in your best interests to consult with a reputable attorney with extensive knowledge of child support issues and how to best resolve them. Our seasoned West Palm Beach child support lawyers have navigated the ins and outs of child support cases, resolving countless issues associated with child support enforcement for over three decades.
Florida Child Support Deviations
The court uses its discretion when determining child support, which is why some cases may call for what is known as a child support deviation. This means sometimes the court awards a higher amount of child support to a parent in need. This varies according to the situation in question, however, some examples that may warrant a child support deviation include:
- High health care costs
- Special education costs
- Medical expenses associated with caring for a child with a disability
- Expensive extracurricular costs
How Do I Check My Child Support Case?
You can view previous, outstanding, or existing child support payments by checking the Florida clerks court website, getting in touch with Child Support eServices, (if you have an existing case) or calling the Florida State Disbursement Unit Customer Service line at 1-877-769-0251.