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Florida Child Support: What Is It About and do I Need An Attorney?

In most jurisdictions of the United States the law makers believe that a child support obligation is the right of a child which cannot be bargained away by the parents. I can’t tell you how many times I have had Mothers in my office telling me that “I don’t want any of his money, I can take care of myself and my child”. Unfortunately, the answer a great majority of the time is that the state is going to make sure that a child involved in a family law case does receive child support from one or both parents. An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the intricacies of Florida child support guidelines.

Most of the time child support will be calculated using a per-created guideline formula that takes into account factors such as income of both parents, amount of time each parent spends with the child, and amounts spent on child care expenses such as daycare.

Child support amounts are usually modifiable if one of the parents can show the court that some change has taken place that affects any of the above mentioned factors: income, visitation time, or child care expenses. Once the change is offered to the court then a recalculation according to the state guidelines may be ordered and a supplemental final judgment may be signed officially altering the child support order.

There Are Two Types of Courts Where A Child Support Case May Be Heard

In most states there are two separate courts where a child support order may originate; in the circuit or regular family court, or by way of a state Department of Revenue or Department of Child Support hearing officer. The regular family law courts are where cases such as divorces and custody battles are waged. Here, the attorneys usually have more latitude as far as financial discovery as a means to dig deeper and ensure that child support amounts are properly calculated. This is where complex arguments such as intentional underemployment or finding hidden money and assets are best suited.

Conversely, when parties are in front of a state hearing officer, such as Florida’s Department of Revenue hearing officers, there is often little time granted or patience afforded for any additional discovery. This is because the dockets are overflowing with administrative child support cases. Here the main focus seems to be getting as many people in and out the door as quickly as possibly which often leads to child support orders that are too high or too low. Additionally, these state hearing officers are only concerned with child support and do not issue rulings as to visitation, parental responsibility, or other custody issues.

At the end of the day, no matter what part of the country you live in it is always wise to talk to a lawyer. Any Florida residents should speak with an child support attorney about their case.

This Guest Post was provided by Sean Smallwood ESQ. a family law attorney, motivational speaker, and family law blogger. His firm represents clients in all areas of Florida family law all over the state. For more information or to reach him visit: affordablefamilylawyer.com