Child Support Legal Services
In Florida, divorced or separated couples often share joint custody of their children. However, sometimes location or other complications make this arrangement impossible. When one parent has sole physical custody of the children, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support. Other conditions require support payments as well. Both parents are required to take part in meeting the needs of their children.

Generally, child custody and support are established during divorce proceedings. However, parents who were never married are still entitled to child support. All children are entitled to support to meet their basic needs. If you are having difficulty getting child support that is owed to you, it is best to consult a Florida family law attorney.

Procedures for Obtaining Child Support

To legally obtain child support, you must go through the court system or visit your local child support office. If you and your partner create a verbal or written agreement together, non-payment cannot be pursued by the law. While you may be able to reach an agreement at the time of separation, you cannot be sure one partner won’t change their mind. Your family law attorney will help you get started with the proper forms.

After filing your claim for child support, you will be contacted for information regarding your financial situation and that of your spouse. (If you applied for other government assistance, child support enforcement may have been contacted on your behalf.) It is important to comply with this step. However, it can be difficult to gather information about a parent wishing to avoid payment. Your attorney and the support enforcement office can help get this information. You must also disclose any court case that has involved your child in the past. It may take 6 to 8 months to obtain the support order.

Determination of Payment Amount

In Florida, the income of both parents and the amount of time the child spends living with each parent work to determine the payment amount. There are many factors that define the final amount, but Florida payments are determined by the following calculations.

  • 1 child – 20 percent of income
  • 2 children – 28 percent of income
  • 3 children – 32 percent of income
  • 4 children – 40 percent of income
  • 5 children – 45 percent of income
  • 6 children – 50 percent of income

Along with the use of the calculator, other factors are considered. Some special circumstances may be considered regarding the income of both parents, and the healthcare needs of the child. Florida guidelines include some additional deviations. Payments may be different from the amounts calculated above if the child has excess medical, psychological, or educational expenses. This change would distribute these needs evenly between both parents.

The age of the child(ren) is an important factor regarding the payment amount. Older children may have larger expenses. The independent income earned by the child may also be considered. If parental income varies with seasons, payments may need to be changed as well. A parent will not be required to pay more than 50 percent of their income toward child support payments.

Your custody plan will also be considered when determining payments. The number of overnight stays is an important factor. Other activities may be considered as well. If a parent fails to uphold a joint custody arrangement, support payments may be modified.

Enforcing Child Support Payments

In the event that your spouse refuses to pay or stops making payments, there are ways to enforce support through Florida law. Sometimes, it is difficult to obtain information about a parent attempting to dodge support payments. A family law attorney can help you find the best options to regain unpaid child support.

The Enforcement Unit of the Child Support Department may take the following actions to enforce payment.

  • Wage Garnishment – Employers can deduct the amount of support owed before payment for labor.
  • Freezing Bank Accounts – A computer search can reveal active bank accounts of non-paying parents which can be frozen.
  • Referral for Contempt – Failing to follow a court order is contempt of court which can lead to fines and jail time.
  • Suspension of Licenses – Vehicle and professional licenses can be temporarily suspended.
  • Liens – Liens can be placed on real estate and personal property.
  • IRS Interception – Tax returns can be taken to help cover delinquent payments.
  • Lottery Winnings – If a parent wins more than 600 dollars in the Florida state lottery, the winnings can be used for delinquent support.

Florida child support enforcement works with departments in other states to ensure payment from parents who live in another state. In cases that involve other states, enforcement tactics are used that comply with the laws in both states. A family law attorney is especially useful in these cases to act as a liaison between the cases of each state.

If the support you receive is insufficient, you may be able to modify your payments. This is done by filing a modification petition with the court. This is usually only considered with a significant financial change by either parent. It is important to note that once the modification is filed, the court must see in through even if payments decrease.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help

There are laws in place to support the needs of children and the families who care for them. However, court cases can become lengthy and difficult. Your family law attorney understands the statutes surrounding your case. An attorney can help you speed up the process by preparing the proper forms, searching for a missing parent, and enforcing support payments.

Child custody and support cases are always difficult and painful for families to endure. Providing for your child(ren) should not be a complication of your separation. If you are facing a child support case in the Orlando area, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. The Law Office of Erin Morse is ready to fight for your right to provide the best care for your children.

Putting Your Children, Not Your Divorce First

Children deserve to have a healthy relationship with their parents. Parents who are going through a divorce may not be able to be with the children everyday, but through mutual respect of the divorce and separation and putting the children first, the children will feel as if they can better maneuver the separation. This mature approach to a situation that is already mentally taxing can help the children to go a long way. As the child custody and child support related duties are assigned, allowing the children to be the center and in the winning position should be the goal for the parents.

Making a stand for your children is what should be front and center. Child custody is a serious position to have. It is in the interest of the both parents if they decide on child custody in a healthy manner. Both parents can agree to disagree on the dissolution of their relationship, but coming up with a game plan on how to make certain the children are fully supported is key.

CHILD SUPPORT

Child support is put in to place in order to protect and provide for the child. The parent with child custody receives the money to use for raising the child. Remembering this fact and not focusing on how the ex-partner will receive the money can remove a lot of misunderstandings. The financial support is for the parent who has custody to use for the children.

Child support is necessary. In focusing on the game plan of putting the children first, it is best to remember to put egos aside. Child support payments continue until the child is 18 years of age. There are special circumstances where the support may continue if the child is unable to care for him or herself. In Florida paying child support is a necessary step in order to ensure that both parents are involved in the upbringing of the child. Florida has laws in place in order to make certain that both parents participate in hopes of having the child grow up to become an upstanding and balanced individual.

Florida assists parents with the following issues:

  • court orders
  • support enforcement
  • collection from the parents living in another state
  • to enforce payment via income withholding
  • to find a missing parent
  • establish paternity

THE AMOUNT OF SUPPORT

Thе amоunt оf support varies per each situation. The parent who is responsible for paying support reports how much they are making and the judge assesses. The support is an agreement made by negotiating, mediating or a court decision. Factors that are considered for the percentage to pay is the paying parent’s income. Additionally, the parents can agree and arrange for who pays for medical insurance. If the parents do not do this the court may order the paying parent or both parents to pay for the insurance or medical bills.

Without being too afraid that your bottom line will all go away, it is important to understand that the support amount is also based on what the parent is capable of earning as per their education and job skills. Taking on a low wage job in order to avoid child support payments is not a way of making certain that your child is first and winning in the game of life. The court will assess accordingly and may decide that even with a lower paying job the paying parent must pay a higher amount.

MAKING PAYMENTS

In order to comply with the state’s law, payments have to be made. The judge will set how often and how the payments are made if the parents cannot come to an amicable agreement. In too many cases, the parents forget about the importance of the child and start to have a tug-of-war about if they should make payments and if the receiving parent is taking advantage of the situation. If the child has pushed to the side like this, then the payment will be made via the state of Florida’s child support agency.

Not making payments is not putting the child first. In the event that this happens Florida has laws in place to get payments back on track. Modifications and adjustments can be made under special circumstances. If both parents are in agreement they will do so in an agreement of which the court must approve. If the parents are not on the same page the court will decide and could decide to not make a change at all.

When the paying parent does not pay, then the repercussions could be the following:

  • Credit bureaus are notified of the unpaid amount and this affects the paying parent’s credit
  • Tax refunds are taken and diverted accordingly
  • Loss of driver’s license
  • Criminal charges brought forward and jail time served or a fine imposed
  • Lien against property which makes it impossible to sell the property or to transfer it

TAXES

The state works hard to make certain that the child is receiving the child support needed. The benefit goes to the parents when the child is getting the support they need.

Parents are encouraged to have a talk with their accountant in order to learn of the tax benefits.

ATTORNEYS AND MEDIATORS

By hiring an attorney more in depth information can be learned about the situation. Hiring a lawyer in Florida can be helpful in order to make certain the person is going in to the support case with all eyes open and aware of the options.

There is also online information available. Just remember that in order to be fully prepared hiring an attorney may be the next best move to protecting your assets and keeping the child first.

With the help of the Internet there are calculators which help in figuring out how much you may receive and how much is possible overdue. The Internet, however, can never fully assess your personal situation. Hiring an attorney, you can share the specific information about your situation.

Remembering that you and the other parent are in a lifelong commitment to the child is going to be the best goal of putting the child first and not the divorce. The divorce becomes a secondary item on the list of what is important. By keeping a sound mind and the ability to communicate, only then can agreements be made. The divorce attorney you choose will assist in making certain that the child custody and child support are front and center.

How To Establish Paternity In Florida

Studies show children with involved fathers have an advantage compared to children with distant relationships with their dads. Whether the relationship is biological, adopted, or unmarried consummated devotion these factors play a critical role in establishing the father’s paternity.

Fathers have been fighting for neutral custody of their children for years. Still today, paternity in Florida isn’t any easier, but with the help of an Orlando divorce attorney, child custody and child support is awarded fairly.

Matrimonial Paternal Rights

Paternity in Florida represents over 16,000 family court action filings each year. To legally recognize a father’s rights of child custody he needs to file a paternity action establishing paternity.

It’s presumed the husband is the biological father for children born during a marriage. The statute of limitations for challenging the father’s paternity begins when he signs the hospital’s paternity acknowledgment form after the child’s birth.

Each year the Florida Office of the State Court Administrator reports family court filings. Orlando divorce attorneys handle the largest percent of court filings (paternity) compared to civil, criminal or probate.

  • YE 2016 -2017 Florida family court filings (paternity) rose to 38.5 percent, up from 2008 at 28.2 percent.
  • Fathers are blocked or severely limited to time-sharing with their children during the divorce proceedings or separations.
  • Florida encourages a father’s involvement and his legal responsibilities to child support.

Cohabitating Paternity

The percentage of couples choosing to cohabitate before and after the birth of a child continues to rise. Establishing paternity gets complicated when the couple separates.

In most cases, unwed fathers have absolutely no legal rights to their children. The biological mother has full physical and legal custody of the children until the father can legally establish paternity.

  • U.S. Census reported almost 25 percent of Florida household were unmarried adults in 2001.
  • In 2018, 8.5 million unmarried couples were living together in the U.S.
  • Cohabitating partners represent more than 1 million homes with at least two children.

Merely being identified on the birth certificate as the father, does not lawfully prove parental rights in the eyes of the court. Before paternity in Florida can be ascertained, an affidavit of paternity is needed to begin the paternity action. Experienced Orlando divorce attorneys work with the father to authenticate his claims of fatherhood.

Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement

Sometimes voluntary paternity occurs for married or unwed couples with children. Orlando attorneys ensure a father’s rights to have a healthy relationship with the child or children.

Here, the mother and legally recognized father will sign under oath a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. In Florida, the document is an admission of the child’s legal father for establishing paternity. The action supports parental legal rights, child custody responsibilities including visitations, active participation in raising the child and child support.

  • Fathers failing to exercise paternity rights could lose custodial rights.
  • More important, the child’s development is impacted without the emotional bonds and financially support.

Before signing the acknowledgment document, each parent needs to consider the consequences because it is irrevocable in most situations. After signing, the courts accept the father as the person with legal rights to the child.

For more information on paternity situations and strategies valued by the State of Florida to support a father’s parental rights, please contact our office.

Fathers believing, they have lawful rights to participate in a child’s life and need assistance in establishing paternity, or wish to contest the court orders, should discuss the circumstances, and consider trustworthy counsel on legal paternity resolutions.

Common Misconception: We Both Agree so We Don’t Need to Go To Court

Separation is a difficult time as it is and allowing for a situation where it could become hazardous in the long run will only make matters worse. It may seem at the time that you both can come to an agreement on how you’ll handle the situation with your children. This state of mind is what has contributed to spreading the most common misconception about separation, and that’s the thought that court can be skipped if both parties can come to an agreement on the children mutually.

 

However, this could be riskier than it may seem at the time. There are many ways that things could turn out, and if you don’t find yourself with legal protection it could be unavoidable. Here’s a look at why you should reconsider the option of not going to court and settling it amongst yourselves.

 

What happens if one of you decides it’s an unfair agreement in the future?

 

This is one of the benefits of using the court of law during a separation. Not only will you be able to ensure a fair agreement (including the option for shared custody) that’s looked at by an outside party, but it opens an avenue to ensure that the agreement is one that will last for the long-term. This alone will make things easier during separation.

 

On top of that, when you go to court, you’ll most likely be using the help of an attorney to ensure your best interests are always considered. This may also let you become informed of options you didn’t think were available. Not to mention, it prevents the risk of overlooking some of the most important factors of child custody during the process.

 

In the event of child support disputes, will you be able to ensure a logical outcome?

 

The needs of a child can be demanding, and therefore the child support process was developed to simplify this aspect of separation. It ensures the weight isn’t on the shoulders of solely one parent and over the long run it will make for less stressful situations.

 

Also, one thing to keep in mind is that as time progresses, things change. Your ex may not be able to afford the amount of child support that was originally agreed on. They could even be getting paid more which would increase child support payments. By not ignoring the effect that court can have on a separation, you’re making sure all the bases are covered throughout the years.

 

Over time, if the agreement needs to be redone, it might not be feasible.

 

When you come to a mutual child custody agreement, you could be limiting your options for the future if changes need to be made. If you go to court, you always have a chance to appeal the decision later if there’s a need to do so. Not to mention, it ensures the entire process is fully documented proving the situation is indeed what it is rather than taking the chance that your explanation is considered hearsay.

 

This doesn’t consider the fact that after separation emotions could be running high. When someone finds themselves in this state of mind, future agreements may become impossible. Having an Orlando divorce attorney help you through the process could provide a needed balance to ensure that even if changes are made, they’re still upholding your best interests when it comes to child custody.

 

If one parent decides visitation isn’t fair, will it be easily fixed?

 

This is another advantage of not blowing past the option of going to court for separation. It’s how you can make sure that the child custody and/or shared custody arrangements are truly fair for both parties. In the event there becomes a dispute in the future, it’ll be easier to either prove that it’s fair or make the necessary amendments to make both parents satisfied with the results.

 

What if your ex backs out on the agreement and doesn’t continue to follow it?

 

If there’s a court order in place, there’s legal protection that comes with it. You can enforce the orders that were set forth when you went to court and even enforce other actions if they’re deemed necessary. Whereas a mutual agreement comes with very little in terms of what you can do to enforce its contents.

 

If you’re separated and you need to see what your options are for your specific situation, it’s best to contact an Orlando divorce attorney even if you’re not legally married. They’re the most experienced when it comes to child custody and related matters.

When Should You Speak With A Child Custody Attorney

There’s nothing easy about a child custody case. Even the most civil of cases end with a situation in which you have to share your time with your child with someone else, taking away some of the most important bonding time you’ll ever have with him or her. While this might not be your ideal choice, the norm in Florida is joint custody. In fact, Florida’s concept of joint custody is more accurately one that involves shared parenting, a type of child custody arrangement that keeps the best interest of the child in mind while still giving significant rights to both parents. If you’re confused about what to do when it comes to custody or how to deal with divorce in Orlando, the following information may be helpful to you.

Divorce

The most common time for an individual to speak to a child custody attorney is when he or she is facing a divorce. Only an experienced can walk you through the process of divorce in Orlando, helping you to determine how to proceed with your plans for custody. A good lawyer will talk to you about shared custody, child support, and how to fight for a decision that is in the best interest of your child.

Issues of Paternity

One of the most common times to speak with a child custody attorney is when you’re dealing with a paternity issue. Paternity issues can impact not only your custody arrangement but also have a huge impact on the issue of child support. Women may be impacted by paternity suits when a man claims paternity, while a man might suddenly find himself either seeking to establish paternity in order to get shared custody. In either case, speaking to a child custody attorney is a necessity.

Moving

It’s also very common to talk to a child support attorney when you or your partner is considering moving to a new area. As you might expect, moving out of your current area can wreak havoc on a shared custody plan, greatly altering the amount of time that can be spent with your child and irrevocably changing the way that your child custody agreement works. Whether you are moving our your ex is moving is irrelevant – it’s important that you speak with an attorney as soon as you know that a major location shift is in the works.

Changes in Your Child’s Life

What worked as a custody arrangement in the past isn’t guaranteed to work in the future. Your child’s life will change as he or she ages, requiring both you and your ex to juggle new schedules and to make room for new activities in your child’s life. As you might imagine, this will also mean that the way you shared the custody of your child in the past won’t be guaranteed to work as these changes continue to occur. You will need to meet with an attorney to discuss child custody arrangements and make sure that the best interests of your child are being considered while still giving you a chance to be a part of your child’s life.

Get Help from an Orlando Child Custody Attorney

Child custody cases are difficult and speaking with a lawyer may be your only chance to ensure that you continue to play an active role in your child’s life. Whether you are considering custody for the first time or you need to make changes to an existing arrangement, a good lawyer will give you the advice and representation you need to seek the outcome that’s best for both you and for your child. If you’re faced with a custody issue of any sort, make sure to call an Orlando child custody attorney for the help you deserve.

What To Expect When You Are Filing For A Divorce In Orlando When Minor Children Are Involved

Divorce is a life-altering experience that is filled with complications for all parties involved. These complications are increased when children are involved.

Couples divorcing in Flordia will need both a Marital Settlementment Agreement and a Parenting Plan. Once agreed upon, these documents will be attached to the divorce settlement and become the roadmap for how parental responsibilities and shared custody issues will be handled.

When parties are unable to come to a mutual agreement on these issued, a judge will appropriate the assets and responsibilities. Individuals in the Orlando, Florida area should seed the services of an Orlando divorce attorney with these matters.

The following considerations are important to individuals in Florida taking part in divorce proceedings.

Marital Settlement Agreement

The marital settlement agreement provides a specific list of divorce terms and provides structure for the post-divorce relationship of the divorced parties. The agreement will include agreements on issues like child support, the division of assets and debt, whether or not alimony is to be paid by either spouse, and other important matters. Once signed, no modifications will be made to the agreement. For this reason, it is important that both parties fully understand their rights and reach an agreement with which they can both live.

Equitable Distribution of Assets

Florida statutes mandate all assets, properties, and debts of divorced individuals are to be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. The governing statute is Section 61.075. Contributing factors to the fair and equitable division of property are the assets owned by each spouse before entering the marriage, the debt of each party before becoming married, assets gained during the marriage, and current assets and debts possessed by the couple.

Florida courts give the opportunity to the divorcing couple to decide for themselves how assets and debts will be divided. However, if they do not agree on the issue the court will make the final decisions. Again, an Orlando divorce attorney would be helpful with these matters.

Alimoney

Also known as spousal support, alimony is paid by one spouse to another when it is determined that responsibility for the spouse that is the payee still exists after the couple is divorced or separated. There are many factors to be considered in regards to the payment of alimony but chief among these concerns is the need of the spouse to receive the payments and the ability of the paying spouse to deliver payment.

Other important considerations regarding alimony are the length of the marriage, the standard of living while married, and the financial resources possessed by each party.

Child Support

Florida Statute 61.29 establishes policy for child support in the state. The principal guidelines are:

  • Both parents are obligated to provide care for dependent children.
  • The court will consider the net income for both parents that would have expected to go to the care of children if all parties resided in the same home.
  • Child support issues are to be handled as quickly and efficiently as possible with as little litigation as possible

The amound of support to be paid for the child is calculated by a formula set out in Florida Statute 61.30. The formula takes into acount the income of both parents, the number of nights the child stays in the home of a parent, health insurance for the child, and other pertinent matters.

Parenting Plan

This plan is required in all divorces that include the shared custody of a child. The plan must include detailed provisions for:

  • The contribution each spouse will make to the daily upbringing of the child
  • A time-schedule outlining when each parent will spend time with the child.
  • An agreement on which parent will be responsible for each important matter in the life of a child. For example, health care, education, and extracurricular activities.
  • The means of communication parents will use to stay in contact with the child.

The history between the parents and any relationship issues must also be taken into account when devising the parenting plan.

Is A 50/50 Time Sharing Good For A Child?

Children are the ones who should be considered first in a divorce or paternity case. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to determining what is in the best interest of a child. Every family and situation is different. While a 50/50 time sharing solution may be perfect for some families, it may not be ideal for others. Even though most people agree that all children need to spend quality time with both parents, joint custody may not always be best for a child. Parents going through a divorce or possibly a paternity action should focus on their own relationship and the effect it can have on the child. While some children flourish with a 50/50 time-sharing arrangement, there are several circumstances where this is not the case.

Parents Living a Long Distance from Each Other
It would not be fair to a child to have to travel back and forth during the school year to be able to attend a chosen school. It would require the child having to travel much earlier in the morning and would limit participation in after-school extracurricular activities. A child needs a consistent schedule to be able to maintain academic performance. The travel time from one home to the other makes it difficult to get adequate rest and keep up with homework.

Children with Special Needs
A child with autism, ADHD, developmental delays, or a physical or medical condition is easily frustrated by change. It is plausible that one parent works better with the child than the other. Constantly changing the environment is probably not in the best interest of this child. Joint custody is probably not in the best interest of a child with special needs.

Legal and Physical Child Custody
In an Orlando divorce case, the parents can choose a parenting plan outside the courtroom if they can agree. A parent with legal child custody is responsible for making decisions regarding medical care, discipline, religion, and education. Physical custody refers to the location where the child will reside once the child custody decision is made. Child support decisions are usually based on both parents’ ability to maintain a child’s current lifestyle.

Research Results are Inconclusive
Child custody issues have been debated for several years. Much of the psychological research that has been conducted supports that equal time-sharing visitation may be best for some children, but not for all. This arrangement only works when each family devises a schedule that best suits their own current situation. The dynamics of all families are different and requires parents to agree on a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children. Joint custody and shared custody allow children to have substantial contact with both parents. Child support is not a big issue with parents who work together.

A Family Law Assessment Can Help Determine the Best Custody Arrangement
An experienced family law attorney can offer legal advice for families attempting to negotiate child custody issues in an Orlando divorce. Erin E. Morse and her competent staff handle all issues that may arise with a couple going through an Orlando divorce. She can explain the benefits of having two parents who are involved in their children’s lives on a daily basis. Shared custody or joint custody allows parents to e share the responsibility for raising the children equally. As a family law attorney, Erin E. Morse helps families make the tough decisions that must be addressed after an Orlando divorce. Issues such as child support and visitation schedules require sensitivity and empathy when determining what is best for children. Joint custody is all about positive co-parenting and is the answer for many; however, it may not be the answer if one parent is more involved with the children than the other one.

What To Do If Paternity Fraud Happens To You

Paternity fraud is an issue that has occurred to a surprising amount of men. Indeed, pop stars Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber have both written songs about the issue of this type of fraud. Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” came out in 1983 and if you listen closely to the lyrics you will realize what the song is about. Justin Bieber’s “Believe” came out in 2012 and touched on the very same issue! All of this of course begs the question: what are your rights when it comes to these issues? What can you do to fight it? That is the focus of this blog entry.

First of all, it is important for the respondent to understand the ramifications of Florida paternity fraud. This fraud occurs when a woman names a man as the father of her child when the paternity of the child is in doubt. Often, the woman will know full well that the child is not really the biological offspring of the man, but will just do so to claim child support from the man. Unfortunately, there are a number of men who have only found out several years after the fact that they were not, in fact, the biological father of the child. An individual that has determined they are the victim of paternity fraud will need to fully analyze the situation to determine what recourse they should look for.

Of course, the first thing they need to do is to contact a domestic litigation attorney as soon as possible who is experienced in Florida child support laws. Interestingly enough, a lot of men think that all they have to do is simply submit a DNA test to prove they are not the biological father and this will settle the issue. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. The reason for this is because of a tricky legal phrase called “the best interests of the child.” If several years have passed where the complainant has acted as the father of the child, a negative DNA test may not be sufficient to convince a court to vacate Florida paternity and child support expectations. In actuality, about the only way for a court to vacate a child support order would be for the man to be able to prove that the fraud has taken place. In that vein, there are a number of questions a man facing a false paternity case should ask themselves.

Some sample questions regarding this would be this: did she ever tell you that you were not the real father? Did she tell anyone else that you weren’t the real father? Did she send you any emails, make any phone calls, or do anything that is retrievable that would prove you weren’t the real father? If so, you just might be able to get a court to set aside a Florida child support order and establish Florida paternity fraud.

When it comes to Florida paternity laws, you also need to understand there are a number of ways a court looks at the father relationship. First, there is the “acknowledged father” who admits that he is the biological father of the child. Next, there is the “presumed father” who is someone who married the mother, tried to marry the mother, or was married to the mother when the birth took place.

With Florida paternity laws, a couple other factors in a case would include timing and whether the presumed father can determine who the biological father is. Of course, timing is everything. Contesting the paternity should ideally happen right after the presumed father suspects the child isn’t his. Moreover, if the presumed father knows who the biological father is, there are cases where he has been able to successfully sue him for restitution.

Of course, if you are questioning whether you are the biological father of a child, time is of the essence. Contact a domestic litigation attorney as soon as possible to go over your rights and what avenues you can take regarding your Florida parental case.

The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of year spent with loved ones. Some families have a little more stress during this season, however. Split families have to share child custody during the holidays. This can be a stressful situation for parents to decide on and, with some many emotions involved, may require help from an Orlando divorce attorney.

With the holidays quickly approaching, now is the time to begin working out a time sharing and visitation schedule for child custody during the holidays. By getting it all figured out now, it can prevent unnecessary stress, confusion, and arguments with the other parent when the time comes. Even if you have joint custody or pay child support, you still need to have a holiday schedule in place.

When the courts become involved in a child custody or Orlando divorce case, the judge almost always grants joint custody or shared custody of the child. This means shared holidays, too. The only time this isn’t the case is when the judge believes it would be detrimental to the child to have to spend more time with a certain parent.

How to Split Child Custody During the Holidays

Most often, a judge will split time during the holidays so that both parents are able to spend an adequate amount of time with the child. This usually means that the judge will grant some kind of time sharing order to the parents that is different than their normal joint custody schedule.

The child custody agreement will likely be different during the holidays than during the rest of the year. Even if the parents have joint custody, one parent pays child support, or one parent only gets one weekend a month, the agreement during the holidays will probably be different.

The two parents can decide how to split up the holidays themselves, but sometimes there will be a disagreement. When this happens, the courts typically have to get involved to make sure that the shared custody schedule is fair for the holidays.

There are a couple different ways that you could split up holidays. One method may work better for your family than the other method, so it is important to think all factors through before deciding. Orlando divorce courts do what they think is best for the child, so if you and your child’s other parent can come to a fair agreement, it is one less step to do in court. The different options include:

  • Switch holidays every other year

One parent would have the child on Christmas in 2018, and the other parent would get to spend Christmas of 2019 with the child. You would do this for every holiday. If you choose to divide up visitation this way, you won’t have to miss seeing your child on a holiday for two years in a row.

  • Split the holiday in half

One parent will get the child in the morning, and the other parent will get to have the child for the rest of the day. This option requires the most planning because you will have to figure in traveling. If you live far from the other parent, a portion of your child’s holiday will be spent traveling, and that isn’t always best.

  • Have the same scheduled holiday every year

This would mean that the parent who gets Christmas gets it every year, and the other parent never gets to spend Christmas with the child. This is important to think about, as well, because both parents will have to sacrifice some of the holidays.

Final Thoughts on Sharing Parenting Time During the Holidays

Both parents want to spend the holidays with their child, but in the case of Orlando divorce, parents are required to split the holidays in some way. If you are struggling to set up a joint custody or child support agreement during the holidays, an Orlando divorce attorney might be the way to go.

How Child Support Gets Determined In Florida

When a couple goes through a divorce in Orlando, the court requires the non-custodial parent to pay child support. Florida has specific statutory guidelines to calculate the amount of support that has to be paid. Shared custody or joint custody are issues that can be a determining factor in how much support a parent will be ordered to pay.

In the state of Florida, like all states, child support is a requirement due to it being the right of the child rather than the parents. Sadly, a number of parents who are forced to pay support feel slighted or that the custodial parent is out to get them. This is not the case. Minor children need and are entitled to support. Child support is used to cover a child’s basic needs including food, shelter, healthcare, education, and more.

If you live in the city of Orlando, you will need to find an experienced Orlando divorce attorney to help answer all of your questions and supply you with the information you need. Not all support issues are cut and dry. You can receive counseling regarding child custody and how joint custody can affect your support case.

The Income Sharing Model

The income sharing model is used in Florida to determine the amount of support spent on the children had the couple had not divorced. The number amount is divided between the two parents based on income. However, the courts have wide discretion when setting the amount. This model is more of a guideline, and it is not etched in stone. Other factors such as joint custody will also determine the amount of support that will be paid.

Financial Affidavits

Florida requires both parties to give a listing of their financial earnings and holdings. Earning calculations are based upon the following:

  • Salary or wages
  • Disability income
  • Business income
  • Unemployment
  • Pension and retirement
  • Rental income
  • Royalties and trusts

In Florida, there is a basic child support calculator that determines the maximum amount of support to be paid. There is an income cap at 50%. Child custody issues can also play a role, in this calculation.

  • 1 child – 20% of income
  • 2 children – 28% of income
  • 3 children – 32% of income
  • 4 children – 40% of income
  • 5 children – 45% of income
  • 6 children – 50% of income

Child Custody Issues And Support

Issues of support can be very tricky when dealing with an Orlando divorce. In cases of joint custody, the amount of support can be changed. However, if shared custody is agreed upon and both parties have similar finances, no support will be required by either party. In fact, when both parties have similar finances, you can often determine who is going to handle healthcare for the child and who pays for educational needs.

A seasoned Orlando divorce attorney can give you all the information you need regarding child custody and support. In all divorce cases involving minor children, a parenting plan is required, so that both parents can be in agreement regarding the needs of the children.

How Long Is Support Paid?

Support is paid until the child turns 18. But can be extended to when the child turns 19 if they are still in high school or later if the child has certain disabilities that would require long-term support. Additionally, if you are in arrears, you will be responsible for that amount regardless of the age of the child/ren.

If you need more information, you should hire an attorney with experience with Orlando divorces. One of our attorneys will help you understand how joint custody and child custody can play a role in support. They will also give you guidance on a parenting plan, and how that will help if custody is shared.

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