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Florida Child Support

Child Support

As one might imagine, another major area of dispute is child support. This area is governed by Florida Statute. Courts can award temporary child support immediately after a Court case is filed. (Court can make child support retroactive to date of parties separation to a maximum of 24 months prior to filing date.) That amount will have to be paid until circumstances change or until the final divorce hearing when permanent support will be ordered. Failure to pay support can lead among other things to loss of drivers' license or other licenses.   Also, support can be withheld from the paying party's paycheck or the party can be ordered to pay the money to Support Enforcement who will distribute it to the other party.   If the party fails to pay Support Enforcement, one of their staff can testify that the payment was not made; instead of the party having to come to Court with an attorney.

In Florida we have child support guidelines (to see the guidelines --- click here and scroll all the way down to the column of numbers - Be patient, they take a minute to load." ). Generally speaking the parents combined net income is used in the statutory formula to determine the amount of child support, after considering the number of children involved. The paying party's part is calculated in proportion to the other parent's income. (ie if the total amount of child support owed is $1,000.00 per month and the paying parent makes 60% of the parties' combined net income, that parent will pay $600.00 per month). Also, child care expenses are added onto the basic guideline amount: as is health insurance and health care costs unless they have been ordered separately paid on a percentage basis.

The child support guidelines have gone a long way towards eliminating Court battles over child support but disputes still arise. One spouse may claim that the other has more income than is being reported, or a spouse may claim that the other is capable of earning more than they do. Courts do under certain circumstances have the authority to alter the guideline amount. This is rather rare however, and can only be done if sufficient reasons which are listed in the statute are given.

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Alimony in Florida can be requested when one spouse needs financial assistance. In order to qualify for alimony, the requesting spouse must prove need and that the paying spouse is financially able to make the payments. Alimony is typically a set amount which is paid monthly for a set period of time or until certain circumstances occur, such as remarriage. Alimony is not as common as one may think. The Florida divorce court can award temporary alimony until the final divorce hearing is held. Then, at the final divorce hearing, the court can order permanent alimony if it is requested and necessary.
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