During a divorce where minor children are shared between the parties and there is significant financial disparity, a concern of many is the amount of a child support award. When attempting to decipher how you will financially survive a divorce with minor children, it is necessary to understand the financial aid you may be entitled to under Florida Child Support guidelines and Florida Statute. Therefore, discuss with your attorney the facts and elements of your case regarding incomes and child support to determine your options.
The court considers many different items when calculating a final child support award, however, the initial calculations begin with the incomes of the individual parties. Under Florida Statute 61.29, “the guidelines schedule is based on the parent’s combined net income established to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and children were living in an intact household.” The guidelines revolve significantly around the income of the parties; therefore, your own income and your spouse’s income is taken into account. Therefore, your percentage of financial responsibility is directly correlated to your income in relation to your spouse’s. This allows the court to ensure the financial responsibility is properly divided between the parties according to their incomes.
Although, most cases rely solely on the child support guidelines, Florida Statute 61.30 also provides for deviations from the originally calculated award under certain circumstances. “The trier of fact may order payment of child support which varies, plus or minus 5 percent, from the guideline amount, after considering all relevant factors, including the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent. The trier of fact may order payment of child support in an amount which varies more than 5 percent from such guideline amount only upon a written finding explaining why ordering payment of such guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate.” Within this statute, the court is given discretion to deviate from the guidelines to ensure a proper award is determined. If there is such a severe disparity between you and your spouse’s incomes, you may argue the court should deviate from the guidelines and award a larger child support award to provide just and appropriate care and support for the child, similar to care the child would receive during their time with the other parent. Further, you may argue the amount of assets your spouse has was not properly accounted for in the child support guidelines and due to the large disparity, it is necessary to assess the assets available to the spouses as well to determine a proper child support award.
It is important to be able to financially provide for your child outside of your marriage. Many rely on child support awards to provide such care. However, without proper representation you may be missing out on funds you are entitled to under Florida law. Therefore, employ an experienced attorney to discuss your case specifically and your available options.
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