Child support is a serious obligation, and the parent with less custody time should expect to put aside a percentage of their income. The courts will expect this amount to be paid until the child reaches adulthood. Destin child support lawyers can assist when payments are due or if other issues arise that require modification.
Payment portal from the department of revenue
The Florida Department of Revenue has created an e-services portal that makes it easier for parents to make payments and access other services. Most families will now choose automated direct deposit to have the funds conveniently taken from the non-custodial parent’s earnings and placed into the custodial parent’s account.
However, the state also notes that the process for an order to go into place and get signed by a judge can still take somewhere between four and nine months. Issues with making payments and other problems still need to be decided in court regardless of the increased efficiency of the administrative process.
How is the support amount calculated?
In Florida, child support is calculated based on the income of the parents. This is standardized throughout the entire state, so it does not matter what counties the parents live in. There is a certain percentage of a parent’s earnings that are expected to be used towards necessary services such as education, healthcare, daycare, food, and clothing.
Income can also be imputed to a parent if the judge thinks that they are voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. This means that the payment will be based on a higher salary that the judge thinks the parent should have, regardless of their actual salary. The judge can essentially base the amount on a parent’s earning potential.
While this is considered unfair by most parents who are forced to make payments based on an imputed amount, it is common practice in many jurisdictions throughout the country.
Timely payments need to be made
Once a judge has ordered the non custodial parent to make child support payments, this obligation needs to be met each time the money is due until the child reaches 18 years of age or graduates high school. When payments are made late or not made at all, the courts can order back payments plus interest, suspend a driver’s license or professional license, or even put someone in jail in serious cases.
Modifications should be made immediately if necessary
If one parent needs to make a modification or is having trouble making payments, a hearing should be scheduled with the help of a lawyer as soon as possible. Waiting will not make the obligations go away, and once someone is behind on payments it can be difficult to meet both past and current obligations at the same time.
A court generally only grants modifications of a child support order for a serious change in circumstances such as moving or changing jobs, so an attorney needs to help you make a compelling case to change the judge’s mind.
Talk to a local child support expert