Polk County Child Support Lawyer

Lakeland Child Support Attorneys

An issue of vital importance during a divorce where there are children is child support.  Parents want to make sure their children are provided for; however, when when one parent is dishonest about their income, or is unemployed, issues can arise.  Under Florida law, child support calculations are set forth in Florida Statutes section 61.30.  The Florida Child Support Guidelines provide a schedule of monthly support based on the net income of the parents, the number of minor children, and certain credits and adjustments for childcare expenses such as healthcare and daycare.  Relevant parental income includes:

  • Salary or wages
  • Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, etc.
  • Business income from self-employment, partnership, closely-held corporations, and independent contracts
  • Disability benefits
  • Workers’ compensation benefits and settlements
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Pension, retirement, and annuity payments
  • Social security benefits
  • Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in a pending divorce
  • Interest and dividends
  • Rental income
  • Income from royalties, trusts, and estates
  • Reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses
  • Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the gain is nonrecurring

Generally, Florida courts cannot deviate more than 5% from the Guidelines.  The statute does allow for an upward or downward departure from the Guidelines at the discretion of the court for various reasons, including:

  • Extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses
  • Independent income of the child, not including SSI
  • Support for a spouse’s parent that has been regularly paid and for which there is a demonstrated need
  • Seasonal variations in incomes or expenses
  • The age of the child, taking into account the greater needs of older children
  • Special needs, such as costs that may be associated with the disability of a child
  • The impact of the Internal Revenue Service Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and dependency exemption
  • The particular parenting plan, such as where the child spends a significant amount of time, but less than 20 percent of the overnights, with one parent, thereby reducing the financial expenditures incurred by the other parent; or the refusal of a parent to become involved in the activities of the child
  • Any other adjustment that is needed to achieve an equitable result which may include, but not be limited to, payment of a reasonable and necessary existing expense or debt

What if we were never married, but I need child support, or I want to provide child support?

If you and the father of your child were never married, or if you were never married to the mother of your child, the first thing you need to do is establish paternity.  You need to ask the court to paternity testing.  Once the father is conclusively identified, then child support can be awarded or established using the factors discussed above.  

If you or someone you care about is facing a dissolution of marriage and seeks the help of an aggressive attorney who will help you fight for your child support rights, Heather Bryan Law can help. Contact Attorney Heather Bryan today for a consultation, at 863-825-5309.