Is Your Child Support Agreement Fair?
How much should I ask for? How much do I need? What expectations are reasonable in Naples, Florida?
These questions might be racing through your head as you go through your divorce. Thankfully, with some aspects of divorce, a little clarity can help decrease your stress. If you’re looking for peace of mind regarding your child support agreement in Naples, keep reading!
What Should You Expect in Your Child Support Agreement?
Child support is not only based on the idea that both parents are legally obligated to provide care for their children, but also on the concept that children deserve to have the same standard of living they would have had if their family unit had stayed intact.
According to the Census Bureau Reports, the average monthly child support payment is $430. But this is just an average, and shouldn’t be used as a guideline to understand how much you should pay or receive in a child support agreement. In the Naples, Florida area, living expenses are higher than the national average. When determining a fair and reasonable child support agreement that fits your specific situation, it’s important to have a divorce attorney’s guidance and personalized advice.
What Should You Ask For?
What you ask for depends on several factors, including how many children you have and what their specific requirements are. For example, if you have a special needs child, you might be justified in asking for a higher amount to cover their medical, therapy, and educational needs.
How Do Judges Decide Child Support Amounts?
First, judges consider the income (and sometimes, potential income-earning abilities) of both parents.
After defining the income of both parents, judges determine child support by looking at the following information, according to USAttorneys:
- Who the custodial parent is.
- How much time both the custodial and non-custodial parent spend with children.
The following factors may also be included in child support calculations:
- Which parent is paying for health insurance, and the cost
- Which parent is paying daycare costs, and the cost
- Whether either parent is required to pay union dues or has other amounts deducted from paychecks
- Ages of the children
- Whether either parent receives irregular income such as bonuses or incentive pay or expects severance pay or other lump-sum payments, and
- Whether either parent lives with a new partner or spouse who contributes to household expenses.
How is Income Determined in Florida?
Under Florida law, income for child support purposes includes, but is not limited to, salary or wages; bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, and tips; business income; disability benefits; worker’s compensation; unemployment compensation; pension, retirement and annuity payments; Social Security benefits; court-ordered spousal support; interest and dividends; net rental income; income from royalties, trusts and estates; expense reimbursements; and gains derived from buying and selling property unless the gain is a one-time event. Income does not include Social Security payments received to take care of a child when the other parent is absent.
For child support purposes in Florida, deductions to income can include: federal, state and local income tax deductions, adjusted for the person’s actual filing status and allowable dependents; income tax liabilities; Social Security and Medicare withholdings; mandatory union dues; mandatory retirement payments; health insurance payments, but not including payments for a minor child’s coverage; court-ordered support for other children which is being paid; and spousal support paid under a court order from a previous marriage or current marriage, according to LegalZoom.
What If You Want To Modify Divorce Agreements?
A change in circumstances regarding either your finances or your child custody arrangement can prompt a child support modification. Sometimes, you enter into a child support agreement that you later realize is unfair or insufficient to care for your child(ren). If this happens, it’s time to turn things around. Michael M. Raheb, P.A. can find the best possible way forward for you as a parent.
How to Move Forward?
Michael M. Raheb, P.A. can help you calculate a child care payment that is fair, reasonable, and works for you! Remember to acknowledge that what is “normal” in the legal system may not be what’s best for your family. In fact, divorce experts at Fatherly advise that the “norm” isn’t what’s best for most families. That’s why it’s so important to break down the budget for your child’s needs and to create an agreement that meets those needs for your child.
Whether you’re already divorced, or going through a divorce now, Michael M. Raheb can fight for your child support needs and help you and your children get the quality of life you deserve! Call 239-226-0888 or send a message online to set up your free consultation.
2423 First Street,
Fort Myers FL 33901
Fax Number: 866-949-0888