Florida Child Support Laws In Broward County Family Court

florida child support lawsA Primer on the Modification of Child Support and Alimony in Florida

In this post, you will receive a short education on Florida child support laws. More specifically, Broward County family court attorney, Jordan Gerber, explains Florida modification of child support. Modification of alimony is also briefly covered. Talk about a stroke of luck!

A Broward County Child Support Order has been Entered, Now What?

You’ve become intimately familiar with the Broward County family court. Not to mention your family court attorney. You’ve spent months, or even year,s fighting.  You’ve done online case searches, reviewed case filing and know so much about child parenting laws and alimony courts that you’re thinking of becoming a family law attorney. Finally, the skies part and your court alimony and Broward County child support orders are entered. Consequently, you spend the next year in blissful ignorance.

And then you realize that the worst may not be over.

The Basics Of Florida Child Support Laws

Florida Statutes 61.30 states that the gross income used in calculating an award of Broward County child support includes several sources.

  1. Salary or wages.
  2. Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.
  3. Business income from all sources. Business income means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.
  4. Disability benefits.
  5. All workers’ compensation benefits and settlements.
  6. Reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation.
  7. Pension, retirement, or annuity payments.
  8. Social security benefits.
  9. Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered child support.
  10. Interest and dividends.
  11. Rental income.
  12. Income due to royalties, trusts, or estates.
  13. Either reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses.
  14. Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the gain is nonrecurring.

Florida child support lawsThe Affect of Imputed Income on Broward County Child Support

Income can be imputed to a voluntarily unemployed or underemployed parent. Consequently, the court has to determine the employment potential and probable earnings level of the less than ambitious parent. These are determined on the basis of several factors.
  • Recent work history.
  • Occupational qualifications.
  • Prevailing earnings level in the community if such information is available.

Income can also be imputed if the parent’s income information is:

  • Unavailable.
  • A parent fails to participate in a Broward County child support proceeding.
  • A parent fails to supply adequate financial information.

How Do Florida Child Support Laws Calculate Imputed Income?

A legal presumption exists that the parent has income equivalent to the median income of year-round full-time workers. This information is published by the United States Bureau of the Census. It is especially relevant to note that the court may refuse to impute income if it’s necessary for a parent to stay home to take care of the parties’ children. The party seeking to impute income has the burden to present competent, substantial evidence proving the following:

  • The unemployment or underemployment is voluntary.
  • The amount and source of the imputed income. Evidence of income due to available employment for which the party is suitably qualified must be provided.

Florida child support lawsAlimony in Broward County Family Court

In determining whether to award spousal support, a judge must first make specific findings of fact. First, to determine whether either party has an actual need for alimony. Then, whether the other spouse has the ability to pay. Finally, if the court finds that a party has a need for Florida alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay, the proper type and amount is decided. The Florida alimony guidelines under Florida Statute 61.08 include many factors.

  1. The standard of living established during the marriage.
  2. The duration of the marriage.
  3. The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
  4. The financial resources of each party.
  5. The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.
  6. The contribution of each party to the marriage.
  7. The responsibilities each party will have due to their support time obligations.
  8. The tax treatment and consequences to both parties.
  9. All sources of income available to either party.

Family Lawyers Lay the Foundation For Florida Modification of Child Support and Alimony Modification in Florida

There are certain requirements that must be met for a party to seek a modification of child support or an alimony modification in Florida. There must be a substantial change in circumstances not contemplated at the time of entry of the final judgment. The change must be sufficient, material, involuntary and permanent. It’s especially relevant to note that time child issues have no bearing.

The Importance of Florida Statute 61.14 Under Florida Child Support Laws

Either party may apply to the Broward County family court for an order decreasing or increasing the amount of child support.  This also applies to those seeking a modification of alimony. The basis of this is the changed circumstances or the financial ability of the parties or the child. Additionally, the Broward County family court may modify an alimony or child support order retroactively to the date of the filings case. The reduction is made by the Broward County family court regardless of the applying party’s status as to payment of the accrued obligations.

The Details of Florida Statute 61.14 Specifically Regarding an Alimony Modification in Florida

The Broward County family court may also order an alimony modification in Florida if certain circumstances are present. One of these is when a supportive relationship has been formed between the payee and a person who they live with. It is important to note that this must be supported by specific written findings.  Consequently, the burden is on the payor to prove that an alimony modification is proper. Furthermore, they must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a supportive relationship exists. In sum, not the easiest thing to do.

Florida child support lawsHow to Prove the Existence of a Supportive Relationship in Broward County Family Court

In determining whether a supportive relationship should result in an alimony modification in Florida, the Broward County family court looks at several factors. This is because every case is different.

  1. The extent to which the parties have held themselves as a married couple due to engaging in certain conduct. This includes using the same last name or a common mailing address. The goal is proving a permanent supportive relationship.
  2. The period of time that the obligee has resided with the other person in a permanent place of abode.
  3. The extent to which the obligee and the other person have pooled their assets or income.
  4. The degree to which the obligee or the other person has supported the other, in whole or in part.
  5. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other.
  6. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other’s company or employer.
  7. Whether the obligee and the other person have worked together to create or enhance anything of value.
  8. Whether the obligee and the other person have jointly contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property.
  9. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an express agreement regarding property sharing or support.
  10. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an implied agreement regarding property sharing or support.
  11. Whether the obligee and the other person have provided support to the children of one another, regardless of any legal duty to do so.
  12. The existence of a conjugal relationship.

Seeking a Florida Modification of Child Support under Florida Child Support Laws

A Broward County family court can modify or vacate a temporary order without a showing of a substantial change of circumstances before a final order is entered. The guidelines may provide the basis for proving a substantial change in circumstances for a Florida modification of child support when the order is final. The difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines must be at least 15 percent or $50. If the amount of child support differs by less, a Florida modification of child support is easy. Florida child support laws don’t require showing a substantial change of circumstances.

How to Find the Best Family Court Attorney for Your Case

If you wish to modify your existing order, click Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer today schedule your consultation. We will perform a detailed review of your original judgment, assess your current needs and concerns, and provide you with available options in Palm Beach County family court. Even if we did not represent you in the original proceeding. You have come this far, there is no point in giving up now.

Proudly Serving Boca Raton, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach and all of Palm Beach County, Florida. Assisting in all matters of Florida Family Law.

Boca Raton Family Court Attorney Practice Areas Include:

  • Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

  • Contested Divorce

  • Uncontested Divorce

  • Child Custody Laws

  • Florida Child Support Laws

  • Florida Parenting Plan

  • Time Sharing In Florida

  • Visitation

  • 50 50 Custody

  • Relocation Under Florida Statute 61.13001

  • Florida Statutes Chapter 39

  • Paternity

  • Modification of Child Custody In Florida

  • Florida Child Support Enforcement