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Child Support Attorney in Sarasota, Florida

Raising a child is a rewarding yet challenging endeavor. When parents separate or divorce, the responsibility of providing for the child's needs remains paramount. At Coyne Law P.A., they understand the complications of child support and are dedicated to helping families resolve their issues. 

Located in Sarasota, Florida, Coyne Law P.A. serves clients throughout Sarasota County, including Bee Ridge, Fruitville, Nokomis, Venice, Manasota, and North Port, Manatee County, including Bradenton, Palmetto, Lakewood Ranch, Myakka City, and Duette.

But before you hire their family law attorney, you need to understand the basics of child support. Here goes: 

Understanding Child Support

Child support is a court-mandated payment from one parent to the other to help cover the costs of raising a child. These payments ensure that the child's living standards remain consistent, regardless of parental separation. Child support is intended solely for the child's benefit and not for the receiving parent's personal use. 

The parent who does not have primary custody of the child (non-custodial parent) typically pays child support to the custodial parent. The amount of child support is determined by various factors, including the income of both parents, the needs of the child, and the existing custody arrangement. 

In many states, child support calculations consider several variables, such as parents' income, healthcare costs, and daycare expenses. Both parents are expected to contribute to the child's well-being, reflecting the combined financial commitment they would have provided had they remained together.  

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Child support covers expenses such as: 

  • Necessities like food, clothing, and shelter 

  • Educational costs, including school fees, books, and extracurricular activities 

  • Healthcare needs such as medical insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses 

  • Childcare costs if the custodial parent is working or attending school 

  • Transportation costs, ensuring the child can travel to and from school, activities, and visitation with the non-custodial parent 

  • Recreational activities like sports, hobbies, and clubs that contribute to the child's development and well-being 

  • Special needs or services, including therapy, tutoring, or other specialized support required for the child's health or educational development 

  • College or higher education savings, to prepare for the child’s future educational endeavors and financial stability 

Child Support Laws in Florida

In Florida, child support calculations follow a specific set of guidelines that ensure fairness for both parents while prioritizing the child's welfare.  

Key points include: 

Income-Based Calculations 

Child support amounts are primarily determined based on the income of both parents. The state uses a formula that considers: 

  • Monthly gross income of both parents 

  • Number of children involved 

  • Health insurance costs for the child 

  • Childcare expenses 

Shared Parental Responsibility 

Florida courts favor arrangements where both parents share responsibility. This approach keeps both parents involved in the child's life, contributing not just financially but also emotionally and physically. 

In cases where shared parental responsibility is awarded, both parents must collaboratively make decisions regarding the child's education, health care, and general welfare, ensuring a balanced partnership in raising their child. 

Modification and Enforcement 

Child support orders can be modified if circumstances change significantly, such as a big shift in income or a change in the child's needs. If either parent experiences a substantial life change, such as job loss or a significant medical issue, they may petition the court to adjust the child support order accordingly.  

Florida law also has strict enforcement measures to ensure compliance, including wage garnishment and suspension of driver's licenses for non-payment. 

Duration of Child Support 

In Florida, child support typically continues until the child reaches the age of 18. However, there are exceptions where support may extend beyond this age. For instance, if the child is still in high school and is expected to graduate before turning 19, child support payments may continue until high school graduation.  

Additionally, if a child has a physical or mental disability that requires ongoing care, support may be extended indefinitely to accommodate their needs. 

Retroactive Child Support 

Florida law allows for the possibility of retroactive child support. This provision addresses the gap between the parents' separation and the date the child support order is established. Retroactive child support can cover up to 24 months prior to filing the support petition, ensuring that the child's needs during this interim period are adequately met. 

Tax Implications 

In Florida, child support payments are considered tax neutral. This means that the paying parent cannot deduct child support payments from their taxable income, and the receiving parent does not have to report the payments as taxable income. This ensures that child support directly benefits the child without creating additional tax burdens on either parent. 

Imputed Income 

When calculating child support, Florida courts might impute income to an unemployed or underemployed parent. Imputed income refers to a parent's potential earning capacity based on their previous employment, qualifications, and job opportunities. This measure prevents parents from evading financial responsibilities by voluntarily reducing their income. 

Child Support Attorney in Sarasota, Florida

Coyne Law P.A. provides top-notch legal services to clients in Sarasota, Florida, throughout Sarasota County and Manatee County. Our team has extensive experience in family law matters, ensuring that your interests are protected throughout the process. Whether it is child support, custody, or asset division, we will handle all aspects of your case with professionalism and care. Call today to schedule a consultation.