In Jacksonville, FL as well as across the state, both parents are required, under the law, to provide for and support a minor child or children. This is true if the parents were married or were never married.
While this may seem like a straightforward legal requirement when parents divorce or separate it can be a challenge to determine the specific amount of support that each parent should provide. Often both parents feel that the amount is unfair, which is why it is so essential to work with an experienced child support lawyer familiar with this area of the law.
It is important to understand that child support is designed to ensure that the child has his or her needs met. It is also separate from alimony, which is granted to a spouse based on his or her financial needs and other factors.
In the court system, child support is determined by a formula. While it is relatively simple, there are also areas that can become very complex. Issues that are factored into the formula include:
- The time the child or children spends with both parents
- Net income of both parents
- Health insurance payments by the parent
- Daycare costs
- Special needs of the child
A child support lawyer will be required if there is a need for a modification of the child support order when any of these issues changes. For instance, a parent may lose a job or become disabled; a child may require additional healthcare or daycare needs or a parent may have a substantial increased in his or her net income.
Additionally, a child support lawyer will be critical if a parent is in arrears in payment of child support. This is perhaps the most common issue that parents in Jacksonville, FL may face.
Working with an attorney will allow you to take the steps necessary to enforce the child support payments, which can even occur after the child is considered an adult by the court.