Family Law Attorneys Representing Residents of Jacksonville and Surrounding Communities
The family law lawyers at Ellis and Bryant, P.A. have dedicated their careers to helping divorcing parents ensure that their children are protected. We work proactively to help clients resolve support, custody, and other related matters as efficiently as possible under the circumstances. Our Jacksonville child support lawyers understand the complications and stress that can come with a divorce, both for the spouses and for their kids. We are proud to stand by our clients throughout the legal process, keeping them aware of their rights and options at every step of the way.
Calculating Child Support
Child support is primarily meant to ensure that the children in a divorce get food, shelter, and education, among other necessities. Like spousal support – or alimony – the payments are also intended to help children maintain something akin to the standard of living enjoyed during their parents’ marriage. It is usually the non-custodial parent who is responsible for paying support to the parent who has primary custody over the child or children. The amount of the support is based on a series of guidelines, but judges do have some leeway in determining how much a parent may be ordered to pay.
Courts look at a number of factors to determine whether and how much one parent should pay the other in child support. Income is typically the primary consideration. Judges often try to determine how much the parents were spending on the child during the marriage and then divide that amount based on the parents’ respective incomes. Courts also account for any expenses borne solely by one spouse, including those related to the child’s health care and daycare.
Options for Divorcing Parents
The good news for divorcing spouses is that they can make many decisions on their own about how to handle child rearing and related financial responsibilities, if they are willing to work together. The assistance of a child support attorney in Jacksonville still may be critical in ensuring that their rights are protected. Marital settlement agreements, for example, are important legal tools that divorcing spouses can use to resolve between themselves how much child support one parent will pay the other. These agreements can also be used to divide property and decide on a custody arrangement.
Florida law also strongly encourages divorcing couples who have children under the age of 18 to develop a parenting plan. This agreement, which a court will usually adopt as part of its divorce order, details where the child will live, how much time the child will spend with each parent, and how the former spouses will divide parenting responsibilities.
Modifying Child Support
Things often change once parents get divorced. This is why Florida law allows a judge to modify a child support order further down the road. In order to increase, decrease, or terminate child support, however, the judge needs to find that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants the modification. This might include significant changes in one or both parents’ incomes, as well as changes in expenses like health insurance and education costs. The burden is on the parent seeking the support modification to prove the change in circumstances.
How a Child Support Lawyer in Jacksonville Can Help
At Ellis and Bryant, our divorce attorneys have significant experience helping clients resolve child support and other family law issues. We understand the legal questions that often come up in these cases, and we work tirelessly to help our clients make sure that their children are properly supported following a divorce. Our lawyers also know that each situation is different. We take the time to understand each client’s individual circumstances and tailor our services accordingly. Our Jacksonville child support attorneys are committed to serving clients throughout Northeast Florida in their times of need. We have represented people in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, Middleburg, and other communities in Duval and Clay Counties. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer about your case today.