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How child support calculations can vary for affluent parents

Parents from all backgrounds are expected to contribute to their children’s well-being. This can involve physical and emotional support through visitation and custody, but it also includes financial contributions through child support.

Broadly speaking, courts will approach child support cases in the same way, whether you have a lot of money or not. They will calculate an amount based on a parent’s capabilities and the needs of the child, but there are some specific considerations that could be made in cases when one or both parents are affluent.

As noted in this Huffington Post article, courts will often consider:

  1. What a child “needs”: All children need basics like food, clothing and shelter. However, when a child was raised in a wealthy family, he or she may have “needs” that others do not. This could include private school tuition, vacations, athletic training as well as bigger budgets for clothing and social obligations. While these are not essentials for other families, they can be necessary for some children to maintain their lifestyle.
  2. Other financial contributions from a paying parent: Affluent parents don’t just contribute to their child’s life through child support payments. There can be other financial contributions to consider, like car payments, college payments and sophisticated medical care. These contributions could influence the support a judge awards.
  3. Trusts in place of support: In some cases, paying huge sums of money every month because that’s what child support guidelines dictate may not be necessary. At a certain point, it could be wiser to instead put some of the money in a trust fund to support a child in the long run.

These are all things that may be considered when wealthy parents are working to figure out child support calculations. In the end, it is essential that the child’s best interests are protected and prioritized, whether a parent makes $3 million a year or $30,000.

Considering how much can be at stake when it comes to the financial support of a child, it is often best for parents to have the guidance of an attorney experienced in resolving complex child support matters. With legal representation, parents can ensure support payments are fair and a child’s needs are truly being met.

Am I stuck with this old order for child support?

Imagine what you were doing 10 years ago. You were probably at a very different point in your life. You likely had a different job, a different partner, a different lifestyle and different financial responsibilities.

Now imagine that you are going to buy a car. You wouldn’t use all that information from 10 years ago to decide which car you want and what you can afford, would you? You would base your decision on what is most appropriate for you today. This is the same type of logic you could apply when it comes to modifying child support payments.

Modifying child support payments is something that can be crucial for many parents across Florida. Over time, our capabilities and the needs of our kids can change dramatically. Expecting a child support order from five or 10 years ago to stay fair until your child turns 18 could be a big mistake.

This is why it can be a good idea to reassess your situation periodically to ensure your orders reflect a parent’s capabilities and meet the needs of a child.

However, in order for the courts to approve a child support modification, you must show that there are significant changes that warrant a review and adjustment. Significant changes could mean:

  • Dramatic loss or increase in either parent’s income
  • Changes in the medical needs of the child
  • Significant adjustments to a parenting plan and custody arrangements

Minor changes or fluctuations in financial capabilities likely won’t suffice in terms of having a child support order modified, but if you or the other parent of your child have experienced one or more of the changes mentioned above, it may be time to revisit your child support order.

Before you decide to file a support order request with courts on your own, it can be wise to first consult an attorney who is familiar with the rules and processes associated with child support modifications. With legal guidance, you can build your claim and pursue a fair, appropriate resolution.

Enforcing Florida child support orders

Family law courts in Florida, and elsewhere, regularly order parents to pay child support. At Sparkman Law, we understand the burden that you may be forced to bear if your child’s other parent does not follow through with his or her financial obligations. In this post, we will discuss some of the methods the state may employ in order to enforce child support payments.

When parents do not make their child support payments, the Florida Department of Revenue may send income withholding notices to their employers. Through such orders, employers will withhold a specified amount from parents’ wages and income. The funds are then sent to the Department of Revenue and are applied toward his or her child support obligations.

The state may also collect owed child support from certain state benefits. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, the state may deduct up to 40 percent of parents’ reemployment benefits for their child support. Likewise, a portion of people’s workers’ compensation benefits, including lump sum payments, may be taken and applied toward their child support obligations.

Sometimes, parents who neglect to make their child support payments have assets and funds. The Florida Department of Revenue points out that the state may place liens on boats or motor vehicles that are registered to parents who owe $600 or more in back child support. The state may also garnish past-due child support payments from parents’ banks or other financial institutions.

License suspensions are another action that the state may take in order to enforce child support orders. Parents who fall behind on their payments may have their driver’s licenses suspended, as well as their business, recreational and professional licenses. This includes construction, medical, dental and law licenses.

For more information about the financial responsibilities of parents toward their children, please visit our Child Support page.

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