Tampa Child Support Lawyer
To one extent or another, a divorce is almost always a financial hardship on both parties. Some bounce back almost immediately, some never recover at all, and most are somewhere in between. Florida lawmakers do not want this financial hardship to extend to the children. So, Florida is an income share state which calculates both parents’ income then divides the obligation proportionally. These numbers are in a near-constant state of flux, so Tampa child support orders usually need to be revised frequently.
The assertive Tampa child support lawyers at the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group protect your legal and financial rights throughout this process. During the initial determination phase, our detail-oriented attorneys precisely calculate your obligation and ensure that the paperwork reflects that outcome. Later, during the modification process, we ensure that the obligation remains fair and that your children continue to be taken care of.
Setting Child Support in Hillsborough County
In Florida, this process is extremely detail-oriented and also very complex. The child support guidelines, which are presumptively reasonable, basically consider the income of both Father and Mother and then divide the obligation proportionally based on the amount of parenting time. The goal is for the children to enjoy the same standard of living at each house that they would have had if their parents remained married.
To calculate the guideline amount, the court considers:
- Financial Affidavits: The definition of “income” is rather expansive. It includes cash and noncash direct and indirect income. Similarly, not every expense item is allowable in this context. Basically, the category is limited to involuntary deductions and health insurance premiums.
- Guideline Worksheet: This step accounts for other children whom the parent has a duty to support. Tampa judges may deviate from the guideline amount by up to 5 percent either way.
- Other Expenses: Healthcare premiums, daycare expenses, and private school tuition are the three most common items in this category. Obviously, the parties must agree on the type of policy, identity of the private school, and so on. Then, the parents can divide these expenses in a number of ways.
Florida judges may disregard the guidelines in a few cases, but there must be very, very strong evidence that the guideline amount is totally unreasonable. Such evidence is quite rare.
Modifying Child Support in Tampa
Income-based modifications are quite common, as most people change jobs every few years. Moreover, most people go through annual salary reviews. If the new income is more than 15 percent different from the old income, the judge will change the child support obligation, often without a hearing.
Other Florida child support modifications are based on changed expenses. Kids grow up and no longer need daycare, insurance plans get more expensive or less expensive (usually the former), and so on. If the change is material and substantial, the Tampa judge will adjust the child support obligation accordingly.
Timesharing-based changes also require a material and substantial change in circumstances. The original calculation assumes a certain number of overnights for the residential parent and a certain number for the non-residential parent. If the division changes significantly, and the judge has a great deal of discretion here, Florida law requires a child support modification.
Reach Out to Aggressive Lawyers
The best interests of the children is the controlling factor in all child support matters, but parents also have legal and financial rights. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Tampa, contact the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group. Convenient payment plans are available.