One of the most common reasons why a current or potential client will contact New Horizons Law, P.A., and Michael J. Costantino, Esq. is about their concerns about the amount of child support that they will either be court ordered to pay or receive. In Florida, child support is determined pursuant to Florida Statute 61.30. However, so often at New Horizons Law, P.A., and Michael J. Costantino, Esq., our clients tell us about child support issues that they have heard from family members and acquaintances – most of which are contrary to Florida child support statutes and law.
In Florida, we follow what is commonly called the “Income Shares Model” in order to determine child support. This method attempts to estimate how much money the parents would spend on their child or children if they resided together. In all reality, determining the amount of child support is not as difficult as many people believe. Under Florida’s child support guidelines, a person’s child support obligation is almost always calculated by a computer program and this program shows no favoritism to either party.
New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. realizes that the key components which must be inputted in order to determine the parties’ child support obligation are the parties’ income, day care costs, health insurance costs; as well as each parties’ respective amount (percentage) of time that he or she spends with the child or children.
However, often times a family law or paternity client will state that he or she has heard that overtime and bonuses are not included in a child support calculation, which is not necessarily true. In addition, these same clients also have been told that it is easy to go back to court and change (which is officially called “modify” or “modification”) the amount that he or she is required to pay or ordered to receive.
Another myth is that child support ends when a child turns 18 years of age. Under Florida Statutes, child support may be extended until your child graduates from high school, provided that your child is still attending high school with a reasonable expectation to graduate before his or her 19th birthday.
Another common myth is that an individual’s child support should automatically be modified because the parent who pays child support has lost his job an no longer makes an income. New Horizons Law, P.A., and Michael J. Costantino, Esq., recognizes that in order to change a child support obligation you are require to file a “Petition for Modification” immediately because in Florida a modification is only applied retroactively to the date that the “Petition for Modification” is filed.
New Horizons Law, P.A., and Michael J. Costantino, Esq. recognizes and understands that in order to modify child support, we have to prove that there has been a substantial change of circumstance. It is extremely important to inform New Horizons Law, P.A., and Michael J. Costantino, Esq. if you lose your job so that we can protect your rights.