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How to Legally Avoid Paying Child Support in Florida
When parents are married, they have a legal obligation to support their children. This responsibility remains even when the parents divorce. Both parents must continue to financially support the child until they turn 18-years-old. Sometimes, however, one parent may struggle financially and not be able to support the child. If this is the case, there are several specific ways that can help you avoid paying child support in Florida.
Child Support in Florida
In most cases, child support is mandatory in Florida. The purpose of child support is to make sure that both parents are still financially responsible for the child, even after a divorce. Child support can also be imposed on a parent once paternity has been determined, even if that parent did not know of the child’s existence.
Child support payments in Florida are overseen by the Florida Department of Revenue. They help Florida citizens with locating parents, establishing paternity, determining assets, and establish and modify child support orders. They monitor payments and help a parent take action if the other parent does not pay their support on time. They can receive and distribute payments. If needed, they also offer parenting classes.
How is Child Support Determined in Florida
Child custody and child support are two different determinations. Child custody establishes who will have legal and/or physical custody of the child. These can be joint, where the parents share responsibility, or it can be sole, where one parent is mostly in charge of the child. In general, the non-custodial parent will end up making child support payments to the other parent. Determining custody is generally done through Florida family courts.
Determining who pays child support and the amount that is owed can be a difficult task. When making these decisions, the courts follow the Income Shares Model that considers several monetary factors of both parents including:
- Wages and salary
- Bonuses, commissions, and tips
- Disability benefits
- Spousal support
- Worker’s compensation
- Social Security payments
- Retirement and pension plans
- Property ownership
- Unemployment assistance
- Other forms of compensation through self-employed or contractor work
After the total amount of a parent’s gross wages is calculated, deductions are subtracted from the amount. These include taxes, other spousal support, and any additional child support payments. This net amount is then used to determine the total amount of money you need to pay by using specific state-mandated guidelines.
Once child support is determined, parents will continue to pay the set amount until the child turns 18. Some special circumstances may exist that extend the length of payment like graduation from high school after the age of 18 or if the child has a disability.
How to Stop Child Support Payments in Florida
It is possible to alter child support payment amounts. This too has specific qualifications that must be met and it can be hard to change payment calculations or schedules. It is usually only done when one parent can show that the other has had a major and ongoing financial change. Examples include a change in job status or coming into a substantial amount of money like from an inheritance or winning the lottery.
Stopping child support payments in Florida can be even more difficult, but it can be done. Some ways to do this include:
- An agreement between the parents: If both parents agree, child support payments can be waived or stopped. It is important to note that a judge has the right to supersede this agreement if they feel it is unfair. This means that a judge can still order child support even if both parents state they do not need it. In practice, the judge tends to follow parental agreements unless they suspect one parent has not entered the decision in good faith.
- Give up your parental rights: A parent can decide to do this but they will have to follow specific state guidelines. If a parent surrenders their parental rights they do not have to pay child support anymore. However, this also means that they no longer have any say in what the child does and they cannot request visitation rights. In some instances, the custodial parent may ask the non-custodial parent to give up their rights. This is generally done when the custodial parent either has a new partner that wants to legally adopt the child or they do not want the child to know the other parent.
- Terminating any child support agreement: The support agreement will be void when the child turns 18 unless there are special circumstances. It is also automatically terminated if one parent dies. The court could also terminate the agreement if you lose your job or if you go to prison. In these cases, the court will more than likely be inclined to alter payments rather than terminating them altogether.
Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in Orlando, FL
Contact the experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at McMichen, Cinami & Demps today for legal assistance. Contact our Orlando, FL office at (407) 898-2161 to schedule a free consultation.
McMichen, Cinami & Demps – Orlando Office
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Orlando, FL 32803