Sorting out parental rights and responsibilities in the aftermath of a divorce can be a contentious and emotional situation. Likewise the dissolution of a marriage does not absolve parents of the financial responsibility to meet their children’s needs.
The State of Florida gives both parents equal consideration when determining what parenting arrangement is in the best interests of the children.
Since 2008, Florida has shifted away from terms such as “custody” and “primary parent” in favor of “sole or shared responsibility.” The terms of that responsibliity are outlined by a Parenting Plan (FL Statute 61.13), which covers potentially contentious issues such as:
- Which days and weekends the children will spend with each parent.
- How the parents will communicate on issues involving the children.
- Division of holiday and vacation time between parents.
- Which parent’s residence will determine the children’s school zone.
- How decisions regarding childcare expenses will be made.
To avoid the potential for future conflict or litigation, it is extremely important that you develop a Parenting Plan that clearly defines how you and your former spouse will manage any situation involving your children.
Since the welfare of a child is potentially at risk after a divorce, the court takes an active role in both determining the amount of child support to be paid and in mandating its payment.
Unlike alimony, child support obligations are determined by mathematical calculations laid out under Florida law (FL Statue 61.30). Several factors are involved in determining which parent owes child support and how much they must pay, including:
- Parental income.
- Existing childcare expenses.
- Anticipated childcare expenses.
- Tax obligations.
- Percentage of total parenting time.
Parents may not waive child support arrangements because they are intended for the wellbeing of the child. Failure to pay child support can result in severe legal penalties with long-lasting consequences. There are many misconceptions surrounding child support payments, so the first step in any situation involving such payments should be to contact an experienced family law attorney.
Experienced Child Custody and Child Support Family Lawyers
The attorneys at Mulligan and Associates can provide the knowledge, expertise, and support you need to arrive at a favorable arrangement that protects your parental rights and the welfare of your children. We can also provide the support you need to reach a child support settlement with minimal interference from the court as well as help you take legal action in the event of delinquent payments. With services in Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter County, we’re committed to meeting the legal needs of residents throughout the Nature Coast of Florida. Contact us today for an initial consultation.