Money concerns can paralyze some spouses and prevent them from filing for a divorce, even if the marriage is irretrievably over. A spouse may choose to stay in the relationship due to them being uncertain of how they will make ends meet. These financial concerns are only exacerbated when a couple has children. Most divorcing couples understand when they have children as part of their marriage, a court is likely to award child support to the residential parent. However, individuals in Florida may be surprised that a court can be asked for child support, even if there isn’t a divorce currently filed.

Basics of Florida Child Support

Spouses who are residing in Florida and are apart from the other spouse and child can request a Florida court to determine the financial support obligation in regard to child support. Upon such a request, a court can look at the financial situation of the requesting party and decide if the person’s child support for their child is fair or not. A court will determine the reasons why the spouse is separated from their spouse and the child. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if the spouse is residing in Florida was at fault for the separation.

The Florida statute authorizes a spouse to ask a court to not only determine their obligation toward a child but also toward the other spouse. From, there, the court will analyze the financial situation of the requesting spouse and then enter an order setting the amount of the obligation. The court may also determine that a spouse has no commitment to support the other spouse.

Under this statute, there is no requirement for the requesting spouse to have filed a divorce, or paternity action. In addition, a divorce or paternity action can be commenced any time after a spouse has requested the court to determine their child support or spousal support.

A court can consider certain adjustments and deductions to the child support or alimony amount, depending on the circumstances of the parties. For example, if one parent provides health insurance for the child or if the parents are sharing parenting time with the child on an equal basis. Therefore, the child support or alimony obligation of the parties can be adjusted accordingly.

The amount of child supports the court determines according to the guidelines is a presumed amount. A court is required to order this presumed amount (within a few percentages) unless it makes specific written findings justifying an amount different from the presumed amount.

Modification for Child Support or Alimony

Once a court has entered child support or alimony order, it can be modified upon a change in circumstances of the parties. Factors such as a new job, a job loss, or a promotion can all be considered substantial enough to justify reevaluating a previously entered child support or alimony amount. Also, the passage of a certain number of years alone can justify enough for a “change in circumstances,” which will reevaluate the previous child support or alimony agreement.

Why Would a Spouse Request a Child Support or Alimony Before Filing for Divorce?

If the parties are separated, but the requesting spouse does not wish to file for a divorce, the method may be a good alternative. The requesting spouse may also attempt to negotiate a child support payment when the other spouse has refused to cooperate. An order entered pursuant to this method may only be changed after showing there has been a substantial change in circumstance.

Child Supported While Separated

Whether you and your children’s other parent are married or not, both of you are equally responsible for the financial needs of the child. Although, the spouses are separated, does not mean, your child’s other parent may neglect financially supporting them. If you and your spouse have separated and you’re acting as the custodial parent. Then by mutual agreement or court order, you have the right to seek child support during this time. Spouses have the right to make an agreement regarding child support themselves and make it official with a valid separation agreement. However, if the spouses cannot agree, then contact Konicek Law to discuss filing for child support in the Florida court system.

Once you have officially filed for child support, a Florida court will review the situation to determine if child support is appropriate. If so, the judge will use the Florida statue as guidelines to figure out an appropriate amount. The duration of the support will typically be until the final child custody and visitation schedule is agreed upon. At this point, the child support will be recalculated.

Alimony While Separated

If you’re currently going through a separation, or one spouse has officially filed for a divorce. Then, you may have the right to petition the court for short-term alimony. Whether or not a court will award you post-separation support depends on one spouse being able to prove they are the dependent spouse.

Common examples of post-separation support include when you’re a stay-at-home parent while your spouse works full-time and supports the family. However, the disparity does not have to be between a working and non-working spouse. A spouse may be working but make far less than the other spouse. In this circumstance, the spouse who makes less money will have to show the court that they cannot support their lifestyle based off their income alone.

In Conclusion

A determination of child support and alimony is a frequent feature of many Florida divorces. Florida guidelines determine child support and alimony. By using this information, the court consults the child support guidelines for the appropriate total child support and alimony for the parties. The parties then share this obligation amount in the same proportion as they contribute to the overall total net income.

While the basics of Florida child support and alimony can be easy to understand. There are various nuances in the law that can be complex for individuals. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney or divorce attorney at Konicek Law can help parents understand their rights. We also give our clients the best chance of achieving their objectives and goals when it comes to child support and alimony.

Emily A. Konicek

Emily A. Konicek

Emily A. Konicek brings 14 years of experience to your family law concerns. Emily excels at mediation, negotiation and litigation, and can help you pursue a course of action that helps you meet your goals for the future and for your family.