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Tampa Child Support Lawyers

It is the public policy of the State of Florida that each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child.  A child born out of wedlock has the same right to support as a child born of an intact marriage.  The purpose of child support is to help pay for the rudimentary expenses which are incurred in rearing a child such as providing the child with a home in which to live, food to eat, clothing to wear, medical treatment and an education.

The obligation to pay child support terminates on the child’s 18th birthday unless the court finds or has previously found that the minor’s disability of non-age has been legally removed, Section 743.07(2), Florida Statute, applies, or, with court approval, as is otherwise agreed to by the parties, i.e., they may agree to an extension of child support beyond the age of 18.

In Florida, child support is calculated in accordance with a guidelines schedule set forth in Florida Statute 61.30.  The guidelines schedule itself is based on the parents’ combined net income estimated to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and child were living in an intact household.   The rationale behind the implementation of a guidelines schedule is to encourage a fair, efficient and consistent settlement of support issues between parents and thereby minimize the need for litigation.  

Under Florida Statute 61.30, it should be noted that not only is the parent’s net monthly income factored in the child support calculation but also:

1)         Child care costs incurred due to employment, job search, or education calculated to result in employment or to enhance income; and

2)         Health insurance costs resulting from payment of insurance premiums for the child and any non-covered medical, dental, and prescription medication expenses of the child, unless these expenses have been ordered to be separately paid on a percentage basis. 

Furthermore, the statute provides that the court may adjust the minimum support award based upon certain enumerated deviation factors.  One of the more common deviation factors often utilized in child support cases is that where the parent obligated to pay child support exercises time sharing with the child resulting in the child spending at least 20% of the overnights per year with that parent.

In the event you have any questions pertaining to your obligation or the nuances involved in its calculation, you are certainly encouraged to contact a child support attorney in Tampa today.