After utilizing the statutory guidelines to calculate an amount of child support, there are several other factors that the court may consider before ordering a final amount. Every case is different and it is important to have an informed litigator to help you determine which additional factors may be relevant to your case when determining child support.
Under Florida Statute 61.30, the court will determine child support pursuant to the guidelines established, but has the ability to deviate from that amount, plus or minus five percent, based on other factors. These factors can include: the needs of the children, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent. Ultimately, the court may order an amount that varies more than five percent from the guidelines only upon a written finding explaining why the guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate.
After an amount of child support has been awarded, there are circumstances by which the court may modify that amount at a later date. In order to file for a modification of child support, a petition for modification must be filed with the court. The petition must allege a substantial change in circumstances arising after the date the child support amount was originally ordered. Following the petition, an evidentiary hearing may be required by which the court evaluates the circumstances alleged with competent and substantial evidence presented. The guidelines may provide a basis for a substantial change in circumstances. However, the difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided by the guidelines shall be at least 15% or $50, whichever is greater, in order for the court to use the guidelines for a substantial change in circumstances.
As previously mentioned, every case is different with facts and circumstances. It is important to have a seasoned and experienced attorney to evaluate your case. The Rice Law Firm has handled many child support determinations and modification proceedings since 1986. Contact us today at our Daytona Beach location at 386-310-2914.