What Is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is an all-inclusive plan that determines where a child lives, goes to school, and the child’s interaction with his or her parents.  Florida divorces and paternity cases require a parenting plan.  The parenting plan helps determine which parent will be responsible for the child, and when and how they will timeshare with the child. 

What is a Parenting Plan Based Upon?

Many clients in Jacksonville, Forida are confused about child support and 50/50 custody, now known in Florida as timesharing.  Many parents in Jacksonville believe that by having equal timesharing or 50/50 custody that they will not have to pay child support. This is not necessarily true. The amount of child support each parent is required to pay, is pre-determined by Florida law and in most cases, one parent pays child support to the other parent. A Jacksonville Child Support Lawyer can help review your case and ensure you are paying or receiving the correct amount of child support for your case.

How Does a Jacksonville Attorney Calculate Child Support?

Both parents are legally required to contribute to the support of the child. The amount is predetermined by the Florida Child Support Guidelines. Florida utilizes what is known as in “income shares model” to determine the amount of support.  Child support is calculated by adding the monthly net incomes of both parties together.  Based on the combined amount of both incomes, an amount of child support is already determined by law.  Each parent’s income may be offset by childcare fees, health insurance costs paid for the child, and timesharing (the number of overnights each parent has with the child).  So long as the child spends at least 73 nights with a parent, they will receive a child support credit for timesharing. In some situations, where a parent is paying extraordinary medical expenses or private school tuition, the court may also consider offsetting these expenses as well.

Are you a Florida resident struggling to pay child support? Are you paying too much child support?  Are you now making less money than you made when the child support was ordered? Have you lost a job due to no fault of your own?  Do you now pay court ordered child support for a child from a separate relationship? If so, you may qualify for a reduction in your child support. A Florida child support lawyer can assist you today with seeking a modification of your current child support order.  The amount of monthly child support that each child is entitled to receive is pre-determined by Florida law.  The courts determine the correct amount of child support by combining the income of both parents for a total amount of monthly net income. Based on the total amount of income from both sides, a pre-determined amount of child support is awarded for the care of a child.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

In Florida, the amount of child support each parent must pay is predetermined by law. The Florida Child Support Guidelines determine how much child support should be awarded based on the total monthly net income of both parents. For example, if parent 1 makes $2500 a month and parent 2 makes $3500 a month in net income then the combined amount of net income is $6000. Florida child support guidelines state that for a combined net income of $6,000, the amount of child support to be paid for one child should be $1,121.00.   The monthly pre-determined child support amount may be offset by the costs of health insurance being paid for the minor child, the cost of daycare /childcare / before-after school care/fees, and timesharing or the total number of overnights each parent has with the child.  Once these amounts are calculated in, the final child support amount is determined. If the amount you are paying is too much, let your Jacksonville child support lawyer help you reduce your child support by seeking a modification of your current child support order.

What is Incapacity?

Incapacity is when a person is either under the age of 18 or is unable to provide food, clothing, shelter, or unable to manage their business and financial affairs.  Guardianships are frequently created when difficulties present themselves in an individual’s life and his or her ability to deal with life’s affairs is hampered or non-existent.  A family member, or in some cases, a qualified individual can petition the court system to appoint someone to manage the incapacitated individual’s matters.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

The question as to whether or not an individual needs an attorney to divorce in Florida is simple if we review the question literally.  You can get a divorce in Florida without an attorney.  However, it may be unwise to attempt to be divorced without an attorney.

Why Should I Use an Attorney?

The author believes that an attorney is essential if you are attempting to obtain a divorce.  This may sound like a self serving statement, but the author thinks there are numerous reasons that one should use an attorney to guide them through the process.  The author feels that having an attorney keeps otherwise Pro Se (self represented) clients forging ahead and not getting side tracked by discovery issues and other procedural problems regularly encountered and routinely dealt with by attorneys.

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The general rule in Florida is that child support terminates when a child reaches 18 years of age.  However, the general rule does not apply when child support is still owed for any time prior to the child’s reaching adult legal status.  Under those circumstances, the custodial parent generally retains the right to collect on the overdue balance owed.  In terms of procedure, to collect any outstanding child support payments, the custodial parent must obtain a Court order signed by a Judge.  Even if the debtor parent is not currently able to make the payments, the Court order preserves the right of the custodial parent to make a claim on future money earned for back child support.  To make sure that a Court order is properly obtained, custodial parents in Jacksonville would benefit from retaining the services of an experienced Jacksonville family attorney.

Florida Also Provides an Exception in Instances When a Child of Legal Age Has Not Yet Graduated from High School

Florida’s child support statute found at Florida Statute §61.30, also contains a provision that extends child support until the child graduates from high school, if there is a reasonable expectation of graduating before his or her 19th birthday.  If there is no reasonable expectation that the child will graduate before their 19th birthday, child support will terminate automatically upon the child turning 18 years old.

The marital home is frequently the largest asset between the parties to be divided in a divorce. When and how the marital home was acquired will be a major factor in determining who gets the marital home temporarily and permanently.

What is Exclusive Use and Possession?

Exclusive use and possession refers to one party receiving permission to use the home for their own purposes. Conditions are frequently provided for, as well. A frequent condition to receiving exclusive use and possession of a home is typically connected with paying the mortgage or other household bills.  This sometimes occurs initially after holding a temporary needs hearing or a domestic violence injunction hearing.  The most expedient, but not necessarily recommended way that a spouse can obtain exclusive use and possession of a home is through a domestic violence case. Using a domestic violence case to obtain exclusive use and possession should only be pursued when it involves a Petitioner that has been the victim of domestic violence. In other words, a petition for injunction should only be filed when actually necessary to stop or prevent violence. Where domestic violence is not an issue, a temporary needs hearing would be the best vehicle to obtain a temporary order to decide who stays in the home temporarily. The author has seen a number of occasions where both parties shared the home while they waited for a final hearing because neither party had a good option to leave.  This is not recommended, as it is natural for hostility to build between two partis going through a divorce.

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The end of a marriage can be a trying time, both emotionally and financially.  For many people, fundamental aspects of their daily life will change dramatically, including where they live, how often they see their children, their day-to-day routine, and even whether or not they have a job.  In some cases, one of the parties to a marriage has forgone pursuing a career to support his or her spouse or may have left the workforce early to raise a family or manage the marital home.  Your Jacksonville family attorney can assist you in obtaining alimony or defending against alimony claims.

Florida Alimony

Of course, the parties to a marriage both have financial needs, both during the marriage and afterward, should it end.  The law that governs the way marriages end recognizes this fact and provides for an equitable distribution of the marital assets upon dissolution.  Additionally, Florida Courts are authorized by law to award additional financial support based on one party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay.  This type of arrangement is referred to as “alimony” by Florida law but can also be called “spousal support” or “maintenance.”  There are several types of alimony that may be awarded, including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, permanent, durational, or lump-sum alimony.  What kind of alimony is appropriate to request can sometimes be difficult to decide on your own.  Your Jacksonville family attorney will assist you in making that determination after examining all the facts related to your marriage.

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Many divorcing parents and single parents are aware of their obligation to support their children, and some are familiar with how the amount they must pay is decided.  Fewer are aware of how long the obligation to support their children continues.  Your Jacksonville family attorney can assist you with understanding all of the nuances of child support.

Payment Lasts Until the Child Reaches Majority Age

In general, a parent must pay child support until the child is 18 years old.  This is considered the age of majority or when the child is recognized as an adult.  However, a child’s eighteenth birthday isn’t always the cutoff date for support payments.  According to Florida law, a parent’s duty to continue paying child support may be extended when the child has not finished high school by their eighteenth birthday; when the child has special needs; and when there is an agreement that says otherwise.  Your Jacksonville family attorney can assist you in determining what your obligation will be based on your particular circumstances.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

The term “Statute of Limitations” refers to a law that limits the period for which one may file a lawsuit.  This time period will typically vary by state and the type of suit that is being filed. For instance, the period of time for filing suit for a wrongful death claim may be different from the period of time one has to file for a trespass suit.  Federal law normally controls Statute of Limitations Periods for cases decided based upon federal law.

How Far Back Can One Be Assessed in Determining Child Support?

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