Tampa, Florida

Child Support

Tampa Child Support Attorney

Trusted Representation to Protect Your Children

Every family situation is different when it comes to child support after a divorce. Obviously, the division of custody plays a major part in how much child support one parent will be required to pay to the other. The child’s future and well-being are the most important issues in determining the proper amount of child support to be paid. The courts do not view it as a burden or a punishment, but as support for your child’s life and happiness. At Givens Givens Sparks, we understand how complicated divorce can be when children are involved. Our Tampa child custody attorneys are ready to help you come up with a plan that helps you and your children.

What You Need to Know About Child Support

The Florida Child Support Guidelines and the explanatory text accompanying them are found at Florida Statutes (F.S.) 61.30. In addition, many child support issues are addressed in F.S. 61.13. Both sections of Chapter 61 must be consulted in the overall consideration of child support.

The obligation to pay child support arises from the common law principles of providing the necessities of life to one's dependents. Both parents are responsible for their child’s care. The payment of child support is intended to meet children's needs. The question is not "How much must I pay my former spouse for child support?", but rather “How much should I pay to my children?".

The guidelines must be consulted as a starting point for child support calculations, but there are a multitude of reasons to adjust upward or downward. Further, several regular, recurring children's expenses are not included in the basic child support calculation, such as: after-school care, day care, private school costs, the cost of summer camps, the more expensive extracurricular activities, etc.

The most meaningful adjustments of guidelines for child support are for timesharing reasons. If the non-custodial parent has the children for two overnights every other weekend, there may be no reason to adjust support. At the other end of the spectrum, a non-custodial parent who has the children more than forty percent (40%) of the overnights per month is entitled to a substantial adjustment in child support. (The new statute, F.S. 61.30(11)(b), governs it.) The underlying assumption is sound: a non-custodial parent with forty percent (40%) of the overnights will already be paying for forty percent (40%) of food, entertainment, transportation, etc., for the children.

In rotating custody cases, there may be no child support payment due at all, because the total expenses of child rearing are already being shared. The same result may occur in split custody arrangements, where one child primarily resides with mother and the other child with father. The child support guideline calculation however, must still be made to assure and confirm the validity of the "no child support" plan.

Additionally, Florida Statute 61.30 directs that the Court may depart plus or minus 5 percent from the guideline amount, after considering all relevant factors, including the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent. The Court’s ability to order the payment of child support in an amount which varies more than 5 percent from such guideline amount can only be done upon a written finding explaining why ordering payment of such guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate.

It is also important to note that a parent’s child support obligation is modifiable. The child support guidelines under Florida Statute 61.30 provide for a modification of one’s child support obligation when a substantial change in circumstances has occurred in the payor’s ability to pay the child support amount. Before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances there must be a difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines of at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater.

Contact our Tampa child support attorneys at Givens Givens Sparks for a consultation today.

Case Results

  • Family Law Case - Child Custody

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which a child was nearly removed from her mother’s custody and given to the child’s alleged father, although the father had not yet established paternity. Candela filed a written response on behalf of her client (the mother) alleging fraud by the father and had the pick-up order set aside before custody was transferred to the father. The practical result was to allow the mother and child stay in their home state (not Florida) pending the resolution of the case. The Court agreed and granted Candela’s client custody.

  • Family Law Case - Child Custody

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client filed a Petition to Establish Paternity, and the mother was served. After being served, the mother fled the state with the child. Candela filed an Emergency Motion for the immediate return of the child, and at that hearing, which was granted on an emergency basis, the mother was forced to turn the child over to the father, giving the father sole custody of the child pending the ultimate resolution of the case.

  • Family Law Case - Relocation

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client (the father) accused his child’s mother of relocating the child out of state without the consent of the child’s father. Candela was able to obtain a court order to return the child to the state of Florida and to remain in her client’s care while establishing permanent custody and timesharing plans. After Candela’s successful litigation of the case, the Court ruled that the mother’s Petition for Relocation was denied, and that the child shall live primarily with Candela’s client in Florida, with summer and school break schedules allotted to the mother.

  • Family Law Case - Timesharing Violation

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client was accused of violating a timesharing schedule agreed upon by both parental parties at the time the couple was divorced. The client’s child’s mother claimed that Candela’s client did not return the child for holiday timesharing at both Christmas and Easter. Candela had sent formal correspondence to the child’s mother regarding the dispute over the interpretation of the timesharing schedule, and when she did not agree, the father kept the child. The Court agreed with Candela’s interpretation of the timesharing schedule and found that her client was not in contempt for either holiday.

  • Family Law Case - Unilateral Medical-Related Decisions

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which she filed a Motion for Contempt on behalf of her client against the mother of his child for making unilateral medical-related decisions for the minor child without his knowledge. The Court agreed that the mother was in violation of the final judgment of their dissolution of marriage and held her in indirect civil contempt. The Court also ordered that the treatment in question cease immediately and that the mother be solely responsible for any and all costs related to that treatment. Furthermore, the Court ordered that the mother was not to make any unilateral decisions in the future and was to notify the father of any future appointments so that he could be present either over the phone or in person.

Client Testimonials

  • "I feel exceptionally fortunate having been referred to you."

  • "Rob has proven his extraordinary talent, perseverance, vast knowledge of the law, along with his professional demeanor and his ability to communicate and listen well."

  • "Your expertise, knowledge and professionalism put me at ease while you handled my out of state matters."

  • "I will be forever grateful for your assistance, understanding & concern on my divorce."

  • "Know anyone with the same amount of class, ethics and thoughtfulness and ability to execute as you?"

  • "The times we have with our granddaughter are a constant reminder of Rob’s highly effective work."

  • "Going through a divorce is a very traumatic event, but you all make your clients feel cared for and the trust factor is definitely felt."

  • "I would recommend them 200% to anyone who has to go through a divorce."

  • "I truly appreciate your brilliant legal minds and your professional protection of my desires and interests as pertaining to my home."

  • "If I ever have a friend who's going through a divorce, you will be the only name for me to recommend."

  • "Mr. Givens assured me that he was placing my needs in very good hands. He was correct because we are in a much better place because of your efforts."

  • "Stann is an intellectually gifted, highly motivated, knowledgeable attorney. He was truly a 'master negotiator.'"

  • "Rob, Thank you for your assistance and guidance throughout my divorce process. I will certainly recommend you to others seeking legal support."

  • "I appreciate you both always taking the time to answer all of my questions"

  • "Your joint efforts and hard work have finally brought a son and father together."

  • "Your guidance and wisdom has truly guided me through this difficult process that I can now put behind me."

  • "His research, preparation and professionalism is noteworthy in every aspect."

  • "Rob, I wanted to say THANK YOU for all of the time, effort and hard work you put into my case! Without your assistance, Madison would not be here with us in South Florida."

  • "Your guidance and wisdom has truly guided me through this difficult process that I can now put behind me. "

  • "His research, preparation and professionalism is noteworthy in every aspect. You have a brilliant attorney on your team."

  • Paula, thank you so much! You have been a true pleasure to work with through this difficult process. I really appreciate it.

  • "Rob, Thanks again for all of your help through this process. You and Paula have both been great."

  • "Ellen, this comes with sincere gratitude for a job well done. You have restored my faith in your profession. Thank you for always acting in my best interest."

  • "Ellen, I could not have been more fortunate in my legal representation!"

  • "I am very happy that I selected your firm and would not hesitate to give my highest recommendation."

  • "Rob, I wanted to say thank you for all your efforts in getting this agreement settled."

  • You have been wonderfully amazing. Thank you for everything. So grateful.

Get In Touch

At Givens Givens Sparks, your family is our family. As such, we promise to fight for each client and voraciously protect their best interests. Facing a family law issue? Get in touch with us to learn how we can help!

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