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Saint Lucie County Legal Issues Blog

What is imputed income for child support determination purposes?

Child support is an important responsibility that a parent may have to take on when they end their relationship with their child's other parent. In Florida, the income of both parents is considered when child support payments are assigned. To work through the child support calculations, parents must provide the courts with extensive information about their wages and other sources of income.

While most individuals earn incomes that are commiserate with their education and life experience, in some cases, as courts determine how much child support a parent should pay, they may find that one parent is earning less than what they are capable of. If a parent is deliberately earning less money than they should be earning, a court may impute income to them to raise the amount of money that they will be obligated to provide to their child.

Different parental responsibilities impact child custody cases

Child custody cases can find their way to court as standalone legal issues or pursuant to the separation or divorce of parents. When they do, judges in Florida must assess a host of factors to decide how to serve the best interests of the kids whose lives will be affected by their decisions. Those decisions can grant different parental responsibilities to the children's parents based on the needs of the children involved.

Parents may end up sharing custody of their kids and, if they do this is often referred to as "joint custody." Joint custody does not mean equal custody in all cases, and parents who share custody of their kids may work out different distributions of time during which the kids live with the different parents. The alternative to joint child custody is "sole" child custody, and in this form of custody only one parent has custody of a former couple's kids.

Finding hidden assets during a divorce

The financial aspects of a Florida divorce can be complex, convoluted, and challenging. Individuals who choose to pursue a divorce may wish to seek legal support so they are not disadvantaged when it comes to negotiating the settlement of their property, finances, and other assets. Professionals who work with high asset divorce clients can also help them find out if their clients' spouses have attempted to hide assets during their marital dissolutions.

Hidden assets are assets that may be divisible during a divorce but one of the parties has attempted to conceal them. When an asset is hidden, it may not be recognized as part of the marital estate and, therefore, the division of property may result in a smaller distribution for the party who has not concealed property from the other.

Preparing kids and schedules for the new school year

While many Florida families may still be planning end-of-summer vacations, it is impossible to deny that the school year is rapidly approaching. Children throughout the state will soon be going back to their classrooms and engaging with new friends, new teachers, and new academic experiences. For children of divorce, a new school year may pose new problems when it comes to following child custody schedules.

There are many reasons that the school year may put burdens on parents who are required to follow established custodial plans. When children change schools, the hours that they attend may change and may not be workable with the parents' work schedules. Additionally, as new school years begin, children may change or add to their load of extracurricular activities and have later practices, longer games, and greater expectations from their coaches and peers.

What to do when parenting time interference occurs

It can be hard for families to work around the individual schedules of their members, and this is especially true when families are divided by separation and divorce. Across Florida, parents are doing their best to make their lives work all while sharing their kids and attempting to provide them with love, stability and security. It can be difficult to find such a balance when custody and parenting time schedules are rigid.

However, when parents agree to the terms of their child custody plans they must do their best to honor their shared commitment to raising their kids with their former partners. Parents who take deliberate action to sabotage or make difficult the time their exes have with their kids may be guilty of parenting time interference.

When can a parent stop paying child support?

A parent's obligation to provide financial support to their child will be enforced by courts in Florida. Generally, parents who are required to pay child support will be subject to written agreements or orders that dictate when, how much, and how long their obligations will stand. For this reason, parents should first consult with their governing child support documents to determine if end dates are stipulated.

Generally, however, child support obligations do not last indefinitely. Certain events and actions may terminate these obligations, although many parents may choose to financially support their kids even when they are not legally required to. For example, in Florida, parents must support their children financially until the children are 18, but some parents may elect to pay for their kids to go to college.

Is a simplified dissolution for you?

Divorce is one of the most upsetting events that can happen in a person's life. It is a long and expensive process that can be made even worse when there are assets, children, or other areas of contention. Floridians considering a divorce may find it interesting to know that a relatively simple divorce process may be available.

Florida is one of the few states that allow couples to circumvent the normal divorce process in specified circumstances. The simple and less complicated procedure is called a simplified dissolution of marriage. The procedure is mostly faster than a regular dissolution of marriage and the decree may be issued by the court in only a few weeks.

Child custody and relocation laws in Florida - Part II

The responses in an object petition to relocation must be substantiated and based on facts. It should contain verified evidences supporting the grounds for seeking an injunction of the proposed move. It should also include a declaration stating the degree of involvement the non-custodial parent presently has in parenting or in the life of the child.

The court may give an interim order allowing the relocation of the child if it finds the relocation petition was properly filed and is in conformity with the laid down procedure and there is merit in the evidence presented at the preliminary trial. Conversely, the court may allow an interim order against the relocation of a child if it finds the relocation has been executed ignoring the compliances or consent of the other parent or approval of the appropriate court.

Child custody and relocation laws in Florida - Part I

It is common for people to relocate from one city or state to another. However, relocation may not be easy when children are involved. In some circumstances, the court may refuse to allow a custodial parent to move to a different city, state, or even another country with a child. So, if you are considering relocating for any reason, it's essential to understand how the move can potentially affect your custody arrangement and visitation schedule.

In a relocation dispute, the court will determine what would be in the child's best interest. Courts will allow relocation only if the non-custodial parent has expressly agreed in a written agreement, which also includes a planned visitation schedule. If such an agreement has not been executed, a parent who wishes to move must file a petition to relocate with details, such as their new address, contact number, date, the reason for the relocation and the new custody schedule and serve that agreement upon the other parent.

Child support modification when bankruptcy is imminent

After a divorce, it is the responsibility of both parents to provide financial support to their child. Courts are very serious about this responsibility and will not often discharge parents from this duty. However, sometimes parents have difficulty upholding those responsibilities. An example is when parents are unable to pay child support payments. And, this is often the case for people who are filing for bankruptcy.

If you're paying child support and planning on filing for bankruptcy, you may want to know how the filing will affect your child support responsibilities and if there is any way to get child support debts dismissed in case of a successful filing. A short answer to your question is no. Child support is considered a priority debt and cannot be cleared through bankruptcy. Priority debts are payment obligations that hold precedence over other debts, such as rent arrears, student and personal loans, and credit card debt.