Custody & Child Support

Child Support

Child support is often the subject of dispute in a divorce case, but it is an essential component to a child’s well-being and financial security.

Whether you are the parent paying or receiving, you may have questions and concerns about how to go about establishing child support amounts and payment.

If you have questions about your Florida child support, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A. can supply answers. Our Hillsborough County child support attorneys have been helping residents of Tampa,Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 16 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 452-6090. Our legal staff has the experience and the understanding to help you obtain a satisfactory agreement designed with the best interests of your children in mind.

Child support is ordered in a divorce case or paternity suit, and the amount is determined by one of two formulas known as the Child Support Guidelines. Child Support Formula A applies if one of the parents spends less than 146 overnights with the child and Child Support Formula B applies if the child spends at least 146 overnights with both parents.

In addition to the amount of overnights spent with each parent, the guidelines typically take into account the net incomes of both parents, the amount of day care needed for the parent to work or seek employment, the amount of health insurance premiums paid to cover the children, as well as the number of minor children. The court may require either parent to provide health insurance coverage if it is reasonably available through their employer or otherwise affordable.

Certain factors, such as the living expenses of the parent paying child support are not usually considered, but there are several other components that will be reviewed in assessing the amount of support. These include:

  • Unusual medical (including dental), psychological, or educational expenses
  • Any independent income of the child/children
  • Whether the parent receiving child support will receive both child support and alimony
  • Any seasonal variations in a parent’s income or expenses
  • The age of the child/children, (older children are typically presumed to have greater needs)
  • Any children with special needs
  • Any shared parental arrangement (146 overnights or more)
  • Any IRS Dependency Exemption

Once the amount of child support is determined, adjustments can be made if sudden financial circumstances change – but you must take the case back to court in order to modify the child support order.

If you are the paying parent and you are tempted to skip a payment because you’ve been denied visitation or because you are struggling financially – don’t. Failing to pay child support can result in suspension of your driver’s license or even jail time.

Contact the Tampa Bay divorce lawyers at Caveda Law Firm, P.A. – we can often renegotiate the terms of the child support order or make sure that your visitation schedule is being met. If you aren’t receiving your child support payments, the Hillsborough County family lawyers at the Caveda Law Firm, P.A. can help enforce the court order.

If you have questions about child support, or you need help with any aspect of your divorce, contact an attorney who has the experience and compassion to advocate on your behalf during this difficult transition. For a consultation with a child support lawyer in Tampa,Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County, Florida, contact the Caveda Law Firm at (813) 452-6090. We are ready to help.

Child Custody (Time Sharing)

As of October 1, 2008, the terms “custody” and “visitation” have been eliminated from the Florida Statutes.

There will no longer be a designation of a “primary residential parent” or a “secondary residential parent.” Instead, cases involving minor children are now required to have a “Parenting Plan” that details the time-sharing that will take place between each parent and each minor child. Although the terminology has changed, the fundamental issue of how much time each child will spend with each parent and when that time-sharing will occur must still be squarely addressed in every case. If the parents are unable to agree on a Parenting Plan, then the Judge will decide on the Parenting Plan the parties will be ordered to follow.

Many law firms represent clients in a variety of legal areas. At Caveda Law Firm, P.A., we focus on divorce and family law. That gives us a unique understanding of how a divorce can impact a family, as well as the emotional issues that surround child custody and time-sharing decisions. Time-sharing (physical custody) determines who the child will live with and when the child will share time (visitation) with the other parent. Parental Responsibility (legal custody) determines who will make the major decisions in the child’s life. Typically, both parents are entitled to the same rights in making major decisions (Shared Parental Responsibility), although courts can award Sole Parental Responsibility to one parent in all areas or in specific areas only (for example: medical or educational decisions)

If you have questions about your time-sharing (formerly child custody or visitation) case, the Tampa child custody (time-share) attorneys of Caveda Law Firm, P.A., have answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa,Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for over 22 combined years. Contact us today by calling (813) 452-6090. David Caveda, Tampa divorce lawyer, can help you navigate the process and make sure your child’s best interests are protected.

The state of Florida has a public policy to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a separation or divorce.

The state also encourages parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of child rearing. In determining issues between parents and their children, the best interest of the child is the court’s primary concern. This standard involves consideration of many different factors including:

  • Who is the primary caregiver?
  • Whether one parent is more likely to encourage and foster a positive relationship.
  • A parent’s psychological and physical fitness.
  • The child’s preference, if he or she is old enough to express one.
  • The financial ability to care for the child.
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence.
  • Keeping siblings together.

Of course, every situation is unique. Some people ask witnesses to testify to their child rearing skills and to show that they are a capable parent. Other times, witnesses are needed to testify that one parent is not a fit and proper person to have majority time-sharing (custody) of the children. Psychologists and sometimes psychiatrists get involved to interview the children and the parties to determine what is truly best for the children.

Often, one parent is awarded majority time-sharing (physical custody) while the other is awarded time-sharing (visitation) rights. Of course, joint physical custody also known as “rotating custody”, “substantial shared parenting”, “50/50 custody” or “50/50 time-sharing” is also an option.

In addition to where the child physically resides, parents are also awarded parental responsibility (legal custody) – either Sole Parental Responsibility (sole legal custody) to make all decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the child, or Shared Parental Responsibility (joint legal custody) where both parents participate in reaching those decisions.

The Caveda Law Firm, P.A., can assist you with issues involving any type of time sharing. Our Tampa family lawyers can also request modifications to child time-sharing (custody) orders as well as visitation orders. In addition to our child custody and divorce services, we also are prepared to handle the following:

  • Child Support
  • Family Law Appeals
  • Guardianship
  • Mediation
  • Parental Relocation
  • Prenuptial Agreements
Contact us today to discuss your legal options and schedule a consultation. For all of your Tampa divorce needs, Caveda Law Firm, P.A. is here to assist.

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