Best interest of the children.
DETERMINING THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN
The best interests of the children is the main purpose of the Parenting Plan, regardless of who creates the document itself. In creating the Parenting Plan, all circumstances between the parties, including the parties' historic relationship, domestic violence, and other factors are taken into consideration. See - Florida Statute 61.13. Determination of the best interests of the children is made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interest of the minor children:
Every child deserves the financial support of both parents. It is the law in Florida that every dependent and/or minor child has the right to financial support from both parents. Florida law states that each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child. Both parents are required to provide financial support, but one parent may be ordered to pay a portion of his or her support for the children to the other parent. Florida has adopted guidelines for determining the amount of child support to be paid.
CALCULATION OF CHILD SUPPORT AMOUNT: CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
The amount of child support paid from one parent to another is based on guidelines defined in Florida Law. There is a form called the Florida Child Support Guidelines Worksheet on the Florida Supreme Court's site that will do the calculations for you. These guidelines are used the first time child support is ordered and every time the child support amount changes after that. When modifications are necessary, the same guidelines are used to review the order to see if the support amount should be changed.
Child support guidelines consider the net income of both parents; the child's health care costs; child care costs; and the number of overnights a child spends in each parent's home. A list of support amounts based on the number of children subject to child support and net income of the parents can be found in section 61.30, Florida Statutes, Child support guidelines.
The court or agency establishing support (usually Florida Department of Revenue) must use the set child support guidelines to decide the amount of child support that will go into a Florida child support order. In special circumstances, and as approved by the court, support amounts can be higher or lower than the guideline amounts. For example, a judge may consider a child's high medical expenses as a reason to change the support amount. In most cases, however, judges have to give written reasons why support amounts are different from guideline amounts.
MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT - WHY AND HOW
When a child support order is issued, the amount of child support is based on the income of both parents and the needs of the child. Over time the needs of a child or the parent's income may change. If this happens, you may want to ask for an increase or decrease in the ordered child support. This change is called a modification. A modification of child support normally requires the party requesting the change to prove that a "substantial change in circumstances has occurred." Chapter 61, Florida Statutes, provides the basis for proving a "substantial change in circumstances" upon which a modification of an existing child support order may be granted. However, the difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines must be at least 15% or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may decide that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE - CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM
Florida wants parents, not the State, to take care of their children. In all but two Florida counties, the Department of Revenue is the state agency responsible for Florida's Child Support Enforcement Program. The Department works with the courts, law enforcement, other Florida agencies and all other states to enforce support orders. The State Attorney's Office provides services in Miami-Dade County and the Manatee County Clerk of Court provides services in Manatee County.
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