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Child Support: How Much is Too Much?

Child support is one of those necessary expenses that occur during a family split, and while some people will think they are paying too much, they really aren’t. It is true that there are some rare cases where child support amounts are over-inflated, but the law is very strict on how much (or how little) child support is necessary. Family Attorneys If you feel you are paying too much for child support, then contact a family attorney in Miami for a child support modification consultation. In some cases, you may be able to reduce how much you pay in child support.

Understanding How Child Support Works

When two parents split, the court decides how much of the two parents’ incomes have contributed to the child while the parents were still together. This “contribution” is what goes into factoring how much one parent pays the other for child support. It is important to note that even if one parent sees the child for overnight visits at their home, they may still be required to pay child support to the other primary care giving parent. No matter how much you are ordered to pay, it shouldn’t be looked at as a bill; instead, child support should be viewed as financial support for the child’s care, upbringing, and so on.

The Three Factors That Determine Child Support Amounts

If you feel you are paying too much for child support, you must realize that there are three common factors that typically determine the total amount paid to the other parent. These factors include:

  1. The income or income potential for each parent.
  2. The costs for child care – such as daycare or school programs – that each parent will face.
  3. The exact needs of the child and those needs that are age-based.

The Judge Has No Say

If you feel that your child support amount was too much, and you think it is because the judge didn’t like you, you’re probably wrong. The judge has no say in the child support amount. They are required to follow federal guidelines for determining child support based on the needs of the child. While a judge could reward the maximum within those guidelines, he or she cannot tack on excess monthly payment amounts due to personal feelings. These guidelines help ensure that non-custodial parents do not overpay for child support, but also to ensure judges and other legal professionals remain unbiased in the child support decisions.

So What if You Really Are Paying Too Much?

If you know the laws and still feel that you are paying too much or you have suffered from a job loss or other financial struggle, then you may have options to reduce the amount of child support you pay – either on a temporary or permanent basis. But, do realize that even if your ex has increased their earning potential or re-married, that doesn’t automatically qualify for a child support modification and you may still be required to pay the same amount. This is why it is important to speak with a skilled child support attorney in Miami to see if you have a case and possibly to help file for a modification order with family court.

Determining Eligibility for Child Support Modification

Not all noncustodial parents will qualify for a modification. The courts have strict rules for what they will allow in a modification request. And, you have two ways to go through a modification: through the court or by negotiating a new agreement with the custodial parent.

Requesting a Child Support Modification through the Court

If you are not on speaking terms with your ex or you feel they would not grant your request, you may be better off requesting a modification through family court. This requires you to attend a hearing (preferably with a family law attorney) to argue why you need to modify your court-ordered amount and prove why you qualify. You will need documentation showing that you are unable to pay the amount due, the amount is unfair or that you are suffering from financial hardship. Some reasons you may be able to decrease the amount include:

  • You have lost a job or the other parent has started working. If child support was based on a lower income from the other parent and they now have a higher paying job, then you may qualify for a child support modification.
  • You have proof you are paying extraordinary expenses for the child – such as covering extensive medical costs.
  • You feel the earnings for both parents were underestimated.
  • You have become disabled and are no longer able to work as much or as you used to.
  • You are experiencing a financial hardship.
  • You have significant changes in the cost of living you are experiencing.
  • Your household size has changed – such as you have re-married and had more children
  • The child no longer requires child care or you have been covering 100 percent of the child care costs instead of the court-ordered 50 percent

Negotiating with the Other Parent

Sometimes appealing to the other parent is the best route for reducing your child support – even if it is just on a temporary basis. You can speak with the other parent through your attorney or yourself and explain your situation. As long as the other parent agrees, you can enter a child support modification to the courts without a hearing or waiting for a judge to decide. This is probably the least costly route for reducing child support amounts, too.

Need to Reduce Your Child Support Payments? Contact the Family Attorneys at Estevez-Pazos Law Firm

We understand that sometimes things change, and sometimes you need to alter how much you pay for child support. While the courts make it difficult for non-custodial parents to lower their child support payments our attorneys can fight aggressively in court to help you reach a fair child support settlement amount. Contact us today for a consultation regarding your child support modification case. We will meet with you for initial consultations and with no obligations. Call us at 305-717-7130 to schedule your appointment.

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The Estevez-Pazos Law Firm, P.A.

135 San Lorenzo Avenue, Suite 650
Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Fax: 305-234-7028
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