Child And Spousal Support

Child support and spousal support (also called alimony) are among the most complex, highly contested issues involved in a divorce. Determining the correct amount of support and getting the best possible settlement requires a divorce lawyer who is knowledgeable about Florida’s child support guidelines and spousal support laws. Jacksonville attorney Leonard has experience working with child and spousal support issues since 2010 – as an attorney and as a family law mediator.

At the Workers Legal Services, we are committed to helping Duval County residents with child support and alimony matters. We look forward to helping you get the best possible results. If you need legal help, we will work aggressively on your behalf.

Highly Skilled in Child Support Cases

In Florida, the amount of child support to be paid is almost always determined by the statutory child support guidelines. The guidelines take into consideration the number of children, the parents’ incomes, the custody and time-sharing arrangements and other factors. Determining the correct amount of child support can be more difficult when one parent’s income is not easily verified, as in cases of self-employment or variable income.

Our firm’s work begins by filing a motion to get child support started if needed, while simultaneously working on matters of custody and visitation. When necessary, we can help you establish paternity in order to collect child support.

Child support – and spousal support – matters can be handled in different courthouses in Duval County. Child support can involve the Department of Child Support Services if one parent is receiving welfare benefits, or if one parent uses the DCSS in the establishment or collection of the child support.

If your case does not involve welfare or if you are not asking the Department of Child Support Services to establish or collect your child support, then your matter is handled in the Family Court. Effective January 2008. All parties must file a Declaration of Residence when they open a new case or if they are now requesting a modification of prior orders that was established prior to November 1, 2007 to determine where your matter will be heard.

Spousal support (also called alimony) is the payment of funds by one spouse to the other spouse, either while the divorce is pending, or after the divorce. Generally, spousal support is ordered when there is a disparity in the spouse’s respective incomes and earning abilities. Unlike child support, the amount of spousal support is not always determined by a mathematical formula. Rather, the court looks at a number of factors, such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The ability of each spouse to support themselves, considering the standard of living during the marriage
  • Whether one spouse was unemployed for periods during the marriage to care for children or attend to domestic duties
  • The income, education, training, and employment experience of each spouse
  • The ability of one spouse to pay spousal support
  • The property, assets and debt obligations awarded to each spouse in the divorce
  • Each party’s income, earning capacity, marketable skills
  • The time and expenses needed for one party to obtain training or education needed to find and maintain employment

Leonard represents clients seeking an award of spousal support and those opposing court-ordered alimony. We have extensive experience analyzing spousal support issues, including its interrelation with property division, and the tax ramifications of alimony payments. We are skilled at effectively communicating the short-term and long-term support needs of her clients in negotiations and in court. We can help clients prove their need for spousal support, as well as defend against having to pay alimony.

Modifications of Spousal and Child Support

Following a divorce, many things can change. People switch jobs, retire or become disabled. Children can require expensive medical treatment or develop special needs. When there is a significant change in either spouse’s income, ability to work or a change affecting the needs of minor children, child support and spousal support may need to change too. We help clients obtain modifications to current orders should a change in the circumstances of either party make a modification necessary.

Dealing with Unpaid Support Arrears

We also deals with unpaid child and spousal support arrears, in which back child support is owed. We can explain what you must pay or what you can expect to receive in arrears.