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Judges can deviate from Florida's child support guidelines

Raising a child to the age of majority is expensive. Initially, parents are inundated with costs for new clothes and furniture, toys, diapers and childcare, which can eat into a family's financial resources quite hardily. Then, as the child ages, other expenses can accumulate, including those related to school, not to mention the day-to-day expenses that must be dealt with until the child turns 18. Meeting these financial needs can be challenging for a couple, but it can become even more difficult or even impossible when a divorce or breakup leaves a custodial parent on the financial hook.

Fortunately, Florida's state law recognizes that it is in a child's best interest to be financially supported by both parents. Therefore, custodial parents can seek child support from noncustodial parents. The amount of support that may be ordered is dependent upon a number of factors, including the child's needs, age, the standard of living enjoyed while the parents were together and each parent's financial position.

Of course, the state has child support guidelines to help judges determine how much child support to order, but they are allowed to deviate from these guidelines by up to five percent based on the factors mentioned above. They can even go beyond that five percent threshold if they provide written justification. What does this mean for Florida parents? It means that they need to enter child support disputes with an eye on making competent legal arguments that support their positions.

Therefore, regardless of whether one is seeking to obtain child support, minimize the effect of such an order or modify an already existing child support order, competent legal representation can prove beneficial. A skilled family law attorney may be able to help gather supporting evidence and craft compelling arguments that may persuade a judge to rule in one's favor. Every case is different, though, so those looking to determine the best way to approach their case should consider seeking out an initial consultation with one of these attorneys.

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