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Factors to be considered in child support decisions

Child support guidelines were created to provide direction to courts, but such guidelines were also designed to provide courts discretion in looking at the individual circumstances of each child's case. Florida's guidelines only differ from every other state in the particulars.

Like other states, Florida courts prefer that couples work together in making their arrangements concerning child support and not have all decisions made by the court. The challenges regarding child support is having both sides abide by the agreement once it is made.

Rather than recommend a specific payment amount, guidelines for courts provide a range for what amount of child support should be paid. Obligations can vary depending upon a parent's income and financial circumstances, but other factors go into such a consideration as well.

These factors may include:

  • The financial needs of the child concerning daily care, education, and special needs
  • A parent's ability to pay a certain amount of the child support obligation
  • Striving to make sure a child's standard of living is not reduced following a divorce

Family law attorneys will try to do all that is necessary to insure that such factors are met, and will address any other special needs obligations as well. These attorneys also understand how specific localities such as Fort Lauderdale differ in the making of child support decisions.

As in all legal disputes where children are concerned, more than guidelines will have to be used in making a determination. The best interest of the child has to be at the center of any decision.

Source: Reuters, "How Child Support Calculations Work," by Andrew Lu, August 12, 2012

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