Learn What You Need to Know About Legal Guardianship in Florida

Guardianship can refer to the legal custody of a non-biological child, disabled adult child, or an incapacitated adult. This generally becomes a litigious matter when a parent (or current caretaker) passes away or fails to meet the legal standards for guardianship. Common forms of establishing guardianship include adoption, foster care, and guardian ad litem (GAL), which is a court-appointed volunteer who represents the interests of a child. In other circumstances, individuals are looking to relinquish guardianship, emancipate themselves from guardianship, or protect themselves in cases of surrogacy and child reproductive rights.

Regardless of whatever guardianship matters come your way in life, it is wise to retain legal counsel from a seasoned Orlando family lawyer you can trust for intelligent and practical solutions that work for you.

Orlando Child Custody/Child Support Lawyer
Orlando Child Custody/Child Support Lawyer 407-887-7058

Who to Trust for Family Legal Advice

Here at the Law Office of Shane T. Herbert, we provide comprehensive guardianship legal representation for families of all types here in Orlando, Florida. From general guardianship actions and modifications, to adoption, foster care, emancipation, reproductive rights, surrogacy, custodial rights, and more, we are your trusted source for preserving your family’s best interests. Whether you wish to adopt your step-child, enter into a foster care initiative, or obtain guardianship for a senile parent with Alzheimer’s, our law firm retains the knowledge and means to ensure your case is as successful as possible.

Our primary guardianship practice areas include, but are not limited to, adoption, step-parent adoption, second parent adoption, same sex couple adoption, foster care, emancipation, guardian ad litem, reproductive rights, surrogacy, and more.

Get In Touch Today

Contact Shane T. Herbert Law, LLC at 407-887-7058 to learn what you need to know about child custody and support in Orlando, Florida. You may also submit a free email, and we will get back to you shortly after. For your added convenience, office visits are not required for initial consultations, as we are happy to provide them over the phone when scheduled.

Orlando Family Lawyer 407-887-7058
Shane T. Herbert Law 407-887-7058

How Long Do I Have to Pay Child Support?

If you are paying child support in Florida, do not assume that your legal obligations end when your kid turns 18 years old. There are exceptions to this rule, depending on your family’s needs and circumstances. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about child support payments and laws in Florida, as well as, where to find trusted legal advice for your family matters.

Orlando Child Support Attorney 407-887-7058
Orlando Child Support Attorney 407-887-7058

Child Support End Dates in Florida

In October of 2010, Florida legislated a statute requiring that all child support orders have an end date for child support payments. This means that any child support orders established before October of 2010 do not contain end dates, and will continue as valid orders until terminated. Furthermore, there is something called an Income Withholding Order that usually goes along with a child support order. This order is required by law to have an end date.

Child Support Beyond 18 Years Old

As a result of rising costs of post-secondary education, market inflation, and similar economic variables, the need for extended financial support for guardians of children is more common among families of all income brackets. And to the benefit of many families, the state of Florida allows certain legal recourse to satisfy those needs, so long as the courts agree.

Normally, under Florida law, child support payments are to end on a child’s 18th birthday, unless both parties agree to another arrangement. Either guardian can put in a court order to modify child support in any way, so long as the order is filed within a certain time frame.

When making such modifications, the length of time a legal guardian might be ordered to pay child support mostly depends on when the child graduates high school, and at what age. There are some cases in which child support must be paid until a child reaches the age of 19 years old, or perhaps indefinitely.

Here in Florida, the law might recognize certain limits on child support payments, such as:

Graduates BEFORE 18 Years Old – Child Support Ends on 18th Birthday

Graduates AFTER 18 Years Old – Child Support Ends on Graduation Day

Graduates AFTER 19 Years Old – Child Support Ends on 19th Birthday

Not Graduating Before 19 Years Old – Child Support Ends on 18th Birthday

Extended or Indefinite Child Support

As mentioned, there are several cases in which child support might be granted beyond a child’s 18th and 19th birthday, and in some cases, permanently. In the case of children who are special needs, terminally ill, or mentally or physically incapacitated, the state might grant extended or indefinite child support, depending on the circumstances.

Step-Parent Child Support

Many divorcing couples share blended families, which leads many step parents asking about rights surrounding child support. In Florida, step-parents are not required to pay child support to non-biological children, nor do the courts consider a step-parent’s income when calculating child support awards.

Florida child support is complex, as the rights and legal obligations of child support varies greatly among families. To get the best possible outcome for your family, you need professional legal advisor who can help you better understand your unique case.

Contact the Law Office of Shane T. Herbert at 407-887-7058 to speak with a child support lawyer in Orlando, Florida about your family legal matters. You can choose to have your first appointment over the phone or even video conference, if needed. If you choose an in-office visit, our family law office is conveniently located in the Metro West area, within the Offices of Veranda Park, which offers free parking. We look forward to helping you resolve your family legal matters.

Orlando Family Lawyer 407-887-7058
Shane T. Herbert Law 407-887-7058

Frequently Asked Questions About Kids and Divorce

Earlier this week, we discussed the most common questions family law clients have about Florida divorce statutes, procedures, and more. In today’s blog, as promised, we will discuss some frequently asked questions about divorce when kids are involved. Continue reading to learn some helpful information about getting a divorce in Florida when you have biological or step children.

Orlando Child Support Lawyer
Orlando Child Support Lawyer 407-887-7058

How Much Child Support Will Be Ordered to Pay?

In Florida, the law requires both parents (or legal guardians) to provide financial support of their child. The amount of money the law mandates parents to contribute will depend on a number of factors unique to your situation, all of which are applied to the child support guidelines set forth by Florida legislature. To calculate child support payments, the uses these two primary factors to make their considerations:

Combined Income (Before Expenses) – If you make $1,000 a month, and your spouse makes $3,000 per month, the state will add your incomes together to develop a combined income of $4,000 per month.

Percentage of Income to Combined Total – The state will then consider what percentage each spouse contributes to the combined income. Using the example of $4,000 combined income, your percentage would be 25%, while your spouse contributes 75%.

Do I Have to Pay Child Support for a Step Child?

Here in Florida, stepparents are not legally required to contribute to the financial support of a stepchild after the dissolution of marriage. This also applies to marriages in which a spouse is paying an ex-spouse child support. Because they are married and have joint finances, they are both technically paying child support to the ex-spouse. But the law will not force a stepparent to do so, nor garnish their wages, unless an adoption occurred. Child support is solely the responsibility of the custodial parents. One exception to this rule involves a legal act called In Loco Parentis, which means a person has legally taken on some parental responsibilities to a stepchild, without actually adopting them.

Can I Change Child Support Orders?

In order to contest or change your current child support obligations, you will need to show the courts that an unanticipated and long-lasting change has occurred to your income or financial needs. Such changes may include job losses or promotions, medical expenses, and similar significant events. Typically, a court will not consider the request unless the change calls for at least 15% modification of monthly child support payments, whether an increase or decrease.

Can I Request Temporary Child Support?

Not only can you go to the courts and petition for temporary child support, you can also petition for alimony, custody, visitation rights, and more. Talk to your family lawyer for information on how to get started.

How Do I Change My Child Custody Agreement?

If you are not happy with the child custody agreement prior to or during your divorce, you can petition for a child custody modification. In order to be granted a modification, you will need to show the court that there is a legitimate reason for the change, such as a significant change in circumstances, whether for you or your spouse. Your Orlando family law attorney will help you facilitate all of these needs.

Can My Ex Move to Another State with Our Child?

If you are a non-custodial parent, and your ex-spouse wishes to move to another state, you are protected under Florida law to a certain extent. You have the right to petition for a child custody modification, as mentioned before, but there is no guarantee that the court will grant your request.

Can I Get Custody of My Step Child?

In the state of Florida, you can only get custody of a stepchild after a divorce if an adoption takes place. Otherwise, a stepparent post-divorce has no legal right to a stepchild. Furthermore, Florida does not recognize any visitation rights of stepparents. So after you divorce, you may not be able to get a court to grant you visitation rights to a stepchild.

A Florida Divorce Law Firm That Can Help

Call the Law Office of Shane T. Herbert at 407-887-7058 for help with your child support and child custody matters in Florida. You can trust our seasoned legal team to meet your family law needs, as our case results speak for themselves. Office visits are not required for initial consultations, as we are happy to provide them over the phone or even video conference, if needed. Contact our Orlando Family Law office at 407-887-7058 to learn what you need to know about resolving or addressing your family legal matters, swiftly and securely.

Shane T. Herbert, Attorney at Law
Shane T. Herbert, Attorney at Law 407-887-7058