Tony Schehtman’s ex-wife reported him to the State Attorney’s office for shirking on $3,632.25 in child support. But there was one problem — it wasn’t true. Schehtman had in fact paid child support in a timely manner, but was nevertheless embroiled in a lengthy legal battle to clear his name. In the process, the government even froze his passport. But now, the law is on this dad’s side. A Miami judge called prosecutors “reprehensible” and ordered them to pay Schehtman’s legal bills. The prosecutors and Schehtman’s ex-wife must each pay $7,645 in legal fees.
Child support is a legally enforced order that directs what a parent must do or pay for the support of his or her child. The obligation lasts until the child reaches 18 years of age, marries, is emancipated, joins the armed forces or dies. The amount of child support that a parent must pay is based on guidelines under Florida law. The child support chart calculates the combined monthly available income along with the number of children to determine the amount of child support for standard care. For example, if you have combined monthly available income of $3,000, the chart specifies the following child support:
- One child – $644
- Two children – $1,001
- Three children – $1,252
- Four children – $1,412
- Five children – $1,540
- Six children – $1,647
The court will look at the guidelines to determine the initial child support calculation, as well as for future adjustments in the support order. However, the court may also order an amount higher or lower than the guidelines specify. In this case, the judge would give a written explanation for the departure. For example, if a child has special medical needs that are very costly, the child support order may be higher.
In a child support matter, it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side. The process is oftentimes complicated, and an attorney can help protect your rights.