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Child Support Lawyer

Child support can be a stressful issue for many couples during and after a divorce.

When you need help coming to a fair arrangement or modifying your existing payments, you need child support lawyer Donna J. Sutton.

Our firm, serving St. Petersburg, Bartow, and Lakeland, FL, is here to provide the advocacy you need.

Why Trust Sutton Law Firm? Ms. Sutton Is Board-Certified in Marital and Family Law

If you are a divorced parent, or planning or filing for divorce, you will likely encounter difficult problems that you can't handle alone. Child support attorney Debra J. Sutton has practiced family law and appellate law in Polk County for 25 years. She is one of less than 1% of lawyers in the state who are board-certified in marital and family law. Ms. Sutton has helped many clients like you navigate even the most complicated divorce and child support cases.

Contact our practice and speak to a lawyer about your family law needs today. You can request a consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartow.

Give us a call:

 (863) 251-9832

Debra J. Sutton

5-Star Reviews


Jimmie Chestnut


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If you are looking for the most knowledgeable Attorney in Central Florida. Look no further. Debra and her staff are the best around. My advice to anyone that wants the best possible outcome for their case: Follow the staffs directions to the tee. Work as hard as you can to provide the detailed information that is needed for you case. The Sutton Law Firm is my go to firm, even if my needs are outside of their normal expertise. I would seek a referral, knowing that they have a working relationship with a number excellent Attorney's.

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Buddy Johnston


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Debra set up my corporation, has advised me in various legal matters and has referred me to a specialist when I need it, and has assisted my family and friends when they needed her help. She advised my sister and brother-in-law during their turbulent financial times, and my lifelong friend when he had many questions about his son's divorce. She has been benevolent in her legal advice to the volunteers of my nonprofit organization, and she referred a troubled business owner friend to a legal immigration specialist who solved her problem. Debra's advice has always been professional, knowledgeable and from her heart. I trust her and would refer her for any legal matter anyone might have as she has always gone the extra mile to address my concerns.

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Florida Child Support Laws

Child support is the responsibility of every parent. To ensure children are provided for following a divorce or separation, the State of Florida has child support guidelines to determine each parent's financial responsibility. The amount is based on several factors, including:

Financial Resources

Your financial resources include not only salary or monthly income, but your current assets. It also includes settlements, disability and social security benefits, and any other legal form of payment.

Time Sharing

The court takes into account the amount of time each parent has the child in their care. This is called child custody in many states—in Florida, it's called time sharing. This percentage relates directly to the share of financial responsibility. If you have the majority of time with your children, you may be entitled to a greater amount of support.

Child Care Costs

Child care costs include all the expenses involved in raising a child. This covers everything from basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, healthcare) to daycare, education, and extracurricular activities. 

It can be difficult to understand calculation of child support payments, and Ms. Sutton is here to answer your questions and advocate for an arrangement that serves your child's best interests. Parents throughout Polk County can turn to our lawyer for the board-certified counsel your case deserves.

How Child Support Factors Relate

Child support payments are often made by the parent with the lesser amount of time sharing to the parent with the greater amount of time sharing. The rationale is that the person with the most time (often called the custodial parent in other states) is responsible for providing the greatest amount of care for the child. However, child support is also granted in situations where parents have equal time sharing if one parent earns a higher income. 

When Can I File for Child Support?

It is a common misconception that a child support court order is granted only in a divorce. While divorce is the most common reason to file for child support, it is not the only way to be eligible. Our clients in the greater Polk County region may also qualify if they:


While Florida is one of the few states that does not recognize legal separation, you can still file for time sharing (child custody) without initiating a divorce. 

Establish Paternity

When you take action to establish paternity, your case can also include a request for child support payments. 

Reaching the Best Outcome In Your Case

During a separation or divorce, you and your ex may be unable to agree on the terms of your child support. In these situations, it can be extremely useful to have a lawyer to assist in mediation. When an attorney can facilitate communication and negotiate the terms of your agreement outside of court, it can make the process much faster and less stressful. However, Debra Sutton is a lawyer who is not afraid to take a child support case to court if that is the best way to reach a fair and appropriate outcome.  

If you feel like your child support arrangement fails to meet your children's needs, or that you are being asked to pay an amount of child support that is beyond your means, contact the Sutton Law Firm today. During a consultation at our Lakeland, St. Petersburg, or Bartow offices, Debra Sutton can review your case and explain your options. 

How Long Does Child Support Last?

In most cases, child support obligations terminate when a child reaches the age of 18. It can be extended to the age of 19 if the child is still in high school. The exception is children with special needs who will need continued care through adulthood. 

If you have more questions about your child support obligations and wish to speak to an attorney, contact Sutton Law Firm today. You can send us a message or request a consultation at our offices in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, or Bartow. 

5-Star Reviews


Vicki Watson


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I have hired Ms. Sutton twice and both times she has gone above and beyond. She is professional but also caring. More then once she called me to calm my anxiety about my case. Her professionalism and knowledge of the law in the courtroom made me glad she was my lawyer. Hopefully I never need a lawyer again, but if I do, I will hire Ms. Sutton.

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David Smith


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Recently necessity required yet again I reach out to Ms. Sutton for legal matters. Debra has handled my legal representation for family matters for over 13 years. Never has she waivered from anything but professional and effective legal representation. She will remain your advocate throughout any process from start to finish and continue to provide prompt service after the case is completed. If you need an attorney who will be YOUR advocate during stressful times, this is the one. You won’t be disappointed.

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Debra J. Sutton

Sutton Law Firm

Debra J. Sutton is an attorney who is board-certified in both appellate practice and marital and family law by the Florida Bar. At the Sutton Law Firm, with offices in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Kovschak, and their team provide individualized, compassionate, and private legal services. Our popular practice areas include:

You can request a consultation with our board-certified attorney right now by filling out our online form or calling (863) 533-8912.

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Lakeland Office

625 Commerce Dr
Lakeland, FL 33813

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St Petersburg Office

7024 Central Ave
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Bartow Office

325 W Main St
Bartow, FL 33830

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