Are you tired of asking your child(ren)’s father to help financially support his child(ren)? Or are you filing for divorce with minor children involved? If you are a single parent in need of child support or if you are going through a divorce in Florida, it is important that you get the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding child support laws, regulations and policies. In Florida, the right to child support belongs to the child(ren) and therefore, the court will do what is in the best interest of the child(ren) when ruling on child support matters. Both parents, whether they are married or not, are obligated to support their minor child(ren). When a parent ceases or refuses to support their child(ren), it is imperative that the other parent retain legal counsel immediately in order to protect the child(ren)’s right to support.
Establishing Child Support:
In Florida, the courts refer to the current version of the Florida Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support payments. Unlike alimony, which is determined based on the assets and liabilities of each party, child support is determined based on a mathematical formula using net incomes of each party. Each parent is required to file and exchange financial affidavits verifying their individual income and expenses. Factors the courts consider when determining child support are:
- The income of both parents;
- The child(ren)’s health insurance;
- Child care costs; and
- The number of over-nights the child(ren) spend with each parent;
Retroactive child support:
When child support is established, retroactive support may also be established for up to twenty-four months prior to the date of filing the Petition for Child Support. Florida courts may require a noncustodial parent to contribute or pay for expenses paid by the custodial parent before the custodial parent filed for child support or before a divorce was finalized. Florida courts may allow the noncustodial parent to make these retroactive payments either in a lump sum amount or instalment payments.
Modifications of Child Support:
It is important that child support payments are properly calculated from the beginning because modifications can be costly. A child support order is modifiable at any time if there is a substantial, permanent and unanticipated change in circumstances. A substantial change in circumstances can include the loss of a job, the disability of a parent, an increase in the costs of day-care, or a substantial increase or decrease in either parent’s income. Attorneys at our firm can help you determine if you will be able to modify your child support obligation.
Termination of Child Support:
In Florida, child support obligations normally continue until the child(ren) reaches the age of eighteen (18) or until a full-time high school student reaches nineteen (19) years of age. Other exceptions do apply if the child mentally or physically disabled.
The Child Support Enforcement Program of the Florida Department of Revenue is responsible for helping parents obtain and enforce child support orders, which also includes locating absentee parents and establishing paternity, if necessary.
Although the calculation of child support is less complex and arbitrary as some may believe, it is best to always seek the legal guidance of an experienced child support attorney. Attorney Natlie G. Figgers can help you with documenting everything you will need to successful bring a Petition for Child Support, as well as accurately computing your gross income and taking advantage of all allowable deductions. We will ensure that your child support order reflects what is in the best interest of your child(ren).