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Florida Child Support FAQs

Parents who divorce or break up will almost always continue to be a part of one another’s lives through the process of raising their children. Florida family courts will attempt to find a fair division of time that each parent will have with their child, as well as a fair division of the costs of raising that child. Read on to learn the answers to some frequently asked questions about Florida child support, and contact the skilled and effective Clearwater family law attorneys at The Law Firm for Family Law with any additional questions.

How is child support calculated in Florida?

Courts in Florida calculate child support by looking at the net income of each parent, the number of children, the amount of overnights that each parent spends with the child/children, and other expenses such as the cost of daycare and health care for the child. The court will use what’s known as an “income shares model” to determine what child support should be paid by estimating the amount that the parents would spend on their children if the family still lived in one home, and then dividing that amount between the parents in proportion to their income.

Can the amount of child support be changed?

There are cases where Florida courts can change the amount of child support that parents owe from what would be due under the formula courts use to calculate support. If the variation from the formula is 5% or less, judges may rely solely on their discretionary authority to make the change. If the change would be more than 5% higher or lower than the result of the formula, courts will need to see evidence of why the change should occur based on factors such as:

  • A child’s special needs
  • A change in the paying parent’s income based on seasonal variation
  • Supplemental sources of income for the child, such as trust income or supplemental security income paid to the child
  • The child’s age, under the assumption that older children need greater financial support
  • Unexpected costs related to the child’s medical, dental, psychological, or educational needs
  • Changes to the parents’ assets and resources

What happens if my co-parent doesn’t pay?

Only in dire circumstances are parents relieved of the obligation to support their children financially, and parents can face stiff penalties for failing to provide the support they owe for their children’s care. Florida courts have a number of tools at their disposal to get non-paying parents to meet their child support obligation, such as by garnishing their wages, intercepting tax refunds, suspending their driver’s license, or even criminal prosecution. An attorney at The Law Firm for Family Law in Clearwater can help you petition the court for assistance when your co-parent refuses to uphold their legal duty to support your child.

When does child support end in Florida?

By default, Florida child support ends on the child’s 18th birthday. If the child has not yet graduated from high school, support may continue until they do. Courts may also extend child care in cases where the child has a serious disability that requires ongoing in-home care.

Get Help in Clearwater Child Support from a Board-Certified Expert in Florida Family Law

For board-certified legal help with a Florida custody dispute or other family law issue, contact the skilled and effective Clearwater child support attorneys at The Law Firm for Family Law at 727-531-8737.

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