Child Support in Florida - Know Your Rights

Florida Child Support laws are clear: If there are minors involved there is child support. However, what many parents get confused about is how much child support payments are and what exactly it includes.

Child support pays for the roof over the child’s head, food, electricity and different essentials. Oftentimes, child support also includes healthcare costs. The parent that has the child the majority of the time receives support from the other parent to cover these costs.

How is child support calculated?

Child support payments are calculated based upon a formula, which takes into account the net income of both parents, and certain specified expenses including but not limited to health insurance being paid for both the parents and the children, and the daycare costs, if any. In addition, the formula also takes into consideration the number of over-night stays the child spends with each parent. To calculate the amount of child support that you may be entitled to, click here.

My child has over 73 overnight stays each year. Do I still need to pay child support?

If the parent with less time has at least 73 overnights each year, then the amount of time-sharing will be included in the calculation of child support because both parents will need to provide food, clothing and shelter for the child during their stay.

My child is 6 years old and I haven’t requested child support. Is it too late?

Not usually. At the time when child support is initially established, retroactive support may be established for the time period between the date the parents separated and the date that the child support order goes into effect.

I lost my job. Do I still need to pay child support?

Child support can be modified at any time if an unanticipated and permanent change in circumstances can be proven. What constitutes a substantial change in circumstances includes but is not limited to, the loss of a job, the disability of a parent, an increase in the costs of health insurance or daycare, or a substantial increase or decrease (15% or greater) in either parent's income. If a parent has lost their job and is diligently looking for work and cannot find it, then that parent has the right to file a modification action and seek a reduction of child support. However, if the parent does not have a job and is refusing to look for a new one in order to avoid paying child support, there are consequences.

How do I know that the other parent is actually spending the money I pay for child support for the benefit of the child?

The law doesn’t require the parents to account for how child support is being used, or that it be used only for the benefit of the child for whom it is intended. The responsibility of both parents is to provide a lifestyle for the child that is equal to the kind of lifestyle he or she would have if both parents lived under one roof.

Each child support case is different based on a client’s unique circumstances. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to work hard for your child’s rights. To speak to an experienced family law attorney, please call us today.