Child Support in Florida
The purpose of child support to provide for the living expenses of the child, including food, shelter, clothing, health care, education, and more. Where you and your spouse can agree on a child support payment, you can present your terms to the court for approval. In cases where you do not agree or where issues arise in how the support payment is calculated, you will need to present your claims to the court for a determination.
Payments must be in line with the Florida Child Support Guidelines which calculate the amount based on the following factors:
- The combined monthly net income of you and your spouse.
- The number of children needing support.
Other factors that may influence child support payment amounts can include how much time you spend with the child in your timesharing plan, the cost of child care, health insurance issues, and a child’s specific medical, educational, or other needs. Courts have the authority to increase or decrease calculated child support payment amounts where it is deemed justified. In cases where the calculation amount is considered “unjust or inappropriate,” the courts can deviate by looking at all relevant factors. Thus, it is important to have all such factors presented to the court in any child support case. This includes the primary matter of income.
Income can include more than just wages and salaries. It can include government benefits, alimony from a previous marriage, investment income, retirement income, business and estate income, and more. This can often make the calculation of child support a complicated issue and can lead to unreported income.
Child support payments are generally ordered up until the child reaches the age of 18 but can be extended if the child is mentally or physically disabled or has not yet graduated from high school. Additionally, child support payments can be both modified and enforced through the courts.