How Does Child Support Work In Florida?

It is the public policy of Florida that both parents should financially support their child. Therefore, "child support" technically belongs to the child and not the parent receiving the support. However, this does not mean the receiving parent has to spend the money is a certain fashion. As the parent of the child, they can spend the money as they see fit. This can be very frustrating for the paying parent. This is one reason why it is very important to have proper counsel when navigating this area of family law.

Common Child Support Questions

  1. How is it calculated? Florida essentially uses a formula commonly referred to as the Child Support Guidelines to determine how much of a child support obligation to order. The key components of the formula are: a) the number of children, b) the number of overnights spent with each parent, and c) the combined net monthly income of both parents.
  2. If Child Support is a set formula why is it so contested? While the parties generally do not argue about the number of minor children between them, it is very easy to see how the parties may not agree on what their monthly incomes actually are and how many overnights they should receive. Monthly net income is a common highly contest issue. Regarding overnights - Florida no longer uses the term custody and instead uses the term timesharing. Instead the number of overnights used in the formula is taken from the parties' timesharing plan.
  3. If my divorce isn't finalized for months and I need help now to support my children, what can I do? During the divorce process you can request an order from the court for temporary child support and temporary alimony if your spouse isn't cooperating and you need assistance before your final hearing.
  4. Can the amount of child support I am ordered to pay change if I lose my job? It is possible to request a modification of a child support order when a significant financial change in circumstances occurs. A loss of employment or dramatic income reduction can be the basis for a modification. However, please note that a court will only modify from the date of the filing of a Supplemental Petition for Child Support Modification. Simply put, the court only modifies from the date you ask it to. So if you wait (sometimes people wait years) the total amount owed continues to build up into a large and unmanageable number and the court is not permitted to reduce it even if the judge wanted to.

If you have any other questions regarding child support or any other family law questions please contact our office today to speak with attorney Adam Bragg .