Child Support in Florida

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In Florida both parents have a duty and responsibility to financially support a child to the age of majority in accordance with Florida statutory child support regulations, each parent’s respective income, and the needs of the child. Parents may be required to pay child support beyond the age of majority under specific circumstances. Parents may be required to pay child support past the age of majority if:

  1. The child is physically or mentally dependent, or
  2. The child is a dependent between the ages of 18–19 and is in high school studying to graduate. The award of child support should be based on monetary needs and ability to pay.

Child Support is a right that belongs to the child. It can not be waived by a parent or child, nor can a pre marital or post marital agreements waive or limit child support.

Florida sets forth statutory guidelines to determine the proportional child support amount owed by each parent. The statutory required child support is calculated based upon the total net income of both parents.  Once established, each parent is responsible for their respective share. When a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, income may be imputed to the parent.

Courts are reluctant to deviate from the statutory child support guidelines but can do so when extraordinary medical or educational expenses exist, there are seasonal variations in the income of the parent that has to pay the support, the child’s age warrants deviation or special shared parental arrangements exists. If the court chooses to depart from the guidelines by more than 5% the court needs to enter written findings and justifications for the deviation.

A child support order must contain a provision for health insurance if such insurance is reasonable in cost and accessible to the child. It also must provide that support will terminate on the child’s 18th birthday, unless there is a justification to go past that date, a schedule stating the amount of the monthly support that will be owed for any remaining children after one or more are no longer entitled to receive support, and provide the specific date that the reduction or termination of support becomes effective.

In Florida, there is no duty to provide a college education, but the parents may agree to do so in the child support order.

Child support may come in the form of payment or by indirect benefits, such as mortgage payments, insurance, or payment of medical and dental expenses.

Other questions may need to be answered, depending on the circumstances of your case. Guidelines for the amount of support apply to all cases and are based on the income of the parents and the number of children, with adjustments for substantial overnight contact.

If you have a problem receiving support payments from your spouse or former spouse, or the time-sharing plan is not being followed, you should bring this matter to the attention of the court right away.

It is not legal to withhold time-sharing or child-support payments because either parent fails to pay court-ordered child support or violates the time-sharing schedule in the parenting plan.

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If you need assistance with compassion and respect in the handling of your child support payments in Palm Beach, Broward, or Miami Dade, or if you simply have a few questions about child support in Florida please contact us.

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