Florida Child Support FAQs
Do you have questions about obtaining, enforcing, or modifying a child support order in Florida? If so, you are not alone. Child support can be a confusing area of the law and unfortunately many parents are left with questions about their legal rights and responsibilities. This article is designed to help ease confusion by answering some commonly asked questions about Florida’s child support system but it is important that note that each child support case is unique and that anyone with case specific questions be sure to consult with a local family law attorney.
Q: What is child support?
A: Child support (also referred to as “child maintenance”) is an ongoing periodic payment that one parent pays to the other for the financial benefit of their shared child. In approximately 99 percent of Florida child custody cases the court also awards child support because every parent has a legal responsibility to financially provide for their minor children. The parent who has the children for the majority of the time (i.e. the custodial parent) is assumed to pay directly for the child’s necessities while the other parent (i.e. the noncustodial parent) is generally the parent who is required to pay child support. These support payments are intended to help pay for the child’s basic necessities, including housing costs, food, clothing, educational expenses, etc.
Q: I’m about to get divorced, how much can I expect to pay (or receive) in child support?
A: When a Florida court determines how much child support a parent should pay/receive they generally follow our state’s child support guidelines. Determining child support under these guidelines can be quite complicated, but in a nutshell the court considers:
- The income of both parents,
- The child’s health care and child care costs, and
- The standard needs of the child.
Keep in mind that the court takes each parent’s income is taken into consideration because parents are not expected to split the cost of raising their child 50/50. A parent who makes more will be expected to contribute more financially to help raise the couple’s child. These calculations are involved but you can easily estimate approximately how much child support will likely be awarded in your case by using the Florida Child Support Calculator.
Q: I have a child support order but my ex-spouse is behind on their payments, what can I do?
A: According to the Florida Department of Revenue’s website, there a number of actions that the Florida Child Support Enforcement Program can take when a parent is not complying with their child support order. These actions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Sending a late payment notice,
- Suspending the delinquent parent’s Florida driver’s license,
- Reporting past due support to credit agencies,
- Suspending business, professional, and recreational licenses,
- Placing liens on personal property,
- Confiscating federal income tax refunds,
- Confiscating Florida lottery winnings totaling over $600,
- Confiscating support payments from workers’ compensation benefits,
- Confiscating support payments from the delinquent parent’s paycheck,
- Confiscating money from the delinquent parent’s bank accounts, and/or
- Negotiating with the delinquent parent to form a payment agreement in order to collect past due support.
Q: Is it possible to modify a child support order in Florida?
A: Yes, it is possible to modify a child support order in Florida. Either parent may request the court to modify an existing child support order if a change in financial and/or life circumstances warrants a modification to be made. Generally speaking, a parent must wait at least three years before they can request a modification, but this is not always the case so if you are interested in petitioning the court to modify a child support order before three years have passed it is advisable to consult with a local family law attorney about your legal options.
Do You Need Legal Advice?
If you would like legal advice about obtaining, enforcing, or modifying a child support order in Florida contact the Madonna Law Group today. With over 40 years of collective family law experience our Dade City family law attorneys understand how deeply personal and extremely emotional family law matters can be. Therefore, our firm is committed getting positive results for our clients as quickly and as painlessly as possible. To find out how we can help you call our Dade City office today at (352) 567-0411.