Common Child Support Questions
Parents who decide to separate are required to contend with a number of complicated legal issues, including who will pay child support. While we have included a list of some of the most common questions we are asked about child support in Florida, we also recognize that these are by no means the only questions that a parent may have, so if you need help with your own child custody or support-related questions or concerns, you should reach out to an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer who can advise you.
How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
In Florida, child support is calculated based on an Income Shares Model and a specific set of guidelines, which take into account:
- Both parents’ incomes;
- The number of children being supported; and
- The number of overnight stays that each parent has with the child.
Judges are also given some flexibility when setting the amount of child support in a specific case, as they are allowed to set a child support amount that is either five percent above or below what the guidelines would normally require. These deviations are usually a reflection of a child’s special medical, educational, or psychological needs.
Can Monthly Payments be Changed?
The short answer to this question is yes. Actually changing a child support order, however, can be complicated, as it is only possible when a parent is able to establish that a change in his or her circumstances is so substantial that it justifies a modification. When determining what qualifies as a substantial change in circumstances, judges usually assess whether the change was voluntary and to what degree it affects a person’s income. Examples of acceptable changes include job loss, a reduction in pay rate or work hours, being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or becoming disabled through injury or illness. It’s important to note that this reasoning goes both ways, so if a parent gets a pay rise or a better paying job, he or she could be required to pay more child support.
When do Child Support Obligations End in Florida?
Generally, a parent’s child support obligation will end when his or her child reaches the age of 18 years old. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, in which case, a parent may need to continue making payments, including when:
- A support order specifically states that support will continue past the age of 18 years old;
- The child in question is disabled;
- The support order is from another state where child support can be paid past the age of 18; or
- The child is still in high school and will graduate before reaching 19 years of age.
Please reach out to our legal team today for help determining whether any of these exceptions apply in your own case.
Can Florida Courts Enforce a Child Support Order From Another State?
Florida courts do enforce child support orders issued in other states, although in order to do so, the child’s parents will need to submit a copy of the support order to the Florida Child Support Program. If one of the parties still lives outside of Florida, a court may also need to request assistance from the other state in enforcing the order.
Get Help from an Experienced Florida Child Support Lawyer
Contact us at 954-945-7591 to schedule a free consultation with dedicated child support attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today.