In Florida, like all other states, parents are legally obligated to support their children. When a couple is no longer together or divorced, Florida law uses guidelines to determine how much a parent is to pay to provide for their child's needs. Here is what Florida parents need to know regarding child support:
Calculating Child Support
In Florida, courts use the Florida Child Support Guidelines to calculate a parent’s child support obligation. Calculating child support can be extremely complicated as it involves the examination of multiple factors. For example, the guidelines take into account things such as the child’s needs, age, station in life, standard of living, medical and child care expenses, and each parent’s financial status and ability to pay support. The formula can also look at matters such as whether a child is spending a significant amount of time with one parent, the family structure, and a parent’s obligation to support other children.
When Does Child Support End?
A parent’s Florida child support obligation usually ends when the child turns 18. However, if the child is between the ages of 18 and 19 and is still in high school, performing in good faith and expected to graduate before 19, their support may continue until they graduate or turn 19, whichever occurs sooner. However, parents can agree to a longer child support payment period, or one may be required due to the child’s continuing mental or physical incapacity.
Unpaid Child Support Payments
When a parent fails to pay their court-ordered child support, they can find themselves facing contempt and even jail time. It is not sufficient for an obligated parent to refuse to pay because they disagree with the order. They are required to pay until such time as a court changes its order.
Modifying Child Support
If there is a qualifying material and substantial change in circumstance, either parent can request a modification of child support. For example, if the obligated parent lost their job or had another child, they could seek to alter the support amount or conditions. Further, a significant change to the parenting time schedule could be a basis for modification.
Child Support in Florida
The attorneys at the Draper Law Firm are experienced in handling child support cases. We are here and ready to help you navigate this complex area and can provide you with the advice you need. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation. We invite you to learn more about our firm here.