Child support is a court-ordered responsibility for the financial support for the care, maintenance, training, and education of a child. At Family Matters Law Group, we care about ensuring that your children are financially supported and that you are either paying or receiving the right amount of child support payments based on your family's individual needs.
When going through the divorce process, many parents and families have concerns about whether child support payments are properly calculated and what goes into the child support assessment in Florida.
Keep reading to learn more about the basics of child support laws in Florida.
Understanding Child Support in Florida
To understand how child support payments work in Florida, what most parents need to know is that the court uses an algebraic formula to help determine the payment amount. It is a calculation that takes into consideration both parents' incomes, the cost of child care, and the cost of healthcare, both for the children and for the parent.
Once those figures have been determined, the numbers will go into a formula and it tells the court which parent owes the other parent what amount of money. Those numbers can go up or down depending on how many court-ordered overnights each parent has with the child. It is important to note that court-ordered overnights are not applicable to cases where the parents have not been married and the parents have never been to court before about the child. If that is your specific situation, then the number of overnights will likely be calculated at zero regardless of what has been actually happening between the two parents leading up to the child support payment calculation.
Child support is not waivable by either parent and must be paid based on the initial numbers that go into the child support formula.
Child Support Payments
Once a child support order has been requested through the courts, the court can either go back up to 24 months or until the time the parents last lived together. The court will look at whichever one is shorter, not longer. If both parents have never lived together, the court can go back up to 24 months until the birth of the child.
Child support payments are always modifiable. At any point in the future, if any of the original numbers that went into the child support equation change, and it would result in a significant difference in child support payments, the payment amount can be adjusted. If you are unsure about whether the other parent's income has changed, or if the result would be significant enough to warrant a child support modification, we would recommend filing the child support modification and engage in discovery. If you have a rough idea of both parties updated income, your attorney may be able to give you an idea of what the child support payments would be moving forward.
While child support is guideline-based and takes into account several factors, every situation has unique aspects. Making sure that your child support is properly calculated must take into account many factors. Modifications may be necessary when significant changes occur, such as job loss or a major change in a child's needs. It's important to seek counsel right away in these situations.
If you are looking to adjust your child support payment, or you believe your ex-partner is seeking an adjustment to your child support payment that isn't justified, it is best to contact a responsible law firm that specializes in family law. Contact us today at Family Matters Law Group for a free consultation.