Child Support is an important process of Divorce. Knowing all about Child Support process in Florida is an important step before facing divorce. Here we offer a set of questions and answers about Child Support in Florida.
What is child support?
Child support is an amount allocated that one parent pays to the other parent to help support the child, to help any daily needs of the child, clothes, food, housing. It’s just to help support since there are no longer two incomes in the home.
Who can seek a child support modification in Florida?
Any party paying child support can seek a modification of that child support in Florida. You just need court approval. So you would have to notify the court as to what the child support that you’re paying currently, why you need it to be changed, and you need it to be a substantial change, it can’t just be, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” it has to be, “My hours are cut at work, I lost my job, I’m disabled.” You need to have a reason as to why that it can’t be done.
What determines how much child support I have to pay in Florida?
In Florida, they have a child support guideline worksheet. That is a formula that is already created and you put in the income of each party, the number of overnights a child spends with each party, any childcare cost, any medical insurance, any copay cost. It’s all put into this formula and then it calculates and credits all the cost. It calculates the income and the overnights. Then it’ll say who’s going to pay child support and the amount.
What does the term ‘combined income’ refer to in figuring child support in Florida?
Combined income is the total net income of both parents and that income is used in the calculation of the guidelines and it’s one of the starting points before you put in how many overnights and how many childcare payments there may be made. The first starting point is to figure out the combined net income of both parents so it can be distributed properly.
The child support office miscalculated my payments, now they claim I have an arrear, What should I do?
I would highly recommend going to speak to an attorney about this situation. It’s very difficult to deal with a child support office to be honest with you and you would have to actually file a motion with the court, advise them of the miscalculation and you would have to show proof to the court of why there was a miscalculation and show proof of all the payments that you made so the best way to ensure that your rights are protected in this situation is to hire an attorney.
Is child support the same as alimony?
It is not. Child support is based on the best interest of the child and to provide for the child’s needs and the day to day necessities that the child needs. Alimony is to sustain a spouse who can no longer maintain the same life without that other spouse. So it’s totally different and they’re not dependent on one another.
If I get joint custody/time-sharing, will I still have to pay child support in Florida?
It’s a possibility. All depends on the calculation that goes through the guidelines. The child support is always calculated through the guidelines in the state of Florida and it’s based on each party’s income, the amount of overnights, who pays childcare, who pays insurance. So once you put in all those numbers and actually how many overnights you have based on the income then it will decide whether you still have to pay child support or not.
If child support is not paid, must visitation be allowed in Florida?
Yes, they are not dependent on one another. So if child support is not paid the visitation still must be allowed to be had. The support is for what the child needs to take care of daily needs of the child, where visitation is for the bond between the parents, and the relationship of the child. So they’re not dependent on one another.
I am a non-custodial parent, but my child lives with me now. Can I change the child support order?
You can change a child support order. However, it needs court approval. You need to advise the court that the time-sharing schedule has changed, and the child is spending more time with you and now lives with you, and the amount of overnights changing, then changes the amount of the child support, so that would have to be recalculated.
How is the amount of child support determined in Florida?
Florida has a child support guidelines worksheet, and it’s basically a formula where you put in numbers and it calculates the amount of child support. The numbers that you’re putting in is each parent’s overnights, the amount of insurance that’s paid, any other deductibles for insurance that may be paid, childcare, and all that’s calculated into a formula, and it just comes out with the amount of child support. I would recommend having an attorney to help you with those numbers in that calculation.
Does joint custody/time-sharing affect child support in Florida?
It does because the child support is based on the time-sharing schedule, so it’s calculated by a formula created by the Florida courts, based on how many overnights a parent has, as well as insurance and other payments that are made on behalf of the child. Depending on your time-sharing schedule and how many overnights you have will affect your child support.
Do I pay my spouse directly for child support in Florida?
You can pay your spouse directly for child support in Florida, or you can have an order, an income deduction order entered from the court where that would come directly out of your paycheck. That order would go to your employer. Your employer would process it and deduct that amount from your paycheck and then it would go to the child support office and then they would pay your ex-spouse directly. It could be either way. It depends on what the parties agree upon.
Can I lower my child support payments in Florida if I spend more time with my kids?
You could essentially lower your child support if you spend more time because the way it’s calculated is, it’s done through the guidelines in the state of Florida. The guidelines base the amount of child support amount off of income and how many overnights you have. If you have more overnights, you could essentially lower your child support obligation.
Can I get joint custody/time-sharing if I am not paid up, on child support in Florida?
Yes, you can, because they’re not dependent on one another. So time-sharing is not dependent on child support, and you cannot be able to see your child just because you’re behind on child support.
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