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The Florida child support laws set certain guidelines for the paying and receiving of child support, and this information can easily be found if you visit certain state departments online.
In Florida, as in most states, the economic stability of minor children is entrusted to their parents, whether those parents are together or not. In most cases, there is a custodial parent and noncustodial parent, and the latter is usually the one who pays child support each month.
Florida Child Support Laws Basics
With few exceptions, the state of Florida uses the “income shares model” when determining child support amounts, which means it considers what the parents would spend on the child if they were still together and living in the same household. They try to split this amount in half so that the child receives a fair and appropriate amount each month and, therefore, has enough to enjoy a comfortable standard of living.
In Florida, parents have to file affidavits to prove their income levels, and a basic worksheet is used to calculate a gross and net amount so that the right amount of child support can be established. If you’d like more details on how they calculate these amounts, visit https://www.flsenate.gov/laws/statutes/2012/61.30. The amounts also vary depending on how many children you have. For instance, if your monthly net income is $5,000 and you have one child, the child support would be $1,000, but the amounts are different depending on how many children are involved.
The child support amounts also vary depending on how much time the noncustodial parent spends with the child, and the basic calculation starts with parents who spend less than 73 overnight visits per year with their child. Additional calculations apply when each parent spends at least 73 overnight visits per year with their child, but again, the worksheets the state offer can help you see on paper exactly how these amounts are determined.
FL State Child Support Laws It Sounds Complicated, But it Isn’t
If all this sounds complicated, not to worry, because the state has websites that make it easy for you to determine an estimate for the child support you are entitled to receive. There is even an online worksheet you can fill out to get an estimate found at https://www.alllaw.com/calculators/childsupport/florida.
In other words, whether you’re the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent, you can quickly and easily get your child support questions answered if you know where to look. Although the guidelines are detailed and written in easy-to-understand language, it is important to remember that they are merely guidelines and nothing more. The state of Florida recognizes that each family is different and, therefore, they try to personalize each approach so that an appropriate child support amount can be established.
In Florida, requesting a child support amount that is different from the amount established by the guidelines is called a deviation, and you simply fill out and submit a form if this is what you wish to do. Of course, there are minimum requirements regarding the amount you’ll end up paying, but the court will work with you so that something fair is arrived at in the end. Deviations are often the result of special circumstances, such as special needs children, extraordinary medical needs, special schooling expenses, and expenses related to the parents’ employment.
Other Special Circumstances
If a parent quits a job or finds employment at a lower salary to avoid paying the required amount of child support, the state of Florida will impute income to that parent, or assign an income amount that is equivalent to what that parent should be making. In other words, noncustodial parents cannot simply stop paying the required amount of child support under any circumstances because the state gives them consequences for these types of actions.
The only exception to this rule is when a parent quits work to take care of an infant or disabled child, as these people are never penalized because they are not working.
Florida Child Support Laws – Modifying or Terminating the Orders
In the state of Florida, you sometimes have the right to modify or even terminate child support payments, and they allow you to do this if the circumstances are right. Terminating child support payments isn’t normally an issue until the child reaches the age of 18 (19 if the child is a full-time high-school student). Of course, the state doesn’t automatically consider or grant modifications unless it is fair to the child, but it is good to know that altering your child support payments is indeed a possibility.
In addition, the state also has ways to enforce any child support payments that the custodial parent is receiving. The state’s Child Support Enforcement Program, which is a part of the Department of Revenue, can accommodate needs such as finding an absentee parent, establishing paternity, and helping parents obtain and enforce any child support orders in effect. They work alongside of the other parent to make sure minor children get the financial support they need and deserve.
Naturally, the state aims to devise child support agreements which are fair to both children and parents, but the needs of the child always come first. Their state websites go into great detail on how the calculations are determined, so this is a great place to start when you’re interested in anything relating to child support in the state of Florida.
Like other states, Florida considers the financial support of minor children to be of utmost importance, which is why they have so many laws in place to make sure the child support they receive from noncustodial parents is enough to keep them happy and healthy. Both moms and dads have been designated as the noncustodial parent, but the state can help you even if you have custody of your child and you aren’t getting the payment you deserve.
You can visit websites such as https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/divorce/divorce-and-children/child-support-florida.htm to get basic details about child support in the state of Florida, and whether you need to file an initial request for child support or need an alteration of some type, this is the perfect way to get started.