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Florida Divorce Issues: Child Support
Child support is for the benefit of the child(ren). Both parents actually provide financial support for the child(ren), but the parent with whom the child(ren) spend less time must provide child support to the other parent to use for the support of the child(ren). No parent can decide to waive child support, as the support is not the parent’s to waive. This means that even if the parents agree that there will be no child support paid, the court can reject that agreement. (Exceptions to this exist if, for example, the children spend an equal amount of time with each parent, and the parents earn the same amount of money.) The amount of support to be paid is based on the Florida Support Schedule. The child support amount is based on many factors including the number of children, the children’s age and needs, and each parent’s income. Additional factors that affect that amount paid include, among other things, the amount actually paid by a parent for the child(ren)’s health insurance premiums, and 75% of the amount actually paid for work (or school)-related daycare.
Who pays child support when the child(ren) spend equal time with each parent?
If the children spend equal (or close to equal) time with each parent, then it is possible that no support or an amount less than the amount provided for in the Florida Support Schedule will be paid. However, if the parents’ incomes are significantly different (one earns far more than the other), then the one earning more may be ordered to pay some amount of support to the other.
Until when is child support paid?
Child support is typically paid until a child turns eighteen or until he or she graduates high school, whichever occurs later. Child support could be paid longer if, for example, a child has special needs. Child support is different from post-secondary education support, which may be required depending on many different circumstances.
Can the amount of child support be changed?
The amount of child support can be modified by agreement or by the court (meaning that the judge or the state decides what the new amount will be). Even if the change is by agreement, a new order signed by a judge is required.
When does one start paying child support?
When parents establish separate households and are no longer sharing expenses, payment of child support would be appropriate. Child support will be required to be paid once the final judgments and orders are signed by the court.
What happens if one does not pay child support?
Failure to pay child support is a serious matter. Failure to pay could result in several different things:
- The non-paying parent could be held in contempt of court;
- The non-paying parent’s driver’s license could be suspended;
- IRS Refund checks and/or funds in the account of the non-paying parent could be seized;
- In extreme situations, the non-paying parent could be sent to jail.