Child Support

When it comes to children and divorce, another major area of dispute is child support.

This area is governed by Florida Statutes.

Courts can award temporary child support immediately after a Court case is filed.

That amount will have to be paid until circumstances change or until the final divorce hearing when permanent support will be ordered.

Failure to pay child support

Failure to pay support can lead among other things to loss of drivers’ license or other licenses.

In addition, if a party is unemployed or underemployed and fails to pay court ordered support, the judge can order the party to seek employment and enter a job training or work program.

Support can be withheld from the paying party’s paycheck, or the party can be ordered to pay the money to Support Enforcement who will distribute it to the other party.


Child Support

If the party fails to pay Support Enforcement, one of their staff can testify that the payment was not made instead of the party having to come to Court with an attorney.

In Florida, we have child support guidelines and generally speaking the parents combined net income is used in the statutory formula to determine the amount of child support, after considering the number of children involved.

The paying party’s part is calculated in proportion to the other parent’s income. 

Other considerations

Also, a portion of childcare expenses, such as daycare for example, are added onto the basic guideline amount.

This is also true of health insurance and health care costs, unless they have been ordered separately paid on a percentage basis.

The child support guidelines have gone a long way towards eliminating Court battles over child support, but disputes still arise.

One spouse may claim that the other has more income than is being reported, or a spouse may claim that the other is capable of earning more than they do.

Courts do – under certain circumstances – have the authority to alter the guideline amount. This can only be done if certain statutory criteria are met.

Examples of when a deviation can occur are when the non-custodial parent spends a “significant” or “substantial” period of time with the children, or conversely, when that parent does not spend much time with the children.

There is also the question of whether the existence of “subsequent” children (ie children living with a parent who were born or adopted after the support obligation arose) is justification to deviate from the child support guidelines.

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