Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support in Florida
If you are getting divorced and have minor children from your marriage, or if you are separating from a partner to whom you are not married but with whom you share minor children, you probably have a variety of questions about child support. Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 61.30) governs child support matters in the state. While different statutes might apply to a particular child support issue, Florida law will always govern child support matters. The following is a series of frequently asked questions about child support in Florida and our answers to those questions. If you need help with your divorce or child support case, you should get in touch with an Orlando family law attorney today.
How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
Like many other states, Florida uses an “income shares” model to calculate child support. What this means is that the court takes both parents’ incomes into account and considers the combined amount they would have spent on their children if they had remained married and in the same household. Accordingly, courts combine the parents’ incomes and use that figure to determine the total child support obligation. Child support in the state is determined based on a guidelines chart, which specifies a total support obligation based on combined income and the total number of children in the household.
The parents then share the child support obligation based on their own income, number of overnights with the children, and other relevant factors.
Who Pays Child Support?
Florida no longer uses a model of child support in which a noncustodial parent simply pays child support to a custodial parent. Instead, as we clarified above, Florida uses an income shares model that calculates the total support obligation based on both parents’ incomes. Accordingly, both parents are responsible for paying a portion of the total child support obligation.
Can Child Support Be Modified?
Child support can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances. For instance, if one of the parents loses a job or becomes disabled such that she or he cannot work, the court can recalculate the child support obligation. However, if one parent intentionally quits his or her job to avoid paying child support, there are serious consequences.
What Will Happen if a Parent Does Not Pay Child Support?
If one parent does not abide by the child support order and fails to provide his or her portion of the child support obligation, the other parent can seek to enforce the child support order through the court system.
How is a Child Support Order Enforced?
There are many ways in which a court can enforce a child support order under Florida law. Depending upon the specific facts of the case, the court can take a variety of steps to enforce the order. For example, the court can require the nonpaying parent’s employer to deduct child support from their paycheck, the court can place a lien on the nonpaying parent’s property, the nonpaying parent’s driver’s license can be suspended, and the court can even garnish the nonpaying parent’s tax refund. There are also additional methods that a court can use to enforce a child support order.
Contact an Orlando Child Support Attorney
If you need help with child support issues in Florida, an experienced Orlando child support attorney can assist you. Contact Anderson & Ferrin for more information about the services we provide to families in Central Florida.