Top Things to Know About Child Support
If you are going through a divorce in Orlando and share minor children with your spouse, you should learn more about how child support works in Florida. In the state, Florida statutory law (Fla. Stat. § 61.30) governs most matters pertaining to child support for families in the Orlando area. We routinely assist parents with a variety of family law matters pertaining to child support, from initial child support orders to modifications to enforcement actions. If you have questions or need assistance with your case, you should get in touch with an experienced Orlando child support attorney. In the meantime, the following are some of the top things you should know about child support in Florida.
Florida Uses the “Income Shares” Model
Florida is one of a majority of states that uses what is known as the “income shares” model to calculate the child support obligation. As the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) explains, 40 states currently use this model. Under the income shares model, the court will combine both parents’ incomes and calculate the child support obligation based on that amount—as if the parents were still together. Then, each parent’s percentage of the total obligation is calculated by “dividing each parent’s net monthly income by the combined net monthly income,” according to the statute.
Guidelines Provide an Objective Child Support Obligation
Florida has child support guidelines to calculate an objective, streamlined child support obligation amount. The guidelines are essentially a table that calculates a total child support obligation based on the parents’ combined net monthly incomes and the number of children.
Child Support Obligations Can Be Modified If There is a Substantial Change in Circumstances
Upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances, Florida law allows a child support obligation to be modified. Examples of a substantial change in circumstances might include a parent losing a job, or a parent changing careers to a new position with a significantly different income. However, it is important to remember that a parent cannot take a pay cut or quit a job to avoid a child support obligation. In such cases, the court can penalize that parent and impute income.
Child Care and Health Insurance Amounts Can Be Added to the Basic Child Support Obligation
Under Florida law, both child care costs and health care costs may be added to the basic child support obligation under particular circumstances. As the statute explains, “child care costs incurred due to employment, job search, or education calculated to result in employment or to enhance income of current employment of either parent” can be added to the basic child support obligation. In addition, “health insurance costs resulting from coverage ordered . . . and any noncovered medical, dental, and prescription medication expenses of the child” can be added to the basic support obligation.
Contact an Orlando Child Support Attorney
If you have questions about child support obligations or need assistance with your child custody and support case, an experienced Orlando child support lawyer can speak with you about your case. Contact Anderson & Ferrin for more information about the family law services we provide to clients in Central Florida.