Child Support Considerations
The State of Florida has a vested interest in ensuring that the issue of child support is addressed in divorce, paternity and domestic violence cases. In Florida, parents are not permitted to waive child support as child support is deemed to be a right that belongs to the minor child. Florida statutory law provides a specific formula to calculate a parent’s child support obligation. To calculate child support, the court will consider the income of both parents, the number of children involved, allowable deductions, and the cost of before school, afterschool, and/or daycare and medical insurance that is paid for the children. There are very specific allowable deductions that will be considered and deducted from a parent’s income. Additionally, a parent is given a credit (or discount) for the amount of overnights that parent has with a child if the amount of overnights is greater than 73 overnights a year. However, after a parent is given a discount/credit for overnight timesharing, a parent’s failure to exercise that timesharing will result in the other parent having the right to ask for an increase in the child support amount back to the time the parent failed to exercise the timesharing.
Child support is always subject to change or modification. This means that once a child support order is entered that order may be modified/changed by a court if there is a change in circumstance that requires that child support amount to be either increased or decreased. For example, if your income is reduced through no fault of your own-you were laid-off and are now earning less, you may seek to reduce your child support obligation. Conversely, if you know or suspect that the other parent’s salary has increased since the last child support order was entered, you may seek an increase in child support. A modification of child support is limited in that it only goes back to the date you file your request to modify.
If you are not receiving child support, as ordered by the Court, you have the right to seek that the Court force the other parent to pay you the back due to child support. You have the right to file a motion for contempt and enforcement and request that the Court issue sanctions or punish the lack of payment by seeking sanctions against the non-paying party, including reimbursement of your attorney’s fees, that their driver’s license be suspended, that wages be garnished, and/or that they be arrested until they pay a portion or all of the back due child support.
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