Top 3 Things You Need to Know about Child Support in Florida

Are you contemplating a dissolution of marriage or a paternity case in Florida with minor children involved? If so, you should be aware that the law requires that child support be established.

Here are the most important things you need to know about it:

  • Child Support is the right of the child – not the parent.

This means that, in general, child support cannot be waived or relinquished since it is the child’s right to be financially supported by both parents.

  • Child Support is based on guidelines set by the Florida Legislature.

These guidelines are known as the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet and the guidelines must be completed in every case where child support is an issue. Child Support is based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the combined gross income of the parties minus allowable deductions, the number of minor children in the relationship, the number of overnights the children spend with each parent, monthly health insurance payments made on behalf of the children, and monthly child care payments.

  • Child Support is generally paid until the child is 18.

A parent’s child support obligation continues until one of several events occurs. These events include:

(1) the death of a child; (2) the child turning 18, unless the child is still in high school, then upon graduation from high school if there’s a reasonable likelihood that the child will graduate by 19; (3) the valid marriage of the child; (4) the lawful entry of a child into the military service of the U.S.A.; or (5) the child becomes self-supporting by permanent, full-time employment exclusive of holidays, vacations and part-time employment.

Note: this is not a complete list and every situation is unique.

With so many factors involved in deciding child support obligations and your children’s welfare at stake, you should consult a qualified family law attorney to gain a complete understanding of your rights and obligations — and those of your children.