Child Support

In most cases, Florida establishes child support by using a mathematical calculation called a child support guideline calculation. The calculation involves each parent’s income, information on certain deductions that are allowable from both parents’ incomes, the daycare expense, the health insurance expense, the number of children, and the number of overnights each parent spends with the child or children. That information is taken to reduce gross income to net income. A basic obligation is calculated which is adjusted for a substantial contact discount (when a parent has over 20% of the overnights with the child), and then it is adjusted for the health insurance and daycare expenses. The child support figure that is produced by the child support guideline calculation is usually what the Court imposes as a duty. However, the Court is not required to use this figure in some situations.

Modification of Child Support

Once child support has been established by the Court, it remains modifiable, meaning that the Court can adjust the child support amount that is required to be paid. Modifications of child support are usually based on changes to the income of one or both parents, changes to the timesharing schedule, or a child becoming an adult or emancipating. If you are paying or receiving child support and there has been a change in circumstances, it is important for you to seek legal advice quickly. Alterations are usually only applied from the date a modification action is brought forward.

Substantial Contact Discount

If you have substantial timesharing, Florida’s child support calculation allows for a reduction in the child support obligation. That means that you may be entitled to pay less child support if you spend over 20% of the overnights with your child or children. The number of overnights each parent is entitled to is an important component of the child support calculation. In some cases, a parent receives substantial contact but does not actually spend the time with the child. In those instances, the discount in child support may be taken away from the parent that is not seeing the child or children.

Appellate Standards of Review

Child arrearages form when child support is paid untimely. The parent entitled to the child support has the right to ask the Court to hold the non-paying parent in contempt if payments are delayed. Contempt is a serious offense that can include jail time. The Court and Department of Revenue can also use other remedies to enforce child support. These include suspension of a driver’s license, professional licenses, garnishing tax returns and suspending other forms of licenses. The Windle Family Law Firm understands how to pursue and defend child support collection efforts and has experience in representing fathers and mothers in these proceedings.