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Most Common Florida Child Support Questions


Issues related to child support can be incredibly complex and acrimonious, with high stakes for all involved. Florida law is designed to serve the best interests of the child or children affected by their parents’ divorce, meaning that courts are required to weigh a host of different factors to arrive at a fair and appropriate arrangement for both parental responsibility and child support. Many questions can arise, and it is crucial for parents to understand what their options are when discussing their concerns.

How is an appropriate amount of child support determined? – Florida uses what is known as an “income shares” model to determine appropriate amounts. What this means is that rather than simply comparing parental incomes, the court will try to estimate how much money would have been spent on the children’s upkeep if the couple had stayed together. With that estimate, the court can then make the appropriate adjustments to ensure that the children’s quality of life does not overtly change.

While other adjustments will generally have to be made – for example, if the non-custodial parent pays health insurance premiums or school fees, their support burden will likely be lower – the income shares model has historically been both equitable and flexible. The state has child support guidelines recommending appropriate payment amounts, but courts are permitted to deviate from the guidelines by up to 5 percent if they feel that doing so is appropriate.

Can child support be modified? – The answer is yes, but only under specific circumstances. Florida law allows modification of a child support order only when there has been a “significant change in circumstances” for the moving parent – the most common example of such a “significant” change is the parent having to take a pay cut of more than $50 or 15 percent of their burden. Another common example of a situation where a modification may be appropriate is if the parental responsibility arrangement changes – for example, if both parents previously had joint custody, but one is awarded sole physical and legal custody, the non-custodial parent’s support burden will likely rise.

When does a child support obligation end? – In most cases, the non-custodial parent’s obligation will end on their child’s 18th birthday, though there are exceptions. If a child has not yet graduated high school when they turn 18, support will generally be extended until they graduate, or until they turn 19, whichever comes first. If a child is disabled, the obligation may not end, though this outcome is rare and highly context-dependent.

Contact A Hollywood, FL Child Support Attorney

The right of support belongs to a child, not to their parents, and Florida courts place a high premium on parents fulfilling their responsibility in that regard. If you have questions or concerns about child support or your particular obligation, a Hollywood, FL child support attorney can help clarify your options. The Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. are ready and willing to try and assist you. Contact our office today to speak to an attorney.

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The Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A., is located in Hollywood, FL and serves clients in and around Dania, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, North Miami Beach, Pompano Beach, Miami, Pembroke Pines, Miami Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale, Aventura, Boca Raton, Broward County, Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County.

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