Child support is one of the most contentious matters in a Florida divorce with children. Child custody, which is referred to as time-sharing in Florida, is closely tied to the amount you will pay or receive in child support. Florida courts use a complex formula that produces a number regarded as the appropriate amount of monthly child support payments in a Final Judgment.
A few important components of this mathematical formula include:
- The monthly net income of the custodial and non-custodial parent
- Monthly costs of childcare, health/dental insurance premiums, and uncovered medical and dental expenses.
- The number of children subject to the support order
- The time-sharing division (number of overnights a child spends at each parent’s house per year)
When the number of overnights, the child spends with each parent is not equal, the party who has less overnights can expect to pay some support if he or she earns more than the other party. It is possible that two parents with identical (or near-identical) incomes and equal time-sharing will not be subject to a child support order, but that rarely happens.
How Do You Pay Child Support?
Florida law now requires an Income Withholding Order, and support is supposed to be paid through the Florida State Disbursement Unit and/or through the Department of Revenue. There are people who agree to direct payments. Depending upon the method, a party may pay by check, wire, or cash. However, it is best to pay support through a trackable method, and clearly mark the payments as what they are intended to be.
Can You Change a Child Support Order?
Yes, you can petition the court to modify the amount of child support you are paying or receiving. It’s not as simple as asking for a modification and receiving it, though. Florida law requires for the petitioner to demonstrate an unanticipated, “substantial change in circumstances” before approving a modification. The change should also be in the child’s best interests.
What if Your Ex Stops Sending Child Support?
There are ways you can compel the payor to get back on track. Depending on the amount of time or money that has fallen behind, the payor’s income could be seized to satisfy child support debts. You may choose to file a motion to hold the payor in contempt of the Final Judgment. This could subject the payor to hefty sanctions and even jail time. Please see our previous blog for more information on enforcing a child support order.
An Attorney’s Help is Essential
There are countless nuances within the Florida legal system that affect child support orders. The best way to ensure you are getting a fair amount of child support is by enlisting the help of a quality family law attorney. Divorce & Mediation Law Firm, with locations in Pembroke Pines and Sunny Isles Beach, is ready to speak with you about your family law needs. We offer confidential consultations to all prospective clients. Call us at (954)-447-2580 to set yours up today.