Navigating Child Support: Guidelines, Modifications, and Enforcement

Child support is an obligation ordered through the courts for the financial responsibility for the child’s care, education, training, and maintenance. Florida’s child support law states that no parent can waive child support obligations.

What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is put in place to guarantee that the child continues to have a reasonable standard of living. Child support payments may be used in the following ways.

  •     Clothing and Food. In addition to regular clothes shopping, child support may be used for weekly grocery shopping, the cost of school lunches, and eating out.
  •     Educational Expenses. Uniforms, books, tuition, supplies, and activities (music lessons, after-school programs, etc.) may be covered.
  •     Medical costs. Out-of-pocket medical expenses (uncovered services, deductibles, medications, etc.) needed to maintain the child in good health may be included.
  •     Activities, Hobbies, and Entertainment. In addition to meeting the basic needs of the child, child support may be used for fun activities, including sports, swim lessons, camps, etc.).

Establishing Child Support

Florida child support guidelines outline the required financial responsibilities based on parents’ net income and the number of children involved. The amount and duration of payments will vary based on the unique circumstances of each case.

The main factors considered when establishing child support are the income of both parents, the number of overnights the child spends with each parent, and the number of children they share. In many cases, even if the parents have equal custody, a child support order could be put in place to benefit the parent with a lower income.

Modifications of Child Support

If there has been a substantial change in either parent’s income, a modification of support can happen. Typically a judge will only consider changes that occurred after the last order was issued. In the case of income, a modification will only be put in place if there is an increase or decrease in income by 10%.

Enforcing Child Support Orders

There are many avenues used in the state of Florida to enforce child support. Florida child support law authorizes a court to garnish wages to enforce child support. Tax refunds may also be garnished, and the court can order that the dependent tax exemption be allocated to the payee on a rotating or permanent basis, resulting in a significant penalty for not complying with a child support order. In addition, the obligated parent’s driver’s or professional license may be suspended for failure to comply with the order.

Consult a Family Law Practice

It is best to have legal representation when navigating child support through the family court. The attorneys at The Law Office of Ray Garcia P.A. have experience advocating for child support for families. Call today for a free consultation.


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Law Office of Ray Garcia, P.A.

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