Florida Child Support Calculator
Florida child support says that every child deserves both emotional and financial support from their parents. Under no circumstances should this be tampered with. Not even when the parents are divorced. To ensure every child gets financial support for basic needs such as clothing, healthcare, education support, food, etc. the state of Florida, like other states, has put together a few rules to guide the Florida child support program.
What is Florida Child Support?
Florida child support is any form of support or assistance that emanates from the separation of two parents. The fund is meant for the upkeep or maintenance of their child. It is necessary to have parents pay for the welfare of their children. This ensures that the State won’t have to bear this responsibility.
Once the parents are separated, even if they are still married, child support payment would have to be made to the custodial parent. This is until the child is 18 years old. Payment may also continue if the child is 18 years old but still in high school.
Child support payment is determined by several factors. Factors include the total monthly income of both parents, the number of children involved, and the amount of time the child or children will spend in each parent’s house.
In a situation where there is a joint custody agreement, the non-custodial parent will be required to pay less. This is because the child also spends some time in the non-custodial parent’s house. It is assumed that all the expenses relating to the child during this period would be footed by the parent.
Child support payment is usually made to the custodial parent. This is to ensure that the child is well taken care of and, to some extent, shares in the same standard of living that was enjoyed when both parents were together.
In cases where the child has wealthy parents, child support would go beyond providing the basic needs of life. The parents are required to pay an amount that would be sufficient to give the child a life that befits the status of the supporting parent.
How To Calculate Florida Child Support
Florida child support obligations are calculated using the earnings of both parents as the primary factor. The total amount realized would then be compared with the ‘table of income levels’ of Florida to ascertain the amount to be paid as child support. This is known as the ‘Income Shares Model’.
Note that the court wields the power to change the amount agreed upon as child support. It could be increased or decreased depending on a substantial increase or decrease in the income of one or both parents.
The first step of calculating child support involves the submission of financial details by both parents. They are required to complete financial affidavits that would show all their income and expenses. This enables the court to determine how much the parents of a child are to pay for child support.
The next step is to add up the net income of both parents. The resultant amount would then be used to ascertain how much both parents are to pay as child support after consulting the Child Support Guidelines. The number of children from the marriage or relationship is also taken into consideration.
Another issue to be considered is the amount each spouse ought to contribute to the child support payment. This figure is gotten by dividing each spouse’s net income by the total net income. Then, multiplying the resultant figure by the child support obligation obtained from the grid.
The final step involves dividing other expenses among both parents. Other expenses in this situation refer to school expenses, healthcare premiums and deductible, and child care. These other expenses are usually above the child support obligations found in the grid. The court usually divides these expenses according to the financial capacity of each parent.
How To File For Child Support
There are some rules and regulation guiding the child support program. To file for child support, you must be the custodial parent or a guardian who is fully responsible for the child.
The parent demanding child support is required by law to file for child support through the following processes.
- First, you are required to visit the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to learn of the entire processes involved. This is necessary as it will ensure that your child support order is enforced.
- The Office of Child Support Enforcement will then issue a court order to notify the non-custodial parent. They will ensure he/she makes the necessary payment as at when due. Failure to comply with the court order leads to several consequences like the suspension of license, denial of passport, freezing of bank account, fine payment, arrest, and jail term.
In cases where the parents are not married, the Office of Child Support Enforcement will also assist you in determining the paternity of the child. This happens before proceeding with the child support program. Establishing paternity is very essential. This would determine if you will be granted a court order, which will ensure that you will be granted child support.
In special cases where the whereabouts of the father is unknown, the State of Florida will help you track him down through the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS).
Costs of Filing for Child Support
Yeah, you’ve got to shed some dollars. Nothing is free, even in Freetown. That shouldn’t scare you though because the amount varies with the method you employ in filling for child support.
How do I get a court order?
Obtaining a court order is a requirement to get the child support. To obtain a court order, you could do any of the following:
- Have the Office of Child Support Enforcement represent you: this is usually free as long as you are on Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), otherwise you may pay up to $25.
- Hire an attorney: the amount you pay is dependent on the type of attorney you hire. Different attorneys have different rates.
- Represent yourself: this would cost you nothing as you would not require the services of an attorney.
Modification of Child Support Orders
Modification of the child support order is required if there is a substantial increase or decrease in the income of one or both parents. In such cases, the parent or parents is (are) at liberty to approach the court for a modification of the child support order.
For example, if the salary of a parent earned $50,000 per month is slashed to about $17,000 per month, this change is sufficient to request for modification of the child support order. The law stipulates that there has to be a change in the financial situation of either parent that creates a 10% difference in monthly child support to effect modification of the child support order. Also, a parent will have to wait for at least 3 years to seek for a child support modification.