A child support order tells parents what they must do financially to support their children. In Florida, both parents are legally compelled to financially support their minor child even if they are no longer married to each other. Child support is meant to cover the cost of a child’s upbringing in addition to necessities such as food, shelter and clothing.
By enforcing a child support order, a parent is prevented from financially neglect his or her child. The amount of child support to be paid is based on the guidelines defined in Florida law. Child support guidelines are the standards used to determine the amount required for a child and the amount a parent must pay. These guidelines ensure that the support amounts are fair.
The key factors considered under child support guidelines include:
- The incomes of both parents
- Child health care costs, including health insurance
- Child care costs
- The number of overnights the child spends with each parent
- The standard needs for the child
The court establishing child support uses these guidelines to decide the amount of child support to be paid. The payment of child support takes into consideration any relevant factors such as the ages of the children, the incomes of the parents, costs for health insurance and child care and any extraordinary needs such as additional expenses when a child has learning or physical limitations. In certain circumstances such as children with extraordinary medical, educational, dental, psychological, or any other additional expenses, the support amount can be higher or lower than the guideline amounts.
Florida has a table of income levels that is used to determine the amount of child support for a child or children. The key figure used to calculate child support is the monthly income of both parents. There are certain expenses that also go into the calculation such as health insurance, taxes, and employment related childcare costs such as daycare, preschool and aftercare.
Furthermore, the child support can be modified anytime when substantial, permanent circumstances take place in a parent’s life, such as:
- A considerable increase or decrease in either parent’s income, or loss of employment
- Inheritance or lottery winning by a parent
- A devastating medical condition of either parent
- A child completing or discontinuing daycare
- An increase in certain expenses
Child support can sometimes be difficult to understand, however, with the help of a Boca divorce lawyer it can be more easily understood.