The following are answers to common questions about child support obligations for Florida parents.
Can my monthly child support payments ever be changed?
The short answer is yes. However, changes to child support obligations can only come about through the courts if you can prove that a substantial change in circumstances have occurred since the original order. These would be changes that were not your fault and that directly affect your income. Examples of such changes could include job loss, a reduction in work hours or pay rate, contracting a serious illness, or becoming disabled through injury or illness. You could then seek a modification of support payments.
The same holds true if your circumstances improve so that your income is substantially higher. If that happens, you may become subject to a petition from the other parent to raise your payment. The other parent would have to prove to the court that you should pay more.
Can child support payments be modified when my child is now spending more time with me?
Yes, but this will depend on how much timesharing you are enjoying with your child. Generally, your support obligations may be reduced if 20 percent or more of your child’s overnights are spent with you. This would generally translate to you providing more in the way of food, clothing, shelter, and other living expenses for the child. Aside from the benefits of being involved in your child’s life, ensuring that you have a timesharing plan validated through the court will work towards a better financial arrangement for you.
My friend told me to get a receipt for child payment checks. Is this necessary?
Protect yourself by documenting your payments showing that they were designated for child support. You can do this by getting a receipt or writing in the memo line of your check that the payment is for child support. In that way you can later prove that you paid support as opposed to giving your child “gifts.”
Can child support payments be taken out of my paycheck?
Yes, this can occur when the order to pay support includes what is called an Income Deduction Order. This is done through Florida’s Child Support Program under the Florida Department of Revenue. Its job is to work with families to ensure that children in the state get the support they are entitled to under the law.
When do child support obligations end in Florida?
They generally end when the child reaches the age of 18 or until the child graduates from high school. In other special circumstances, such as with a disabled or special needs child, support may be required to continue. The only other circumstances where child support would be terminated is when a paying parent dies or gives up his or her parental rights and does so according to state guidelines.
Get Help from The Virga Law Firm, P.A.
Child support issues can become very emotional and challenging. If you need legal help as either the custodial or noncustodial parent, you should seek legal counsel from a trusted source. Our firm offers experienced and knowledgeable representation to clients throughout Florida on matters concerning child support as well as all other family law issues. We are committed to providing you with aggressive and diligent advocacy in pursuit of your best interests.