Child support is governed by Florida Statute where it lays out the method for calculating child support. Even though parents of children may agree on the amount of child support that will be paid, often parents are surprised when the court sets a different amount in its order for child support when the amount agreed upon is not within five percent of the guidelines. Any deviation greater than five percent must have specific findings that would allow a court to approve such a deviation.
Child support is not necessarily just a part of a marital dissolution. Couples with children who are not married can also be parties to an action for child support either via the Department of Revenue on behalf of a child who is a recipient of public benefits or from a Petition to Determine Paternity. If you are being sued for child support, you may want to seek legal advice to ensure that any child support that is ordered is appropriate in amount and to assert your rights as a parent. If you are a single parent who never married the parent of your child, contact All Life Legal, P.A. for a free initial consultation to determine if you want to seek child support to help with the cost of raising your child.
In either case, child support can be retroactively awarded up to two years, if appropriate, and if the parent who owes the child support has not attempted to pay child support after separation of the parties or during the pendency of the litigation (or has paid too little in child support during that same period of time) prior to when a judgment for child support is entered, the accumulated amount of child support is considered to be an arrearage owed. Payment for the arrearage is generally ordered to be paid as a percent of the current child support award (usually 20%).
Modification of Child Support
Modification of child support can occur in Florida if there is a change in income, timesharing or expenses that would cause such support to increase or decrease by 15% or $50, whichever is greater. Nonetheless, Florida can only modify child support if it has jurisdiction to do so.
If the initial child support order was issued by a Florida court and one of the parties still resides in Florida, then Florida has continuing jurisdiction to entertain a petition to modify child support. If another state issued the original child support order, Florida can only entertain a petition for modification if both parents and the child(ren) no longer live in the state that originally ordered or last modified the child support and the child(ren) now resides in Florida.
All Life Legal, P.A. can help you determine whether seeking a child support modification is appropriate in your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.