How does child support work in Florida?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2020 | Child Support |

In Florida, the state Department of Revenue manages child support services. Both parents have a legal obligation to provide for a minor child until he or she turns 18. 

Learn more about how Florida calculates child support for divorcing parents. 

Child support formula 

The state calculates a base child support amount by accounting for each parent’s net income along with costs such as day care and health insurance for the child. Next, the court will look at how many overnights each parent will spend with the child under the family’s parenting plan. Because the court places the child’s interest as the first priority, the formula does not consider other expenses the parents may have. 

If the parent who does not have primary physical custody has at least 73 overnights with the child in a year, the court will adjust the calculation to account for the cost of shelter, clothing and food for annual care. Florida law allows for retroactive child support to cover the period between the couple’s separation date and the date the court established the child support order. 

Modification of child support 

When either parent experiences a significant, permanent change in circumstances, he or she can petition the court for a change in child support. The judge may allow a modification at any time in the case of: 

  • Increase or decrease of at least 15% in either parent’s income 
  • Change in day care or health insurance costs 
  • Disability  
  • Job loss 
  • End of day care attendance 
  • Change in parenting schedule 

The court will approve a retroactive modification of child support only when the noncustodial parent received at least 73 overnight visits a year and did not use all his or her visitation days. 

When a couple separates, they can ask for child support services as part of the overall divorce proceedings. Either parent can also request assistance with child support from the state Department of Revenue at any time.