Child support is an obligation of both parents. In general, if a child lives mostly with one parent, the other parent will help supplement the costs of raising and caring for the child through child support.
The court determines the amount of child support through guidelines set by the Florida Statutes.
The guidelines use a calculation of both parents’ incomes, the number of children and other important factors to determine the amount of support. The law does allow the court to go 5% above or below the set guideline amount based on the factors of your specific case.
It is also possible for the court to increase the guideline amount by over 5% if there are extenuating circumstances and the judge provides written reasoning for the amount determined fair. This is more likely to occur when there is a substantial difference in incomes between the two parents.
The court does have some ability to alter set guidelines, which is important to note. You cannot compare your child support case to someone else’s because the different factors the court uses and the judge’s discretion will not be the same in every case. Even knowing the guidelines is not always going to help you to know what you will get because of the judge’s ability to alter them.
When your case goes to the court for a modification request, the court will only consider changing your child support amount if there is a difference of 15% or $50. The higher of the two options apply. For example, if the change is 15% but would only amount in a $40 difference, then you would not get the modification because it is not at least $50.
Child support can be complicated because of the law allowing the judge to make objective decisions regarding awards.