My spouse and I have decided to divorce and we have three children. I want to make sure they are financially taken care of, but I need to understand the child support process in Florida. Is there information available that can help me?
Child support overview
Parents have a responsibility to financially support their children and provide for their needs like food, shelter, education and medical needs. In Florida, child support orders are established administratively and have the same effect as a court order.
The parent who owes or may owe child support will receive notice of the child support action. The child support program will ask each parent for information about their finances and other information. The child support program will then review that information along with the child support guidelines to calculate the amount of support.
Each parent will receive a proposed order with the amount. The parents can agree to the order or if they disagree, they can request a hearing. When a final amount is determined, the final order of support is filed with the Clerk of Court.
Child support modifications
Sometimes, it is necessary for the paying parent to ask for a change to the support amount. This is called a modification and is generally requested when there has been a significant change in the paying parent’s financial circumstances.
It’s important that the parent does not just simply stop paying the support, however. Until the child support program agrees to modify the order, the parent must continue paying the amount of child support in the original order. There can be significant consequences for failure to do so.
An experienced family law attorney can help parents understand their child support obligations.