A Guide to Understanding Child Support

parenting and child support

All able and willing parents have the legal obligation to care for their children, regardless of if they are married, divorced, or co-parenting. Child support payments ensure that children under 18 in the state of Florida are given the financial resources they need for essentials such as education, healthcare, food, and clothing. Understanding the process for obtaining child support in Florida can be complicated. Having the aid of a family law attorney like Frank P. Remsen can be invaluable to your case.


Who is entitled to child support? 

In most co-parenting and divorce cases, child support payments are necessary— even when the child spends equal time with both parents. However, who is responsible for paying child support depends on several factors. Typically, the non-custodial parent makes child support payments to the custodial parent. Primary parental custody is specified if the child spends 80% or more of the time with that parent. If the child splits their time evenly, the parent who earns more is generally responsible for paying child support to the less-earning parent.


How are child support payments determined? 

Florida follows the Income Shares Model to determine the minimum amount of child support a parent needs to pay. The model is based on the parent’s net income and the number of children who need care. Income is considered wages, salaries, and other types of income such as bonuses, disability payments, unemployment benefits, self-employment income, and social security payments. If one parent is unemployed, the court may attribute an income based on work history, qualifications, and the median salary for a related full-time job. Once both parents fill out income verification documents, a hearing takes place to decide which parent is responsible for paying child support.


Child support can be mailed or made online directly to the Florida Department of Revenue, which receives and distributes weekly, biweekly, or monthly payments.


What happens when a parent does not pay child support? 

If a parent has not paid their monthly child support payment 15 days after it is due, the court clerk will send the parent notice of delinquency. There are some severe consequences if a parent refuses to pay child support. That parent may be held in contempt of court (which could lead to jail time) or be charged with a felony if the parent owes more than $2,500. Failure to pay child support may also affect the parent’s credit score or result in a lien on their home. An employer may also garnish the offending parent’s wages if they refuse to pay child support. If circumstances alter the non-custodial parent’s ability to make payments, he or she can file to modify the agreement.


Central Florida family law attorney 

Having the assistance of a family attorney during a divorce proceeding can be advantageous to winning back-payments in child support. The Law Offices of Frank P. Remsen, P.A. can assist with filing all the necessary documents for child support. We have several locations throughout Orange and Seminole County. Speak with an experienced family lawyer today by calling  352-309-0970.