Factors and Guidelines Determining Florida Child Support

Effects of Divorce on ChildrenWithin this State, a court will issue a Florida child support order outlining what parents must do to adequately support and care for their children. According to Florida Law, enforcing child support orders means getting the parent to follow and abide by what the order states. This court order makes clear the financial responsibilities each parent must meet for their children’s housing, food, education, health care and other living expenses.

Child support is calculated pursuant to Florida Statute 61.30. These are regulations used to determine the level of support needed for a child, as well as the amount a parent has to pay. Florida child support guidelines help ensure support amounts are fair and equitable in relation to the parent’s financial abilities.

The guidelines are used the first time child support is ordered and every time the child support amount changes. The court will also use these legal guidelines during any review of the court order to see if the support amount should be changed. In the state of Florida the financial obligation usually ceases when the child turns eighteen, although in certain cases involving special needs, it may extend beyond this age, or until high school graduation.

Florida Child Support Guidelines Consider:

  • Income of both parents
  • Child’s health care and child care costs
  • The standard needs for the child or children. Support amounts are based on the child’s age, net income of the parents and calculated pursuant to Florida Statute 61.30, which uses a mathematical formula – Standard Needs Table.
  • Amount of overnights each parent has with the child.

The court or agency establishing Florida child support must use these guidelines to determine the amount of child support that will go in a Florida support order. Since every case is different, with some including special circumstances, the amount of child support can vary. A Florida Family Court will use the formula established by Florida Law to make adjustments resulting in higher or lower child support than indicated in the guideline amounts.

If the court orders payment of Florida child support in an amount that varies more than 5 percent from the guidelines, it must make a written finding explaining why the guideline amount is unjust or inappropriate. A more detailed list of variable factors that determine child support amount can be found on our website.

Of all the Florida child support factors outlined, extraordinary medical or dental expenses of the child, and special needs, such as costs that may be associated with the disability of a child, may certainly cause the support to exceed proposed guidelines. Finally it is worth noting the Florida Family Court or agency has the right to  look at factors that are not included in guidelines or estimates.

If you have questions regarding Family Law and Florida Child Support in the State of Florida, please contact: Eric C. Cheshire (561) 655-8844 or eric@cheshirefamilylaw.com