All You Need to Know about Child Support: Frequently Asked Questions
Divorce or breaking up can be a very trying time in one’s life. Especially when there is a child in the midst of the chaos. Read the below guide to help you determine all you need to know about child support.
How to determine how much of your income goes into child support:The equation used to calculate the amount of income that’s dedicated to child support varies from state to state. In Florida, child support is governed by Fla. Stat. § 61.30.
The following are some of the factors used to determine child support (a) The net income of each parent; (b) The time (overnights) the child spends with each parent; (c) The needs specific to each child (Health insurance, special needs, etc.)
How long does a parent have to keep paying child support?You can stop paying child support on one of these four situations (which will be spelled out in the Court’s order for child support):
(1). Your child becomes an adult - age 18. (Unless s/he has special needs AND you file a petition to extend child support before they turn 18).
(2). Your child becomes 18 AND has graduated high school.
(3). Your child becomes a part of the army.
(4). Your child is adopted, and your parental rights are terminated as a result.
(5). Your child is emancipated. (S/He is declared an adult by the court because he has the ability to support himself.)
What are the consequences of not paying child support?There are lots of serious consequences to not paying child support as agreed or ordered. This includes the risk of getting your driver’s license suspended, or not being able to renew your passport and travel outside of the country, or the garnishment of tax refunds. These are just a few of the potential consequences. In some instances, a person can be placed in jail if the court finds that they can pay child support and has willingly refused to do so. That person will be ordered to pay a “purge” which is the amount the Judge believes you can pay based on your testimony or financial affidavit or both. This may require the parent to sell certain items to make the payment. Therefore, going without a legal advocate is not advisable, as the risk of incarceration is listed on the notice, but often overlooked.
Can I modify my child support?Yes, there are certain instances when child support can be modified. For example, the child’s daycare expenses have changed, or the income of the parents have changed. Another example is that the other parent is not seeing the child pursuant to the custody order/agreement. There are very specific reasons which allow for a modification to take place. However, if you fail to ask for it, the Court cannot make the change.