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Understanding Child Support

Understanding Child Support

All parents have a fundamental obligation to provide support for their minor or legally dependent children. However, keep in mind that child support is a legal right of the child, not the parents. Florida Statute 409.2554(6) defines a dependent child as any unemancipated person under the age of 18, any person under the age of 21 and still in school, and anyone that is determined incapacitated prior to reaching the age of 18. Likewise, under 26 U.S. Code § 152, dependency, for tax purposes, is any child that has not reached the age of 19 by the close of the taxable calendar year; of course, this policy also covers students under the age of 24.

High School & Extending Child Support in Florida

In Florida, most child support ends at the age of 18 as long as the child has graduated from high school. Child support can be extended for another year if the child is expected to graduate at the age of 19. It can also continue longer – and possible never end – if the child has special needs or intellectual disabilities.

Calculating Child Support

Child support is calculated using specific factors which allow the court to determine how much will be paid and by which parent. The first thing that needs to be determined is the gross income of each spouse. A financial affidavit shall be filled out by both parents and filed with the court, along with other documents that are required per Florida Family Court Rules of Procedure 12.285. A parent also needs to provide certain mandatory disclosure documents to their former spouse, including three years of taxes, three months of paystubs, bank statements, and some other financial documents. But what about gross income?

Gross income can include the following:

  • Salary or wages
  • Tips
  • Overtime pay
  • Income from self-employment
  • Disability benefits
  • Workers’ compensation settlements
  • Pension/retirement payments
  • Social Security benefits
  • Unemployment benefits

Florida courts will also factor in the number of children, the amount of overnight timesharing each parent has with the children, costs associated with childcare, and any health insurance premiums. Once all the financial information has been determined, they will be entered in the Florida Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines will provide you with the amount of child support that you or the other parent will receive for the support of your children. That said, although the worksheet represents an accurate amount, the final amount will be specifically determined by your individual circumstances.

Do You Have Questions About Child Support?

Contact the family lawyers at Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A. if you have questions about child support, are seeking a favorable resolution to a child support case, or need to request a child support modification. Our results-driven legal team can help you secure a favorable case result that protects your child’s best interests.

Call Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, (239) 970-6844 to schedule a free consultation.

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