Child support in Florida is a function of a statute, Chapter 61 to be exact. Florida law recognizes that each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child. Child support is determined by a child support guidelines schedule. Child support in Florida is based on that schedule and depends on certain variables, including the combined net incomes of the parents estimated to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and children were living in an intact household. The child support guidelines are meant to encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and to minimize the need for litigation.
The child support guideline amount presumptively establishes the amount the court shall find as child support either in an initial proceeding for child support or in a proceeding for modification of an existing order for child support.
The child support guidelines may provide the basis for proving a substantial change in circumstances upon which a modification of an existing child support order is based. In order to establish entitlement to a modification in an existing child support order, the difference between the existing monthly child support obligation and the amount provided for under the child support guidelines shall be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.
There are a number of ways that this threshold can be met in order to justify a modification in child support, either upwards or downwards. Recent changes in Florida child support laws may make it easier for fathers to obtain a reduction in their child support obligation, especially if they have timesharing of 73 overnights a year but less than 146 overnights a year. 146 overnights was the threshold to get substantial timesharing reduction in child support until January 1, 2011, when the new law takes effect. 73 overnights is the new threshold and can justify a reduction in dad’s monthly obligation. A couple hundred dollars each month over years until the child reaches the age of majority can mean tens of thousands of dollars in savings.
A supplemental petition to modify an existing child support order in Florida, either to increase or decrease an existing order, can be filed by either the mom or dad:
- In the circuit court of the circuit in which the parties, or either of them, resided at the date of the execution of the agreement, or
- Reside at the date of the application, or
- In which the agreement was executed, or
- In which the order was rendered.
To find out more about child support in Florida and if you qualify for a reduction or increase in an existing child support award, contact Miller Law Associates at www.DivorceYes.com. Miller Law Associates offers low cost, flat fee representation in divorce and family matters throughout Florida, including filing supplemental petitions to modify child support orders.