Florida law obligates parents to provide support for their children. In Florida, child support determinations are made based on an income-shares model. Essentially, under this model, the court will estimate the amount of money the parents would have spent on the child, if they had not separated. This estimate is based largely in part on both parent’s incomes, as well as certain deductions. The court then divides this amount between the two parents, based on their incomes.
Florida courts will look to the Florida Child Support Guidelines (Florida Statute 61.30) to determine the exact amount of child support for each child. The amount determined is presumptive, meaning that the court (in most cases) is not able to defer from the amount obligated in the guidelines. While the child support statutes do list the specific factors that the court will consider in making a child support award, the statute and factors are extensive and can be confusing and overwhelming. Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate this process.
To begin, for the court to issue a child support order, both parents will be required to file financial affidavits, listing all individual incomes and expenses. Each party will also be required to file a child support guidelines worksheet. For the purposes of child support, “income” refers to more than just money gained from employment, but also from pensions, unemployment, spousal support, and more. Further, Florida law allows the court to “impute” income to parents who are “underemployed.” Our attorneys can help use this information to determine how much child support each parent could be liable for.
Retroactive Child Support – Retroactive child support under Florida law refers to child support that accrued prior to the date of the filing of the application for child support. This means that if the child lived with one parent solely when the parents separated, the court can order child support to cover the time between separation and the filing of the application. The maximum amount of retroactive child support allowable under Florida law is 24 months. Our experienced attorneys can help you determine how much retroactive support you may be entitled to or liable for. Contact our office today to let us know how we can help you.