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Child Support

Parents have an obligation to contribute to the support and maintenance of their minor child(ren). Child support is determined through a number of factors and calculated according to Florida Statutes §61.30. Among the factors considered by the court and effecting the child support amount, is the income of the parties, health insurance costs, taxes, daycare expenses, timesharing schedule between the parents and child(ren) and other considerations as listed in the Statute.

Paying child support is a legal obligation of both parents and the parents cannot contract away the child’s right to receive child support through an agreement not to pay one another child support. Child support is generally paid until a child becomes emancipated, which ordinarily occurs when the child attains the age of eighteen (18) years. However, in certain situations, a parent can be ordered to pay child support after a child attains the age of eighteen (18) years.

Child support may be calculated from the date of separation of the parties, but a party may seek to recover retroactive child support from the other party under certain circumstances. Retroactive child support can be ordered by the court for a period of time where the obligation to pay would have existed, but for the fact that the support amount was not yet set or otherwise calculated. Generally, a person cannot seek retroactive child support prior to twenty-four (24) months of the date of filing a petition.

Child support arrearages refer to amounts of child support that are due, but have not been paid. Generally, once child support is in arrears, it becomes vested meaning that it remains due and is non-modifiable. Ordinarily, a parent cannot pursue child support or seek child support arrearages on behalf of a child once the child attains the age of eighteen (18) years.

When a parent has been ordered by the court to pay child support but fails or refuses to do so, that party may be held in contempt of court. A contempt of court action is commonly commenced by the filing of a motion for contempt. If once a child support obligation has been established the paying party is for some reason unable to comply and pay the amount of support established, that party may petition the court for a modification of his or her child support obligation.

Calculating the correct amount of child support is vital to ensure a child is properly supported, but also to ensure that the parent is paying the proper amount of support under the law. The calculation of child support is vital not only to assure the child is properly supported, but also to ensure you are not required to pay more child support than is appropriate.