A child support order tells both parents what they must do to financially support their children.
The amount of child support is based on guidelines defined in Florida law. Child support guidelines are standards used to figure out the support needed for a child and the amount a parent has to pay. Guidelines help make sure support amounts are fair. Every state has guidelines, but they may be different in each state.
These guidelines are used the first time child support is ordered and every time the child support amount changes. They are also used to review the order to see if the support amount should be changed.
Child support guidelines consider:
- The income of both parents
- The child's health care and child care costs
- The standard needs for the child. A list of support amounts based on the child's age and net income of the parents is in the Florida law – standard needs table.
The court or agency establishing support must use these guidelines to decide the amount of child support. In some circumstances, support amounts can be higher or lower than the guideline amounts, such as in the cases of high medical expenses or other care considerations. Judges are typically required to give written reasons why support amounts vary from guideline amounts.
You can get an estimate of child support amounts by using the Florida Child Support Calculator. The calculator use your information and the information from the other parent to determine an estimate of your child's support amount. This estimate is for informational purposes only. A court or agency may look at factors that are not included in your estimate.
Modifying Child Support
Other reasons to modify a support order can include:
- Adding or removing a child from the order
- Extending the time support needs to be paid
- Adding or removing medical support from the order