Child Support FAQs

Consult an Experienced Palm Beach Gardens Family Lawyer

Both parents are legally responsible for providing financial support to their minor children in Florida. Child support is necessary so that a child’s essential needs for food, shelter, and clothing are met. If you are having trouble collecting child support from your former spouse following a divorce, a family attorney serving Palm Beach Gardens clients can help you receive the support that your child deserves.

How is the amount of child support determined?

In Florida, courts determine the amount of child support owed by each parent by referring to a set of guidelines established by law. The judge takes into account the number of children, the net income from both parents, healthcare and daycare costs for the children, and amount of overnight visits the children spend with each parent.

Does the court take other bills into consideration?

Florida statutes that set the guidelines for establishing child support do not factor in other bills parents may have for their own needs, such as car or house payments. The law focuses on the child’s needs first. One exception is that a court may deviate from the guidelines if a support order would render one parent impoverished.

Can I get child support for expenses I’ve already incurred?

When child support is awarded, a parent may receive retroactive support for the period of time between when the parents separated and when the child support order is rendered. If the parents separated more than two years before a child support petition is filed, retroactive support may also be given for the time frame of two years between filing the petition and when the order becomes effective.

How can I enforce a child support order?

There are several options for enforcement if one parent fails to make child support payments. The court could suspend a parent’s driver’s license, place a lien on his or her property, or hold the parent in contempt. It may also be possible to seize the parent’s bank account, or if timeliness is an issue, the court can order interest to build for overdue payments. Since there is no statute of limitations on enforcement actions, child support orders can be enforced even after a child turns 18.

Can the amount I pay in child support be changed if I lose my job?

A child support award can be modified if a parent shows a permanent, substantial, and unanticipated change in circumstances. This change is often shown if a parent loses his or her job, becomes disabled, terminates daycare, or suffers at least a 15 percent drop in income. A modification only becomes effective from the date of filing. No retroactive change to a support order is applied, so it is important to file a modification request as soon as circumstances change.

My children are living with me now. Do I still owe child support?

If there has been a substantial change in living arrangements since the child support order was first issued, you may not need to pay child support. If one parent has fewer than 70 overnight visits with the child each year, an adjustment may be made to the child support calculation. A switch in who pays support may be appropriate based on the alteration of time spent with each parent to account for both parents providing food, clothing, and shelter for the child within their care. A modification action needs to be filed to change the time-sharing agreement or suspend or modify child support payments. Without proper filing, any arrears could remain due.

Dedicated Family Attorney Representing West Palm Beach Clients

Making sure your children get the financial support they need when they are with either parent is an important undertaking, requiring time and effort to make sure each parent understands and abides by their obligations. A knowledgeable West Palm Beach family lawyer like myself, William Wallshein, can help you seek the child support your child deserves. I have over 30 years of experience as an attorney, and I have dedicated most of that time to helping parents throughout Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and the rest of South Florida collect child support to properly provide for their children. Please call 561-533-1221 to schedule a free initial consultation, or contact me online. We accept credit cards for payment.