Parents of a minor child have an equal legal obligation to support their child. This right to support belongs to the child and cannot be waived by either parent. This right applies to an adopted child the same as a natural child. Child Support, however, does not apply to step children or foster children.
During the pendency of the divorce, the Court may order one or both parents to pay child support. The amount of Child Support in Florida is generally determined using the Child Support Guidelines contained in the Florida Rules of Court. The amount contained in the Guidelines is presumptive in nature and the Court may modify the amount after considering the totality of the circumstances.
In determining the Child Support under the Guidelines, each party's net monthly income is computed. If a party is unemployed or underemployed, the Court may impute an income to that party for purposes of determining Child Support. The monthly incomes are combined and a ratio is determined which will set out each parent's amount of child support.
The Court is also required to Order that the child is covered by health care insurance if such insurance is reasonably available.
Downward adjustments can be made to one party's final child support sum if the child spends more than 40% if his/her time with that parent.
Retroactive Child Support may be Court Ordered from the date of the filing of the Petition for Divorce.
Child Support in Florida generally terminates when the child reaches 18 years old. Exceptions are made when the child is disabled prior to age 18 or if the child is still enrolled in high school, which can continue to age 19.
Child Support issues are some of the most complex issues encountered in a divorce preceding. A complete understanding of the nuances of Child Support is necessary to maximize the amount of child support received or minimize the amount of child support paid.
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