A child support order tells the parents what they must do to support their children. Enforcing child support orders means getting the parent to do what the order says.
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 that will go in a Florida support order. In special circumstances, support amounts can be higher or lower than the guideline amounts. For example, a judge may consider a child’s high medical expenses as a reason to change the support amount. In most cases, judges have to give written reasons why support amounts are different from guideline amounts.
You can get an estimate of child support amounts by using the Florida Child Support Calculator. The calculator will take the information you put in and give you 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.