Common Child Support Questions & Answers

The subject of child support makes up one of the most contentious areas of divorce proceedings. There may be disagreements between parents about what amount of support is fair or reasonable and the best way to divide time to minimize financial obligations. It is possible for one parent to feel underpaid, while the other parent may feel they’re paying far too much. That said, areas of high conflict in a divorce are where both parties are likely to have more than a few questions about their rights and how the law applies to their unique situation.

Here at Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC, our family law attorneys are dedicated to providing clients with the information they need to make wise and informed decisions. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most frequently asked questions our child support attorneys receive about child support in Florida.

Don’t see your question anywhere? Contact us today to learn more or request a free consultation with an experienced child support attorney!

When Does Child Support In Florida End?

Generally, child support in Florida ends when your child reaches the age of eighteen. If a child reaches the age of eighteen and is still progressing towards a high school diploma, child support will continue until the earlier of the child graduating from high school or reaching 19 years of age.

Can You Be Ordered To Pay College Tuition & Expenses As Florida Child Support?

In Florida, courts cannot order you or compel you to pay for college expenses. Parties can agree in a Marital Settlement Agreement that one or both parties will be responsible for some or all college expenses. Agreements regarding college expenses need to be carefully drafted in order to be enforceable, as there are many variables that impact college expenses. The experienced family lawyers with Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC can help make certain your Marital Settlement Agreement sets forth your exact expectations and remains enforceable.

What Happens To Prepaid College Plans In A Florida Divorce?

Prepaid college plans are generally marital assets and are subject to division by Florida courts. Many couples will decide the prepaid college funds can only be spent with the consent of both parents, to avoid one party depleting the college funds.

Can I Receive Child Support During My Divorce?

Temporary child support during a Florida divorce proceeding prior to a final order may be agreed to between the parties. If the parties cannot agree, you may petition the court for a Motion for Temporary Support, Time-Sharing, or Other Relief. Florida has approved Family Law Form 12.947 (a) for such support.

Parties should be diligent when pursuing or answering a Petition for Temporary Support & Time Sharing. Temporary often becomes permanent. If you are seeking a “50/50” timesharing arrangement, you should seek it in any temporary hearing or agreement.

Time-sharing directly affects child support. Good practice in Florida requires that you exercise all of your time-sharing from the outset and seek the timesharing that you will ultimately seek in your dissolution case.

Spouses will oftentimes agree on temporary support without consulting an attorney. Making agreements without legal counsel can have significant effects on your final judgment. Courts may view an agreement in which you are paying more than you would be required for child support as evidence of your ability to provide additional support. Furthermore, providing more support than will ultimately be required may create resentment with your former spouse when the support level drops to a lower court-ordered amount.

Seek the advice of our attorneys in Longwood, Florida, to provide the proper level of support to your children based on your circumstances, both parties’ income levels, and the amount of timesharing between the parents.

Is Florida Child Support Tax Deductible?

Child support is not deductible for income tax purposes for the payor. Child support is not considered income to the payee for income tax purposes.

Changes To Florida Alimony Deducibility

Before January 1, 2019, alimony could be deductible by the payor for Federal Income Taxes. Beginning January 1, 2019, Alimony is not deductible for Federal Tax purposes. Alimony will not be considered income for the recipient. For judgments and orders entered before January 1, 2019, alimony may be deductible from the income of the payor and may be income to the recipient.

Can I Obtain Retroactive Child Support In Florida?

Florida allows for a court to order retroactive child support for up to 24 months from the date of the petition for child support. The child support award is within the court’s discretion and the court will consider the income applicable to the retroactive period. A court will also consider payments that were actually made by the parent during the retroactive period.

How Should I Pay My Child Support?

If you are providing support for a minor child, make certain that it is verifiable. It is good practice to pay by check and put “Child Support” in the memo section of the check and to keep good records. Paying by cash is difficult to prove in a later proceeding. Even if you and your spouse are getting along, if you are separated and providing support, make the payments by check or money order.

How Is Retroactive Child Support Paid?

Courts will usually consider installment plans for the payment of retroactive child support.

Is There A Maximum Amount Of Child Support That I Am Liable For?

Courts generally do not require child support payments in excess of 55% of a parent’s net income, absent evidence of other assets available to satisfy the child support.

What Options Do You Have When Your Spouse Refuses To Comply With Child Support Orders?

Courts generally require that a spouse pay their child support through income deduction orders or require payment through the registry of the Court.

You should insist on payment through the Florida State Disbursement Unit. Payments can be viewed as posted on the MyFloridaCounty website. Payment online ensures the proper record for verification, and the website allows both payors and recipients the ability to view the status of child support payments.

You can seek an Order of Enforcement or Contempt Order to require your spouse to comply with court-ordered child support. A court can award attorney’s fees, suspend the non-paying spouse’s driver’s license, seize assets, and seize the passport of a non-paying spouse. A court can also order that tax refunds be given to the non-paying parent that not receive proper child support payments from the payor parent.

The clerk’s office in your county can send a Notice of Delinquency if a payment is more than 15 days overdue. In addition to working with your attorney, you can seek assistance from the Florida Department of Revenue. The Florida Department of Revenue website can also provide assistance with enforcement as well as other services.

Can I Keep My Child From My Spouse If They Are Behind On Child Support?

The court order regarding visitation and child custody remains in place until modified. If a spouse is persistently failing to pay child support, you may seek enforcement through the courts. If you are paying child support and your spouse is withholding visitations with your children, continue to make your payments and seek enforcement through the courts. Withholding your child because your spouse is violating their support obligations only puts you in violation of the visitation order.

Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC is a civil law firm with over 25 years of experience serving Central Florida. Our attorneys offer dependable services in a number of legal disciplines, including business law, estate planning, and family law. Get in touch with us today to request a free consultation!