Can You Opt-Out of Child Support in Florida

According to Florida law, parents are responsible for providing financial support for their minor children. This legal requirement supersedes marriage, so even if a couple has never married or is currently divorced, the financial requirement remains in place until the child is a legal adult.

A Guide to Child Support in Florida

The purpose of child support is the continued stable support of a minor child despite the marital status of their parents. Both parents are responsible for the financial support of their minor child. If the parents are married, once paternity is established, it can be difficult to end support payments before the child reaches adulthood. The Florida Department of Revenue oversees child support payments within the state.

If you need help with a Florida child support order, the Florida Department of Revenue also assists in other matters, like:

  • Locating Parents
  • Paternity
  • Financial Assessments
  • Modification Orders
  • Establishing Child Support Orders
  • Enforcement Requests
  • Payment Accounting
  • Parenting Classes

How is Child Support Determined in Florida?

While child custody and support are connected issues as they refer to the same child, they are matters that are handled separately. Custody is about the physical location and care of a child, and support is about financial care. Custody affects support when one parent has limited child interaction. Non-custodial parents typically end up paying child support in most cases. When both parents are employed and sharing custody, it can be difficult to determine if a support order is needed. The court system will review several factors when making its decision.

Florida support courts use the following factors from the Income Shares Model to review all types of assets:

  • Wages and salary
  • Bonuses, commissions, and tips
  • Disability benefits
  • Spousal support
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Social Security payments
  • Retirement and pension plans
  • Property ownership
  • Unemployment assistance
  • Other forms of compensation through self-employed or contractor work

The court will calculate child support payments using a total of each parent’s gross wages. The gross wage figure is the remaining funds left after deductions, taxes, alimony, and any other support payments. Child support orders are active until the minor in the order has reached adulthood or has a disability that requires long-term care.

Ending or Modifying a Child Support Order

Once a child support order has been issued, it can be difficult to change the payment amount or duration. Modification orders typically require a status change. If one parent can provide proof of a change in status, the state will review the modification request.

Here are a few examples of an instance where a parent could request a modification to a child support order:

  • A pay increase
  • An inheritance
  • Winning the lottery
  • Loss of job
  • Serious medical problems

Parental Agreement: Child support payments can be stopped if both parents agree they are no longer needed. That is not to say it will be easy to do, and if it’s accepted, a judge can overturn the cancellation if they determine the absence of support will not be fair or was coerced. Generally, the judge won’t fight the parents if they feel the agreement is honest and well-intended.

Terminating Support: A parent can give up their parental rights. This is only allowable if they follow Florida requirements. Child support agreements are also terminated when one parent passes away. It can be modified or terminating if the payee party goes to prison or loses their job.

Clearwater Child Support Attorneys

If you’re considering a divorce and you have minor-aged children, issues of child support will loom large in your case. The attorneys at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. can work with you to ensure you’ve submitted all the documents and financial disclosures needed to finalize your child support order. Our attorneys represent both mothers and fathers in divorce and support cases, and we can help you plan for your Florida child support case today! Call us at (727) 245-9009 to schedule a consultation.