How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?

Key Takeaways
  • Child support in Florida is based primarily on the income of both parents and the best interests of the children involved.
  • Other factors can also affect child support, such as the number of children, time-sharing arrangements, and insurance needs.
  • You can request a child support order modification if there is a significant change in your family’s circumstances.
  • Judges may also order retroactive child support (not the same as “back support”) and temporary child support to cover the period while proceedings are pending.
  • Alimony and child support serve different purposes, and Florida judges use separate criteria to determine each.

Results in Florida child support and child custody cases are based heavily on the best interests of the children involved. Child support laws also feature very specific statutory guidelines used to determine how much financial responsibility separated parents should hold in the upbringing of their children. There are a variety of factors judges may consider before deciding on a final child support amount.

If you need help securing child support or have questions about how child support is calculated in Florida, reach out to our experienced family law attorneys at the O’Mara Law Group. We will handle your case with unwavering compassion and dedication, striving to secure the best result possible for you and your family. To schedule your free, confidential consultation, call (407) 326-0089 or contact us online.

How Is Child Support Determined?

In Florida, child support payments are determined primarily based on each parent’s income. Judges use an official worksheet to determine how much child support is owed in each case. Important factors include:

Child support calculation in Florida normally starts by looking at the parents’ combined monthly income. The child support worksheet indicates the required monthly payments based on the combined income level. Each parent’s contribution percentile is then multiplied by the total required support amount to determine their individual monthly support obligation.

For example, as of June 2024, if parents have a combined monthly income of $7,000, the corresponding child support for one child is $1,212 per month. If each parent contributes 50 percent to their total income, their individual monthly child support obligation will be $606 (50 percent of $1,212).

However, though the formula described above sets a legal baseline, courts can also look at other factors to determine child support in Florida. Each family’s situation is unique, and judges take a holistic approach before entering final child support orders.

Additional Factors Determining Child Support Payments

In addition to each parent’s contribution to their available monthly income, other factors can also be important when calculating child support, including:

Support amounts generally increase with the number of children, but the calculation is not always straightforward. For example, multiple children spending different amounts of time at each parent’s house could affect the final support order. 

Though Florida parents cannot waive their child support obligations, they may choose to work out a payment arrangement that suits both parties, so long as it complies with the law and is in their children’s best interest. For instance, if one parent receives childcare benefits from work, they may take advantage of the benefits while the other spouse covers insurance. 

Judges can deviate up to 5 percent from the baseline statutory guidelines at their discretion. Parents can also ask for a higher deviation based on a variety of factors, such as the other parent refusing to be involved in child-rearing, as the refusal can significantly raise expenses for the petitioning parent. Ultimately, the best interests of the children is the weightiest consideration in Florida child custody and support matters.

Can Child Support Be Modified?

In Florida, either parent can request a child support modification. The parent making the request must show a substantial change in circumstances. Changes in income, time-sharing, insurance costs, and other scenarios could justify the modification of an existing order. 

Normally, child support ends when the child reaches the age of 18. However, judges may extend it if a child turns 18 but is still in high school and is reasonably likely to graduate before turning 19. It can also be extended for children with disabilities. 

Contact our experienced child support lawyer to learn more about child support modification in Florida. If you need more child support, we can work to secure an increase as quickly as possible. If you can no longer afford to comply with an order, we can request a modification to help you avoid the consequences of missing child support payments, which can include asset seizure, driver’s license suspension, wage garnishment, and other penalties.

Other Florida Child Support Considerations

Either parent can file a motion for temporary child support pending the dissolution of their marriage, as well as support unrelated to a divorce. They must explain why they need the temporary support, and a judge will determine if it is warranted and for how long. Temporary support ends when the judge issues a final support order.

A judge may also order retroactive child support, which differs from “back child support.” The latter is meant to make up for missed payments after a final support order has been issued. By contrast, retroactive child support reimburses the non-paying parent for expenditures incurred during the period before a final support order is issued.

In many cases, unmarried mothers seeking child support need help from an experienced Orlando paternity lawyer. Unmarried fathers may also need help establishing paternity if they want to participate in the upbringing of their children.

Alimony and Child Support

Alimony and child support serve different purposes and are governed by separate laws. In many cases, judges order both. However, one does not replace the other, and each will have a separate end date.

Alimony provides economic support for the non-paying spouse after a divorce. Importantly, if you have custody of your children, it does not automatically exempt you from paying alimony to the non-custodial parent.

Child support payments address only the child’s needs. To protect a child support order, a judge may require the paying spouse to purchase a life insurance policy or bond, or use other assets, to secure the support award. Child support lasts until a child turns 18 unless a judge orders otherwise.

Rely On a Child Support Lawyer at O'Mara Law Group

It can be challenging to navigate Florida’s family law system, especially if you are dealing with a contentious divorce or other complicated family situation. Worrying about meeting your child’s current and future financial needs only adds to the burden. While you can request modifications to a child support order, it is best to get it right the first time.

Our award-winning child support lawyers have extensive experience helping families find the best path forward. Call (407) 326-0089 or contact us online to schedule your free, confidential consultation.


child support featured image

How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?

Results in Florida child support and child custody cases are based heavily on the best interests of the children involved. Child support laws also feature ...
Learn More →
Attorneys having a conversation

Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Whether you have been charged with a DUI, a theft, or any other criminal offense, you are likely very concerned about your future. The situation ...
Learn More →
A civil rights book on a table

Rights of the Custodial vs. Non-Custodial Parent Blog

When parents divorce or separate, understanding the rights of the custodial vs. non-custodial parent is crucial for navigating child custody arrangements. While custodial parents typically ...
Learn More →
Schedule a Consultation Today
Schedule a Consultation Today