Every child has the legal right to receive support from his or her parents. This right exists regardless of whether the parents were married at the time of the child’s birth. The parent is usually related to the child by blood, but adoption creates a legal relationship between a child and a parent that also requires support of the child by the adoptive parent.
The Florida courts establish the child support obligation of each parent by use of Child Support Guidelines based on a formula and other requirements outlined in Florida Statute §61.30. Though this formula may appear simple to understand and utilize, the support amount owed may be impacted by the time each parent spends with the child, amounts of money paid for child care and health insurance, the “net income” each party contributes based on Financial Affidavits and other factors. A judge also has the option to increase or decrease the child support amount shown on a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet based on statutory requirements or obligations.
Child support must be addressed by the Court in a divorce case or paternity case which has been filed by one of the parties, but can also arise based on an action brought by the Department of Revenue against a father, even if the mother has not initiated court action.
Child support is complex. If you have questions regarding a pending case or wish to understand your rights, or the rights of your child: