Can I Get Extra Child Support in Florida?
In most cases, no. The Florida child support guidelines are presumptively reasonable, and this presumption is very strong. However, a presumption is a presumption, not a conclusion. The child support guidelines were never intended to be a one-size-fits-all solution. Some exceptions could apply, usually if the parents’ incomes or the child’s needs don’t conform to guideline purposes. More on that below.
Regardless of whether the guidelines apply, a Jupiter child support attorney works hard to ensure that the divorce or other order represents the best interests of the child, while at the same time, it upholds your legal and financial rights. Most child support matters, even highly contested matters, settle out of court. These resolutions maximize results and minimize disruptions for your children.
Child Under Eighteen
Florida is an income share state. So, the guidelines account for a number of different factors, such as the proportion of overnight visits and the income of both parents, not just the obligor’s income. So, the presumption in favor of the guideline amount is even stronger than the presumption in some other states.
Florida law allows the judge to deviate from the guideline amounts in the following six situations:
- Child’s special, educational, healthcare, or other needs exceed the guideline allowance,
- Overnight visit distribution, and the parent’s income, are both substantially equal,
- The parents have made and/or the court has approved different time sharing arrangements for different children,
- The petitioner, or respondent, is not contributing to the needs of a children in a manner that’s commensurate with his/her income,
- Obligor (persona paying support) has a very high income that’s above guideline contents, or
- The actual value of the family residence, where the children live, exceeds the mortgage and other expenses, and the family home’s sale is deferred.
Overcoming the presumption is a two-step process. First, an attorney must convince a judge that the guideline amount is inappropriate. Second, a lawyer must convince a judge that the proposed deviated amount isd in the best interests of the child.
Child support is also subject to modification in Florida. The divorce or other order uses a snapshot of a family’s emotional and financial status to determine the child support obligation. If these factors substantially, permanently, and unexpectedly change, a modification, up or down, is in order.
Child Over Eighteen
In some states, most notably Illinois, the court can extend child support payments well beyond age 18.
Florida judges have much more limited authority in this area. Usually, courts can only extend child support obligations if the child is still in high school or has a significant medical need, like a permanent disability.
However, if the parties make a written agreement and file it with the court, this agreement is usually enforceable, as a contract and, in some cases, as a family law order. Over-18 child support extensions often include provisions regarding responsibility for college tuition and living expenses.
Incidentally, if the obligor still owes child support when a child turns 18, the claim legally belongs to the child, who is now an adult, at least in this context. A four-year statute of limitations usually applies in contract claims, including past-due support claims.
Connect With a Hard-Working Palm Beach County Lawyer
Divorce and related matters almost always involve financial and emotional issues. For a free consultation with an experienced Jupiter family law attorney, contact Caroline Olson, P.A. Virtual, home, and after-hours visits are available.