How Does Child Support Work?

Child Support is calculated by a mathematical formula that is provided by law in Florida. This formula is known as the Child Support Guidelines. It is unusual to deviate from the child support guidelines.

The Child Support Guidelines takes into account your net income, meaning how much money you take home after taxes, and other allowable deductions that are deducted from your gross income. Both parents’ net incomes are used to calculate the amount of child support that will be paid. You are only responsible for paying the same percentage of childcare that you paid when you were married. For example, if you paid for 60% of the childcare while you were with your spouse then you will continue to pay 60% once you are divorced.Credits are provided for child support previously ordered and actually paid for, a child of another relationship, health insurance costs for the child, and day care costs for the child if it is necessary for work. An additional credit may apply for substantial time-sharing. Substantial time-sharing means that the child spends more than 20% of the time or 73 overnights with a parent.

Child support is typically paid in accordance with your job’s pay period. Self-employed parents should speak with their attorney about their pay period. Regardless of whether you are self-employed or not, child support is usually due on a monthly basis. In most cases an Income Withholding Order will be entered that requires your employer to withhold the child support from your paycheck and forward it to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The SDU maintains records of all child support payments and ensures that payments are made to the receiving parent.

Tips About Child Support:

  • Never fall behind on a payment. Payments are not forgiven and will quickly begin to pile up.
  • Child support is different than alimony in that the court system expects you to pay child support before paying for your own basic needs (rent, groceries, car payment, etc.).
  • You will only pay child support until your child turn eighteen(18) or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.
  • Some people feel uneasy about having their child support withdrawn from their paycheck. The SDU, however, is the easiest and safest way to pay your child support. By automatically withdrawing and depositing your child support every month, the SDU guarantees that you will never miss a payment and that you have solid evidence if your ex claims that you missed a payment.