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Florida Family Law

10 Child Support Myths in Florida

Child Support Myths


Posted on January 26, 2018

Child support disputes can often cause parents to turn on each other and, at the same time, motivate them to involve their children as a form of revenge. When it comes to how child support payments are awarded, there is a lot of misconception and confusion. By familiarizing yourself with proper information, you will be better prepared to make the best decisions for you and your family. Here is a look at some of the most common child support myths, and information you can use to better educate yourself about the myths.

Myth #1. If you aren’t working, you don’t have to pay child support.

Both parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially. Once a court determines you must pay child support, you are obligated to pay the specific amount that has been set. Payments may be deferred or reduced in the event you may lose your job or a source of income, but this must be approved by the Court before you unilaterally reduce the child support on your own.

Myth #2. No one pays child support if parents share parental responsibility.

Although there are cases where this is true, most times one parent will likely pay child support. Even when the parents share parental responsibility, it’s likely the kids will be with one parent more than the other. The child support is used to help both parents carry the financial burden equally.

Myth #3. Child support stops once the child turns 18.

This was true for a time, but it’s now common for child support to continue after 18 in certain circumstances.  For instance, if a child turns 18 while still in high school, payments may continue until the child graduates. Florida child support may also never end for a child who has special needs and cannot become a self-supporting adult.

Myth #4. Child support payments are tax deductible.

Child support payments are not considered income. The paying parent cannot deduct payments from their taxable income, and the receiving parent shouldn’t include them as part of their earned income. Speak with your accountant for further information.

Myth #5. Child support payments can only be spent on the kids.

Child support can also be used for indirect support such as health insurance, housing, food, and other expenses you spend on behalf of the child.

Myth #6. Child support amounts are awarded based on the child’s needs.

Support payments have little to do with the costs of raising a child, although you may be able to deviate from child support guidelines. Speak with an attorney about the deviation factors, and what you should expect. Typically the child support guidelines are  based on a formula that considers the parent’s wages from employment, and the expenses the parent pays for health insurance for themselves and the child, daycare, mandatory retirement payments, and union dues.

Myth #7. If you lose your job, you will be sent to jail because you can’t make your payments.

You will not be criminally liable for non-payments unless the Court finds that you can make your child support payments but refuse to do so.

Myth #8. Filing for bankruptcy will relieve you from having to pay child support.

One of the few debts that can’t be erased when filing for bankruptcy is child support. Back child support may be put on hold but will be required to be paid again once the bankruptcy is finalized.

Myth #9. A parent who doesn’t pay their child support will lose their rights to custody or parenting time.

Parents can be held in contempt, fined, or put in jail for not making their payments, but they will not lose custody or parenting time rights. Also, parents who are owed child support, will not be justified in denying parenting time. Speak with an attorney immediately if your significant other is denying you time-shared solely based on your failure to pay child support.

Myth #10. Back child support will not be collected when the child turns 18.

Many times an obligor will quit making payments in hopes it will go unnoticed by the Court until the child becomes of age, which is the time they believe the missed payments won’t matter. However, back payments can be collected after the child turns 18. Not paying child support doesn’t erase the responsibility, it just prolongs it.

Under Florida Law, both parents are required to financially support their minor children during the marriage and after divorcing. There are specific guidelines and methods that are used to determine how much child support will be paid to one parent by the other. Do not try and figure out the amounts yourself online—speak with a professional who has experience with family law cases to calculate the true amount.

At The Roberts Family Law Firm, our family law attorneys understand that child support can be a complex and discouraging process. Whether you are obligated to pay or receive, our lawyers can help guide you through how a support order is determined. Call us today at 407-426-6999 or fill out the online form on this page and we will contact you as quickly as possible.

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