Florida Divorce and Child Support – A Child’s Right

One of the questions that I face most often on a daily basis are how is child support determined and will I have to pay or can we just agree to waive child support? Florida Statute §61.30 provides a breakdown of child support calculations. Generally, child support is based upon the income of the parents and the amount of “time-sharing” or custody that each parent has with the minor children.

When parties file for divorce in Florida there is broad-reaching financial disclosure that both husband and wife must provide to the court and thereby to the opposing party. From this, a general sense of the incomes of each parent can be determined. But, this is just the first of many steps that must be done before an amount for child support can be determined. Then, after determining the income of each party, an Orlando divorce attorney or the Court will combine the incomes of both parties. This will then, after applying Florida Statute §61.30, give the parties an amount, based upon the number of minor children there are, that will be required to provide the minor child with their child support amount. After this, the parties must establish either by agreement or by court order a “time-sharing” schedule which determines both which parent will have primary custodial responsibility, meaning with whom will the child live with, and then what the visitation schedule for the minor child as between the primary and non-custodial parent. Typically, the parent who has a majority of the “time-sharing” with the minor child will then be able to obtain the statutorily mandated child support amount which can vary 5% up or down by agreement and judicial approval. This is a general, basic overview of how child support is determined. Most Orlando divorce attorneys use computer programs to come up with more exact child support calculations while some still like to use the good ole’ pen and paper to work out the numbers in the equation provided by Florida Statute §61.30.

The second question is one that is simpler to answer. Most Judges and Orlando divorce attorneys understand that child support cannot be waived by either party to a divorce. Why? The reason most quoted by Judges and attorneys is that child support is a right of the child and therefore unlike other aspects to a divorce, such as alimony, the parties to the divorce, meaning the wife and husband, are unable to waive the right of their minor child or children.

Child support and how it is calculated and determined is a complex part of the divorce process when there are minor children involved. While the prospect of determining child support is scary, remember that an Orlando divorce and family law attorney can help you in making sure that you minor child or children get the child support amount that they deserve.