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Florida Child Support Explained

Whether during a divorce or a breakup, having the courts determine child support payments can be a stressful experience. In many situations, parents have difficulty understanding how the amount was calculated and why. This confusion can apply to both the parent paying the support and the one who receives it. This guide will give an outline of what child support is supposed to be used for.

What Should Child Support Cover?

Understanding what child support should cover is a complex subject. Support payments in Florida are calculated based on a formula that takes many factors into account. The primary factors that are considered include the incomes of each party and the needs of the child. The first goal of any child support order is going to be to ensure both parents are contributing to the basic needs of the child. These include things like:

  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Cost of Medical Care
  • Educational Needs

Even a parent with very little income will be expected to contribute in order to help pay for these basic necessities.

How Additional Expenses Are Covered

In the majority of cases, the income of the paying parent will be enough to help cover more than the basic necessitates of their child. When this is the situation, the court will expect the parent to help contribute toward a child’s additional needs. Ideally, this should allow the child to get the same level of economic support as if the parents had remained together. Some of the additional things that support will often be used to cover include:

  • Costs of Extracurricular Activities
  • Social Clubs
  • Savings for College Expenses
  • Cosmetic Care (Braces, etc)

Limits to What Child Support Can Be Spent On

While the court calculates child support based on the needs of the child and the parental income, they don’t regulate where the money must be spent. The income the receiving parent obtains in child support will become a part of their overall budget, which can then be used in any way they choose. As long as the child is being cared for, the court won’t step in to force the receiving parent to provide proof that they are using the child support dollars specifically for the children.

Fighting for Fair Support

If you believe that your child support situation is unjust or that your child is not being properly taken care of, it is important to take action to fight for yourself and your children. Our team can help to ensure your child support situation is fair and that your children are receiving the care they need. Please contact us to learn more about how child support should be used.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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