Florida Child Support Law

Attorney Howard Iken discusses Florida child support laws

Overview of Child Support


Child Support in Florida is a predictable, common, necessity in all cases where there are minor children. Some states require child support until kids are 21. But in Florida the end date is either 18 or 19 – depending on the high school graduation date.  Florida has very extensive rules, statutes, and calculation tables for child support. There is an entire section of the Florida Dept. of Revenue devoted to the collection and enforcement of child support. And in most Florida counties, there are special judges that consider child support issues – known as Child Support Hearing Officers.  Child support is pretty much the most predictable issue In family law, divorce, and paternity cases. If you have minor children, there will be child support.

Child support is fairly cut and dried but can have complicated and dangerous twists. This is one of the few areas of divorce and family law that intersect with criminal law. One hundred years ago, debtors prisons existed in America. Now they are outlawed. But prison is still a reality in child support collection issues. Case law for Florida child support provides for severe penalties for non-payment of your child support payments.

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How Child Support is Calculated – An Overview


Many attorneys and individuals will tell you the calculation of child support is cut and dried.  True, yet not quite true. There are many twists, turns, and strategic considerations in a support case. The basic method of determining support is to take each parent’s net income and compare them to the Guidelines Table contained in Florida chapter 61.  One frequent misconception is that household expenses matter when calculating child support. In fact, the only thing that matters is your gross income – less a very short list of valid deductions. That list includes things such as taxes, personal health insurance, and other child support judgments.

The area where child support calculation gets tricky is the interaction with the number of overnights each parent has with their child.  If either parent has the child (or children) more than 20% of the annual overnights, the child support calculation changes to an alternate formula. That alternate formula substantially reduces the total support. Also, each additional overnight over the initial 20% reduces child support by a calculated amount.  That one fact cases a great deal of fighting between parents over the division of overnights with the children.

How Alimony Interacts With Child Support


Child support is calculated by the next income after taxes and alimony payments. That causes a great deal of interaction between child support and alimony. Another complication: alimony is tax deductible and child support is not. That causes great complication and offers great opportunities to anyone negotiating alimony and child support. The interaction is complex and requires fairly sophisticated software to analyze. Another twist of child support and alimony: in temporary alimony situations, a person may file to modify child support when alimony ends. Anyone crafting an agreement containing both child support and alimony must take care to anticipate possible future changes. An attorney can design language to anticipate and control future concerns.


Modification of Child Support


Child support is always modifiable and enforceable. The default rule in Florida is that a child support case can be opened for modification if the end result will be change of $50 or 15% (whichever is larger) in the previous support amount.  The process to modify child support is fairly complex and is not a one-day activity.  Enforcement of child support is a bit more simple and involves one short court hearing. Courts take child support obligation seriously and there are serious consequences for non-payment.  If your income recently changed and you cannot afford to pay at the current level – it is absolutely urgent that you immediately file for modification. Any later changes become effective back to the date you filed your modification petition.

Common Questions and Answers About Child Support


I have very high personal expenses. Will this reduce my child support?

Probably not. There are very few valid deduction from income for a child support calculation.


Does my new spouse’s income count for a child support case or modification?

Technically the Florida statutes allow consideration of another person’s income. But that is rare in practical terms. Normally you do not need to worry about that issue.


Are child support payments tax deductible?

Not under current IRS rules. There is no tax deduction for child support. And the person receiving support does not need to claim it as income.


What if I cannot afford to live with the current amount of child support?

In rare situations you may petition the court for a Downward Deviation from Guidelines. But   for the most part, the system is fairly callous toward this type of argument.

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  • floridamom

    My ex husband has agreed to turn over custody of our child to me but only if I agree that he doesn’t have to pay child support. If I agree to it, can he still be ordered to pay child support. I am on SSDI and my son receives benefits as well. My ex has my son on medicaid right now due to my son’s major hip problems. Since he is on medicaid, does the state go after him for child support.

    Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      Some judges will not allow a no-child support agreement – and end up ordering support regardless of the text of the agreement. Occasionally some judges will allow it. If you have just signed up for benefits the Florida Dept of Revenue child support enforcement will get involved. If you have been on benefits for a while the DOR may or may not act soon – usually they are very slow.

  • fladad

    As a result of the new 2010 child support guidelines, the 61.30 Florida Statute states:

    (b) The guidelines may provide the basis for proving a substantial change in circumstances upon which a modification of an existing order may be granted. However, the difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines shall be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.

    I am not sure what this means – my child support amount was set in 2009 – am I eligible for modification under the new guidelines? Does this new law from 2010 constitute a change in circumstance which would trigger modification if the difference is more than 15% or $50? I have my children 38.5% of time. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      That is the way the statute appears to read. However the issue has been fought over in many courts. I have had the experience where a judge ruled there must be other changes (such as income), other than just the change in the statute. But I am sure certain judges will allow a modification. Without knowing more about your situation – I would say it is worth a try.

      • fladad

        I know my ex-wife has had a slight increase in income, but not sure if that in itself would satisfy the $50 or 15% requirement. Not sure I want to roll the dice in front of the judge if he, again, has complete discretion – meaning complete uncertainty for me.

        Thank you very much for your response!

        • HowardIken

          Attorney fees and costs are always something to consider. But if there will not be much of that (or no attorney), a roll of the dice is not much of a risk.

          • fladad

            I appreciate your input, I should certainly look into it. And yes, attorney fees are my greatest concern, considering that the judge could go either way. In my case though, the CS reduction could be very significant under 2010 guidelines, so it is worth looking into. Do you think I should try to find out how my particular judge has ruled on this since 2010?

            Thank you again!

          • HowardIken

            That is a slightly obscure subject and you will need to speak to a lot of different attorneys. If your modification is not supportable, you can always dismiss your modification case immediately after receiving the other side’s financial info.

          • fladad

            I meant I could try to find out how he has ruled since 2010 on whether these new guidelines from 2010 constitute a change of circumstances in itself, as the statute appears to read. Wouldn’t he have to be consistent in the way he rules on that and not change it from case to case? He either allows it or not? Is my logiv wrong? Thank you again.

          • HowardIken

            If you are able to find that out for a certain judge – that would be a good indicator. Trial judges tend to be consistent – but there is no absolute rule on that. Appellate courts are more consistent.

          • fladad

            Great, thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.burt.75 Paul Burt

    Consider, the only definitive federally funded study ever conducted on the subject of child support showed that when employed, men pay between 83 and 91% of all court ordered child support and that they do so without intervention of any kind. But, when these figures became apparent, Wayne Stanton, then head of the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in D.C. had the study DISCONTINUED! In fact, Stanton’s office demanded a formal Freedom of Information Act Submission merely to retrieve the study’s data.
    Grasping this, makes it easy to understand the incentive for the State and County Gestapo-like father-hating child support collection tactics; they’re fueled by a ravenous forty+ year pursuit of federal subsidies; it has nothing whatsoever to do with the mythical “best interest of the child“. Quotas the State’s must meet and maintain in their child support collection figures – in order to continue receiving these federal subsidies for their case management and child support collection efforts – are at the heart of the custody disparity and what tax payers remain – for the most part – ignorant of. Not to be lost, we‘re talking about Form 1040 of millions of Americans who unknowingly have supported these cash cows for decades.
    In California alone, we have over 8,000 men paying child support for children that DNA evidence has proven they didn’t father; why? Again, quota! If the Golden State were to emancipate these men from this assigned – not incurred – debt, the State risks losing the $504 million Federal Dollars it is scheduled to receive during the current 2012/2013 fiscal year for its child support collection and case management efforts; this is an annual subsidy, by the way. Not incidentally, these federal funds NEVER make their way into the lives of children of divorce or impoverished kids, instead financing the salaries, medical benefits, paid vacation time, and pensions of those employed by – or retired from – the child support collection industry. In the United States, divorce and custody comprise OVER HALF of all civil litigation, constituting the cash cow of the judiciary, and bringing employment and earnings to a host of public and private officials, including counselors, child support collection agents, mediators, psychologists, law enforcement officers, and countless others in both public and private sectors, all in the name of helping “troubled children”.
    If the court were remotely CLOSE to parity in the granting of primary physical custody, our society – and our children – would be far better off! When more people come to know that in the U.S. virtually every major personal and social pathology can be traced to fatherlessness more than to any other single factor; Violent crime, substance abuse, unwed pregnancy, truancy, suicide, and more, perhaps our society will recover. Until then, know that fatherlessness far surpasses both poverty and race as a predictor of social deviance.

  • What to do….

    My husbands child support order was done when the 3 children were all minors. Now one is 19 and on her own, the second one is 17 and pregnant and will be 18 soon, and the third child is 13. Can he request a modification? And when should that be done.

    Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      I just noticed this old comment. Sorry for the delay. Yes, now is the time to file a modification. The two of you can sign a joint stipulation. You may find it convenient to use an attorney. An attorney could mail it in to the judge for signature.

  • What to do….

    I forgot to add that his ex says she is willing to sign a modification agreement to lower the amount paid to her, I don’t know if there is a form for that, or how do we go about informing the courts.

    thanks again

  • Michael in Milton

    My child support agreement states, I shall pay child support until the minor children reach the age of (18), marry, die, or graduate from high school. My 17 year old daughter has not been in a real high school in 2 years and is now getting ready for her GED. If she gets her GED can I ask the courts to cease her child support payments. Do you feel if any of the following are reached before she is 18 the CD should stop? It shouldn’t be either/or, it should be one or the other correct? Thank you for your time.

    • HowardIken

      Normally you cannot terminate support until the 18th birthday. In your case it definitely would be the 18th birthday.

  • Guest

    My final Judgement states that, “After due consideration of the employment of both parties at this time, the time sharing schedule, and the latest Financial Affidavits filed by the parties, neither the Husband nor the Wife will pay child support to the other”. One year later she has filed for a petition for modifcation of child support. No change “substancial change” has occurred. In her petition she merely states that the child support calculator was not used. Is this something that can modify our Final Judgement?

    • HowardIken

      Normally not. There must be a substantial change of circumstances. You cannot take the same exact situation, recalculate, and modify. That would violate the standards laid out by statute and prior court decisions.

  • TP

    I am currently putting together the documents to request a modification of child support, as well as completing a financial affidavit. Why do you need checking account statements and savings account statements for the last year. Can the amount of your savings and checking affect support modification??

    • HowardIken

      Not directly. But those figures can be used to detect hidden income. Also, that info can be used in a fight for attorney fees. Last – it is required by statute.

  • Th

    I went to court in Florida in1988 for child support in the state of Alabama. I ask for a paternity test and the State of Alabama refused the test, when the child was 3yrs, and it was dismissed without prejudice. The case was then closed by the state of Florida. In 2008 Alabama brought it back up and there was no previous actions taken until 2008. Do they have the right to deny my rights to a paternity test and can it be brought back to court 20 years later, after the child has passed the age of emancipation and is now 27 years old and a grown man? Do I have any rights to fight this and wouldn’t this be a violation of my civil rights? Thanks

    • HowardIken

      If your case was in Florida I would say it is long over – and to forget about it. But I am not admitted to practice in your original state and can not comment on that.

      • Th

        Thanks, but it has been opened and they are enforcing that I pay the child support.

        • HowardIken

          I understand. In Florida you would not be able to go back that far to modify.

          • Th

            So as a father living in Florida, Alabama could not come back 20 years or more later and have Florida enforce child support on this Issue. Do you have a good lawyer you could recommend that would be able to defend me in this case that would not kill my pocket book? Thanks

          • HowardIken

            If you already owe the amount – pursuant to a previous final judgment – the debt is enforceable. But there are many types of defenses. Unfortunately you will need an Alabama attorney. Sorry, no recommendations are available.

  • michael

    i writing to find if a law was past that state that they can’t suspend my lic for owe just arrears on my child support

    • HowardIken

      No. Sorry. The state is still able to suspend a DL for non-payment of support.

      • michael

        if you no longer owe support because the child turned 18 and all you owe is the arrears amount can they suspend my licence. I do not think i wrote it right earlier. Also can they raise my arrears from one amount too the amount i was paying for support before he turned 18.

        • HowardIken

          If it is the Florida Dept of Revenue Child Support Enforcement you are dealing with, yes – they can still do all of that.

  • Nicole

    I am not married to the father of my child. We have both come to a mutual agreement on child support and I would like to make the agreement legal. How do I get this accomplished prefferably without paying for a lawyer since I’m not in a position to pay one at this time?

    • HowardIken

      You need to file a paternity case in the local court and have a judge sign the agreement. There is no other way to make it enforceable.

  • denise

    My ex husband pays ZERO child support. I make more money than him. I have %70 custody. He earns approx $2000 per month (before taxes and he takes out %10 for his 401K) He pays the children’s insurance (approx $120 per month) I bring home approximately $3900 per month.He does construction “under the table” How does the court “impute income”? for modiification? I have twin 6 year olds.

    • HowardIken

      That is not an automatic process. You must present some proof that would allow the court to impute income. For example, showing his standard of living could not possibly be supported by his documented income.

      • denise

        Thank you. That makes sense. I do have him admitting on video he does side work and I “shouldn’t try to come after the money” and photos of construction debris in his truck…is it all helpful?

        • HowardIken

          Yes. The video would most likely be admissible. Be aware that admission of evidence is a very technical issue. But if you do get everything admitted it would be tremendously valuable.

  • Guest

    why is it when it says applied it doesn’t show in my savings account


    I have a case open with my Ex husband. Its for a dissolutions of Marriage, child support, and custody. Everything was supposed to be a “mutual” agreement until he got up and left the country. He didn’t notify me at all. One day I found out he was in Colombia phone disconnected, left his apartment, quit his job. Now I’m here with no child support, no health insurance for our son and left all responsibilities to me. What can I do at this point. We have a hearing on Sept 26.

    • HowardIken

      You can still go forward with the hearing, get an order, and follow up with an enforcement action. But there is very little chance of recovering money. I assume the state is helping you? They can also file a tax return intercept.

  • elcamino

    Am looking for an attorney who could help me regarding child support that is in arrears. Ex-wife pulled a fast one about 18 years ago. I have supporting documentation showing I was in the home and supporting her and my son upto the age of 9 where at that time she up and took him away with no cause. She applied for and received child support one week after my son was born! She had a PO Box so anything that came regarding child support she hid from me. All I can be told is that the case is to old to investigate, but child support is still after me and I have now lost my license and am not working as I was in a vehicle accident and am going for back surgery next month. Is there anyone out there that can help?

    • HowardIken

      This is a very difficult case. I assume you cannot afford an attorney? Your first option would be to call and apply to legal aid.

  • gopher1

    Does a parent with sole custody (and the other parent has no time sharing rights) relocate a minor child without permission or filing with the court in Florida?

    • HowardIken

      You probably need permission. But under this circumstance permission is likely to happen.

  • Jim

    Hello, I have been divorced for two years, at the time of divorce I agreed to pay child support in excess of the state guidelines. I am financially unable to continue making payments in this amount and would like to know if support modification is an option in my situation. Also is it possible to estimate the attorney fees? Thank You

    • HowardIken

      You normally can modify if your income has changed. We have free consultations, and that is the best time to discuss fees.

  • johnny

    At the tjme of final parenting plan signed by judge mother of child was not working .she has to pay 86.00 dollars a mo.since then she got a goverment making good money. Do I have to go to court or does she just have to tell her new employer I live in florida

    • HowardIken

      Normally a court needs to make any changes.

  • Jennifer

    I am a single mother of 2. During the first child support I was working and splitting custody 50/50. As of August 2012 I have had the children solely with the father taking every other weekend. I have since lost my job and raising children on a bare minimum of 126.00 a month support. I am on state assistance. The father has refused to pay anymore. Is there a way for me to file ‘sans pauper’?

    • HowardIken

      You can always file by yourself. You can file an application with the clerks office to waive the filing fee. Or you can apply to legal aid for help. http://www.floridalegal.org
      You need to modify your parenting plan first.

  • Felicia

    On my parenting plan during my divorce, my ex husband and I agreed that he would have the kids 5 weeks over the summer and 6 nights a month. I have 3 kids and my ex only takes 2 out of the 3 4 nights per month plus, he hasn’t taken the kids over the summer for the 5 weeks like the parenting plan states. Should I take him back to court to have child support adjusted?

    • HowardIken

      You can. The principle is “use it or lose it.” You can get your parenting plan adjusted and also adjust child support to match.

  • George Harris

    My wife and I were divorced in 2007 as I was on my way to prison. I was released in 2011.I had a hard time finding a permanent job because of the felones.I moved to missouri where I have family. I have found work at the minimum wage. I am in arrears and now have a warrant for my arrest in florida. How can I clear this up short of paying all of the arrears, which is not realistic.

    • HowardIken

      You have to reopen the child support case with a Motion to Set Payments on Arrears. During the same hearing the judge most likely will vacate the arrest warrant. We can do that for a flat fee

      • George Harris

        What is the fee for such a motion?

        • HowardIken

          Normally we have a flat fee in the 1,500 range

  • Maria1

    I was divorced in Alabama in 2005. I have moved to Florida in 2007 and since then my ex has not been paying child support. I have two children and both live with me. What steps do i need to take to have the divorce decree filed in Florida?

    • HowardIken

      The decree needs to be “registered or domesticated” and then it becomes the equivalent of a Florida decree. At that point you can hold an enforcement hearing.

      • Maria1

        Ok. Is your office located in Orlando?

        • HowardIken

          Yes. If you fill out the contact form a staff member will set up a free initial consult with an attorney

  • Jane

    I was divorced in 2004. Ex-husband wants another reduction and states he has 73 overnight stays. Does the new statute in 2011 apply? It was previously 146 overnight stays when we divorced. thanks

    • HowardIken

      It does apply. But if he originally had 73 overnights and all that has changed since then is the new law – many judges believe that is an insufficient change to reopen child support for modification. This is a very technical twist of law and you should call us if he files for modification.

  • moving

    If me and my ex mutually agree to cancel child support payments in Florida, how hard is it and what steps needs to be taken? Thanks.

    • HowardIken

      That is a touchy subject. It also depends on whether the Florida Dept of Revenue – Child Support Enforcement is involved. If the support is collected through the Florida State Disbursement Unit there may be more layers of complications. Also, some judges will not allow it. If this is important to both of you – it would be best to have use either draft your paperwork, or represent you for the entire procedure.

  • mickie6680

    In pasco county florida my husband and i split up and a dvi was issued on my husband which he ended up violating and being arrested over it, but the dvi was issued on him in 1999ordering him to pay childsupport in the amount of $85.69 a week, which he paid faithfully up until the first week of august 2005, due to all of a sudden no order requiring him to pay child support due to the dvi order had expired, so since august 2005 up untill 2011 my daughter was supported solely by myself, in 2011 her father got custody of her, am i entitled to anything from 2005 till 2011 beings i raised her completely?

    • HowardIken

      Yes. The arrears for child support would not have been washed out by the new custody order. You can go back to court to enforce or collect the arrears.

  • Wanda Sanchez

    My ex husband was paying child support until 7 months ago when he stop, but my child support order was in New York he lives in New Jersey. Child support office here in osceola are of no help too me what is my next step in trying too collect.

    • HowardIken

      If Child Support Enforcement will not take it, you must hire private counsel. We can register the order as a Florida order. They we can enforce the arrears.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    My girlfriend just had a mediation to modify her child support arrangements in Volusia County. The mediation went not so well. Her attorney and the mediator were encouraging her to accept what was being offered by the ex husband as being a good and fair offer. The mediator, was agreed to by both attorneys and we come to find out that he is not even certified. The mediator was highly unprofessional – making comments about my girlfriend’s political leanings (He brought it up not her, asking who she voted for and she ignored it, refusing to respond), her gender
    (“you probably weren’t a good wife, that’s why he divorced you”), her autistic child (“yeah yeah, every kid has problems”), and about her not being “bright enough to grasp what he was saying” … all in front of HER attorney who said nothing. She wound up getting $150/month child support (up from $0) but had to relinquish the tax write off for the child every other year. When she wanted to walk out of the mediation, she was told it would cost her $10,000 to pursue it through the courts.

    Is there anything that can be done to reopen this matter, it seems to me, the issues of the mediator and her own attorney clearly impacted the outcome. Oh, and the mediator and her ex-husband had a prior business relationship before the mediation, but her attorney said it was not a reason to object to the mediator.

    Any advice is helpful. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      It would be incredibly difficult and expensive to contest on those grounds. I am not saying it is impossible – but it would certainly not be easy.

  • Lou

    This is complicated. My husband and I have been married for 22 years. He also has an ex-wife and 3 adult children, their ages are 34, 31 and 28. He got behind in child support about 6 years ago as he had a hard time finding work. When he was un-employed they took child support from that and also any income tax refund would go to the ex-wife. I would always file injured spouse forms. He finally got a full time job and is working now about one year with the same company. Now mind you he is not making the same salary as he was making when he divorced the ex-wife. We went back to court last year in New Jersey with an attorney from there and the judge said that the original order will stand. which is $1400.00 a month, and it will go through probation. So they are garnishing his pay.
    My husband is 60 years old and I am much older than him, 73. We both have a hard time with taking care of our health and we both have heart conditions. There are medical bills piling up and prescriptions we can’t afford to get. I have to weigh out buying food or medication at times.
    He knows he owes the arrears and is not trying to dodge his obligation, and because the children are all adults now, can he get the arrears to be adjusted or is there something else to be done in this case.
    Any advise is helpful. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      This sounds like the law of New Jersey will govern. I cannot comment on that state’s law because I am admitted only in Florida. But if the situation were in Florida – arrears would be very difficult to adjust. The law of Florida does not normally support that.

  • honest question

    on November 19 1975 my ex husband was ordered to pay 40.00 a week through the broward county clerk of courts I never received a payment through the courts but did receive three or four weeks from their father im told that a court order never expires from the courts on child support how can I still collect it

    • HowardIken

      You are correct. Child support arrears normally do not expire. You must reopen the original case for an enforcement hearing. The exact steps are beyond the scope of his quick answer forum.

  • jusst asking

    My ex wife was ordered to but never paid child support, she owes around $19,000. This court ordered child support was during the time Florida has custodial parent laws,and I was the custodial parent. She works and lives with her rich boyfriend. They go on vacation and cruises all the time, yet she doesnt pay me a cent. Now she wants to take me to court to adjust the time sharing so that I end up paying her. Is there anything I can do about that?

    • HowardIken

      Just because she files for a modification does not mean she will get it. There are two sides to every case.

  • GoodBrevardDad

    Hi,im in brevard,me and my wife have been separated for 4 years,We came to an agreement on our own and we are about to get a divorce.I give her $300 every month.She does not want me to have to go threw the courts and pay threw the state.Is that possible?

    • HowardIken

      Not possible. You must file a court case and get a final judgment to dissolve your marriage.

  • Rhonda

    Does child support have a priority over a judgement in florida

    • HowardIken

      There is no legally imposed priority.

  • jacinc2

    My name is Juan Alonso Jr. I had filed for modification of child support pro-se in Janurary 2014. I had an unfortunate turn in my life, my daughter got sick with cancer in February 2014 and passed away in April 2014. I asked for a telephonic hearing and was told that I could not do my case over the phone or without an attorney. I am currently taking care of my daughter’s affairs and asked the General Master for at least 90 days to work with.

    I have no job now because my FMLA was given to me on February 7th and expired on May 2nd, 2014 so I can’t afford an attorney to represent me in court. Please, I do need legitimate help with this. I don’t know what to do or who to talk to for any help. As you see my money is very limited now until I can get another job, which won’t happen until I return to Florida and seems like it is going to take more than the time I asked for, unless I get some attorney help.

    I do have an address in Florida, but am residing currently in the state of Wyoming.

    I don’t know what I can do. In my modification all I am asking is to stop CS on my two older kids (23,21) and to be considered for credit on over payment of child support that is in excess of 30K dollars.

    Where can I get help..??? ??? ???


    Juan Alonso jr.

  • Mrs.Woods

    My husband’s ex placed him on child support after he got into a car accident, and received a large settlement. He wasn’t aware of her placing him on child support until a large amount of arrears started to acquire. He began to pay, then he lost his job. They suspended his license. Now the case is closed, and he has over 30,000 in arrears. What can he do? Can he file a motion to have them removed/reduced? We are afraid that this affect his credit and go into collections. Thank you. We reside in Tampa, Fl.

    • HowardIken

      You cannot get rid of arrears. But you can establish a reasonable repayment plan for the arrears. You also can modify support downward. A judge can reinstate a drivers license.

  • David

    Hello . My wife left me and said she wanted a divorce. Our 13 year old son is with her. She claims I owe her back child support from when she left me 9 months ago, despite not having filed yet.

    • HowardIken

      That may be true. The obligation of child support normally begins at physical separation.

  • phoebe

    HI, if my ex has been given me money inconsistently and some months paid some months skipped a payment but some mothns payments were higher is there such an adjustment to be in place? Also if my daughter spent a school year and summer with him, was he still obligated to pay the childsupport as agreement was that i was the primary care provider/?

    • HowardIken

      Yes and no. It depends on the wording of your judgment.

  • Troy

    Hello, I am the custodial parent of two boys, and would like to know how to go about gaining full custody. My sons have recently told me of some physical and verbal abuse from my ex-wife’s live in boyfriend.

    • HowardIken

      Yes, you can file to modify parenting. It is never a cake walk but the law contains a mechanism for modification.

  • Nancy

    Hi there, I was wondering what I needed to do if my ex doesn’t bring the kids back at the time he is supposed to? He has abused this rule in the past many times. I try to contact him via phone and he never responds to my texts, or he blocks me. He is a drug addict and has a suspended license; non-payment of child support. Is it ok to call the non-emergency line for the concern of the children? Is it ok to not let the kids see their dad because he is a poor communicator? I don’t feel safe leaving my kids with him because he doesn’t communicate. Another quick question, while I’m here….can I at some point stop taking the kids to their dads house because of non-payment? I just can’t find the means no longer to drive there and back every time (120 miles round trip). It is financial draining.

    • HowardIken

      You cannot link child support to parenting time. The statutes are clear on that. But if you have some proof of drugs and unsafe driving, you can withhold time pending a court hearing. You can enforce rights in a Motion for Contempt hearing – within your prior case number.

  • Mike

    on May 19, 2014, I received a motion for contempt enforcement on child support arrears, I do acknowledge I am behind and I am currently pro se, filing a motion to modify, as well as a blank motion for payment of credit. However, I did not realize that I had 20 days to respond with an answer until today. I do have hand written receipts, by my ex wife, signed by her and notarized, showing that in 2004 I paid her @3,300.00 cash before I was aware that she had it changed to be paid thru the state of Florida. It is obviously way past my 20 days to respond but my question is, will the magistrate that is appointed to hear the motion of contempt on July 10, 2014 allow me to respond in person and acknowledge the debt but make note of the possible payment of credit that I filed as well as the motion of modification. Up until the farming season of 2011/12, I farmed all of my adult life and made a great living, unfortunately, I am still in court over the debt and have retained a bankruptcy attorney. I lost both vehicles and have legal notes and bills totaling $280,00.00+. I am not asking for a modification because of this debt but because I am working and earning an income of 65% less than 11 years ago when my child support was set. I may be seeking out legal help if I feel this situation is growing out of control and would also like to know the price of a consultation as well as a retainer. Thank you

    • HowardIken

      Consultation is free. We can discuss retainers in person. You cannot modify child support by motion. Yes, the Magistrate will take evidence of a prior lump sum payment and give you credit if the evidence is convincing. The rule for contempt motions: you cannot be held in contempt if you lack the ability to comply with the prior order.

  • Kristi

    Hi I am curious to know how I should handle my situation. I had a divorce and child support order set in April 2011. My ex husband was ordered to pay $448 monthly for our 3 children. This was based on both incomes and time share. He since has not saw nor spoke to children ( his choice, I have tried) since July 2011. I know his income has increased since then, and I am currently unemployed because I am going to focus on my own business and finish my degree. I filled out and sent in a modification this week with the department of revenue. I am only concerned that if they try to order higher support due to no overnight stays that he will try to just come back, our children do not know him they were 5,7 and 9 when he disappeared. What should I do to prevent him from just coming back in. He would only do it to prevent having to pay more.I know this would be detrimental on the kids and do not want to see them suffer like they did on his first disappearing act. Emotionally it tore them apart, I can not allow them to hurt like that, it took a year to cope with and now they are happy and adjusted. How do I prevent this.

    • HowardIken

      You need to file for modification of the parenting plan. “Use it or lose it.” That is the underlying principle.

  • Lorene Stunson Hill

    My son has a hearing schedule for later this month in Volusia county. He has been making regular payments )money I give him) lately including this month but not always in the past. He has arrears. The mother of his child stalks him and will not let him have a personal life. If she discovers he has a female friend she runs to court and cries for money. Over the years we have paid numerous purges. Now that he pays regularly she still got angry, is harrassing the young lady he is dating and ran to court, got a hearing scheduled and is demanding $1,000 we don’t have (my son is unemployed). Will he go to jail? He has a career opportunity coming up July 27 and jail will cause him to lose it.

    • HowardIken

      Normally someone will never be sent to jail if they do not have the capability to comply with the order.

  • Jennifer

    The attorney for my ex has filed a motion to stop his child support garnishment due to my daughter graduating on June 6th of this year. He is currently 5500 in arrearage. My question is will the judge agree to stop tthe garnishment now or allow it to continue until the arrearage is paid off and will the current amount being deducted stay the same?

    • HowardIken

      You need to appear and represent your position on the issue. Nothing is a given.

  • Misty

    My boyfriend used to pay child support through Florida to his ex and son, who both lived in the state. Then he moved to Oregon, so payments were made through their child support program. We recently moved to Maryland, so Oregon informed him they are no longer handling his case. However, when he called the Florida Child Support Enforcement service to find out who would be handling his case from now on, they told him his case had been closed. His ex apparently no longer lives in FL. They told him his balance was $0, but what happens to the arrears he owed? I assumed he would still have to pay them, but if so, who is he supposed to make payments to now that FL has closed the case?

    • HowardIken

      Not enough info here to give an answer. He can always pay direct to the mom and keep good records.

      • Misty

        And if neither he nor the state of FL have any current contact information for her? I don’t see any way he could make payments in this situation. I just want to make sure there won’t be legal or financial ramifications that could crop up in the future because at one point he owed back child support.

  • melissa

    when my ex husband and I divorced 8 years ago, we arranged a 50/50 custody agreement without child support as we both earned a similar amount of money. I have one child who has not spent any length of time at her fathers in 2 years, by her choice, and another child who now wishes to have no visitation. They are now 14 and 16. Do I have any right to apply for child support? The children live with me full time.

  • Sam

    My husband and I have been married for 5 years and together for 10. He has a daughter from his previous marriage that is now 12 years old and she lives with her mother in FL. We moved a little over 3 years ago but when we lived in FL she was with us on the weekends and for the whole summer. Now she is only with us for 6-8 weeks in the summer, I pay for her to fly here and for her expenses while she is here (necessities, summer camp etc.). My husband has had some severe difficulty obtaining employment over the years and is now taking advantage of an education benefit that is offered by my employer to finish his degree and become more marketable in the workforce so I am the only source of income for our family and we have two children together and one on the way. He is behind $17k in his child support but was recently approved for modification to lower the amount. His ex is pushing the issue and knows that he is not working so any money that he owes or she gets will come from me and take away from my children. I want to figure out a way to support him, because the last thing I need is for him to go to jail behind this debt, but I don’t want this to permanently effect my income. What advice do you have? Should we seek legal counsel?

    • HowardIken

      It is always best to have an attorney. There is really not enough info here to give answers. But if he has a good, solid track record of seeking employment and can prove it – he is in a good position to get a modification.

  • Jill

    My son’s ex-girlfriend (pregnant at that time) moved from Florida to another state taking with her his 3 year old daughter. Since that time he has been paying child support for both girls, has had no visitation and has not been allowed to claim either child on his tax return. He got behind on support at one point due to a break in employment so now also pays arrears. His older daughter is now 19 and hasn’t lived with her mother for well over a year. What steps does he need to take to stop the child support for the 19 year old and can his ex be charged with any kind of fraud for accepting money for a “child” not living with her at the time she took the checks? Also, the 16 year old is now pregnant. If she were to marry the father of her child, does this have any bearing on my son paying her mother child support or can he cease paying her support at that time? Can he petition the court for a hearing to present his case without using an attorney? Concerning the arrearage……has he just “lost” the amount he has paid since his daughter turned 18 or would the court consider any of the past child support paid since her 18th birthday to go toward any arrearage owed?

    • HowardIken

      You never need an attorney to file a case. But it is always a good idea to have one. In your case an attorney is highly recommended. There are many questions raised by your comment. For example – Florida may not be the correct state to file. You may end up with an expensive mess with a self help attempt.

      • Jill

        Why would he file in another state? This was all done in Brevard County. Wouldn’t she have to come back to Florida to contest anything? From what I’ve read, once the child reaches 18 years of age, child support would stop.

  • Mark

    My daughter is 18 and still attending high school. Can I give the payments directly to her until she graduates? Live in Florida and no payments in arrears.

    • HowardIken

      You should continue to pay support to the mother. You may not get credit for support payments if you switch to your daughter.

  • Kitty

    Does the State of Florida allow child support to expire if it is not paid?

    • HowardIken

      Normally no. There are some defenses against payment if a really long period of time has elapsed. But generally child support arrears never expire.

  • Kitty

    On my question below I should have specified that I have a 14 year old judgment that has never been paid to me for owed child support. I live In Texas, her father lives in Florida.

    • HowardIken

      My answer still stands. In general child support arrears do not expire.

  • katrina

    Hi,I had been getting child support from my daughters father but now 4 weeks in arrears. Payments were from wage garnishment . I have just found out that he has left the job and may have a new emplyer, does he have to inform child support and do I have to do anything ?

    • HowardIken

      You must get a new Income Withholding Order signed by the court

  • Jackie

    My boyfriend is currently incarcerated on a non support charge , it’s 1000$ to get him out but he hasn’t has a job in a couple years, how can we lower the non support charge ?

    • HowardIken

      That can possibly be done in a short Motion hearing in court.

  • Terry

    I have an issue with my son’s mother she lives in South Carolina with my son. She moved there when she was pregnant we were never married.I have been paying child support through the state of Florida for 15 years then one day I get a letter in the mail saying my case has been dropped. I called her and she explained “I took you off because we can handle things between ourselves”. I found out she applied for government housing and that the child support income was hurting her from getting through. I have been paying faithfully through bank transfers to her account every two weeks; ever since keeping my transfer records as proof. My son spent a year with me in Florida and she hasn’t paid me any support and now she has convinced him to go back to Carolina only so she can start getting support again. My sons mother hasn’t worked in 5 years and soon as he got back she started threatening me with support through the state just because I told her I will not pay her support until the summer is over and school starts back. He will be 18 in October and finishes school in 2015, and now she’s threatening to file for support until he reaches 21 while he attends college. I cannot afford this and I have a daughter and an aging mother to look after enough is enough. Can she file for this beyond the age of 18? and is she liable for the time the kid stayed with me?

    • HowardIken

      SC law will govern this situation. I cannot tell you what that law contains. Under Florida law the CS would not extend through 2015.

  • Kim

    I have 2 step children that live in Florida with there mom.We get the girls summers ,and holidays. My problem right now is the girls have told me they have been beat with a belt by the aunt and uncle and the uncle says hes going to start using a hammer next .The mom leaves them alot with them goes out . The grandmother lives there also along with 3 other children from 2 different fathers.Also the mom and grandmother slap them in the face.I called DSS in Flo. they said Im sorry there is nothing we can do ,we allow corpal punishment here in this state.She said not unless there is bruises or open skin there is nothing we can do.My husband and I tried to talk to the mom she was rude denied all of it and demanded they be home 2 wks before school.Normally she lets us keep them untill few days before but now that shes mad she will go right by the papers.We all don’t want to send them home scared this will continue.Dss here in SC said nothing they can do out of there hands because they live fulltime in FL.

    • HowardIken

      If child protective services does not see any issue, your only recourse is through the family law courts. A private attorney can address this situation in the court where the original custody order was established.

  • Oliver

    Can my ex take me back to court for child support after he graduates from high school ?

    • HowardIken

      For arrears – yes. For enforcement of already owed support – yes. To terminate child support – yes. But not to increase child support. All assuming the child is at least 18.

  • ken

    Hello,my daughter turns 18 on July 29th,already graduated high school & will be attending college out of state next month.Is there anything I have to do to stop child support from coming out of my check or does it cancel automatically in the system? I am in Florida & no arrears,fees or any other money owed.

    • HowardIken

      If the Income Withholding Order is more than 3 or 4 years old – it probably does not have an expiration. If that is the case you will need to go back to court. Or if the Dept of Revenue is involved you can file a request through their office.

  • James

    child support from New York- Florida is where I live they are involved also My children are all adults live outside the home I pay arrears on my support $700.00 a month I am on SSD since 2009 I have 2 child supports the other gets $290.00 a month I live off of $500.00 month just got a letter from DCF of florida suspended my DL for non payment of support how is this possible when it is deducted from SSD every month and how can I get the state of florida out of this child support involvement because my children are all over the age of 21 and live in New York help please

  • Diane Gregory

    My son’s ex girlfriend got pregnant when he came home on leave in December, they are no longer together. My question is this, can they draw up and agreement and noterize it and it be binding, or do they NEED an attorney?

    • Diane Gregory

      We live in Florida