It is public policy that both parents have an obligation to financially support their child. Where the parents are not married, or not residing in the same home, a family law judge or a child support hearing officer will order that one parent pays child support. Usually, the non-custodial parent will be ordered to make the payments.
Florida follows a specific set of guidelines based on the income shares model. The model is used to decide the amount the payee must pay to support the child. Unlike in other states where the cost of actually bringing up a child is considered, in Florida this model bases the amount of monthly payments on the parent’s income. In Florida, the amount of money earned by either parent is adjusted for the daycare and medical insurance costs for the child in question. So, if the custodial parent earns $2,000 a month, while the noncustodial parent brings in $3,000 a month, the noncustodial parent bares 60% of the total expenses of the child. This is adjusted by the amount each parent pays towards daycare and medical insurance premiums.
Not complying with a child support order can have some serious consequences. When the order is not followed by one of the parents, the courts can deny passports of the offender and suspend licences such as ones for driving, hunting and doing professional work. Intercepting money that may have been awarded as lottery winnings, IRS tax refunds or unemployment benefits. They can also freeze financial assets and place liens against the property. If everything else fails, the offender who fails to pay the amount can be arrested.
Family courts or the Child Support Division can generally take on a child support case. The Child Support Program in the state can only deal with the issues regarding the support payments. They help the family calculate the amount, make adjustments for various factors and arrange for payments through an online service.
The Family Courts, on the other hand, can deal with a much broader range of issues. They can help the couple through a divorce, finalizing the settlement and calculating the costs of child support. Family Courts can also help the couple develop a parenting plan, which includes the amount of time the non-custodial parent gets to spend with the child. The procedure of calculating child support is usually part of the court proceedings for a divorce or paternity action and can be done alongside alimony, visitation and custody hearings.