Common Myths About Child Support in Florida

Talking with attorney about child support

Just like other aspects of a divorce, child support is something that is often misunderstood or misrepresented. This could be because laws surrounding child support are complicated and vary from state to state. If you are navigating a divorce in Florida, here are some myths we’d like to clear up about child support.

  1. Myth: With joint custody, there’s no need for child support.
    Child support is based on the parent’s combined income and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. Only in cases where the parents have equal earnings, equal distribution of the child’s expenses, and equal time with the child will there be no need for child support.
  2. Myth: Child support is entirely paid for by one parent.
    In Florida, there’s a formula used to calculate the amount each parent is obligated to pay, and each parent is required to contribute to the child’s financial support.
  3. Myth: The parents decide on the amount of child support.
    Child support is determined by Florida statutes, not the parents.
  4. Myth: Child support agreements in Florida cannot be changed.
    When situations change, parents can request a modification to the child support agreement.
  5. Myth: Stopping child support because of financial hardship will mean jail time.
    If a parent loses a job or suffers another financial issue, he or she will not be held criminally liable for payments that cannot be made.
  6. Myth: People make child support payments directly to their ex-spouses.
    Child support payments are made through the Division of Child Support Enforcement. Payments to the other parent are considered gifts, not child support.
  7. Myth: Child support only lasts until the child turns 18.
    In Florida, support payments are required until the child graduates high school or turns 19.
  8. Myth: The parent receiving child support must count it as income.
    Child support payments are not declared as income by the receiving parent, nor are tax-deductible for the paying parent.
  9. Myth: Declaring bankruptcy negates child support.
    Child support is not discharged by bankruptcy anywhere in the United States.
  10. Myth: Wages cannot be garnished due to unpaid child support.
    Child support payments can be automatically withheld or garnished from a paycheck, tax refunds, and unemployment checks in Florida.
  11. Myth: Child support payments must only be spent on the children.
    Parents may disagree on how the money should be spent, but many things are involved in raising a child. The parent receiving the money has no obligation to discuss expenditures with the other parent.

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