Child Support FAQs

When Can I Start Collecting Child Support?

As soon as both parents are not living under the same roof with the child, child support starts accruing. However, when you and the other parent are getting along, sharing custody, taking care of the child’s basic needs, and jointly making decisions about the child, there is no urgency to go to court to get a formal calculation. It is your right but many parents do not start exercising this right until there is a breakdown in the relationship between themselves and the other parent.

What if My Ex Stops Paying?

If your ex stops paying, you can turn the case over to the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Program and the government can help you collect any arrears and future payments. The state will pay you only from what it has collected.

What Can I Use the Funds for?

Child support payments are to be used to provide for the child. Food, shelter, clothing, school supplies and entertainment are some of the things that a child would need in order to survive. You do not have to keep a ledger on how the money is being spent.

How Do I Lower My Payments?

Usually, a loss or gain in income is the reason to modify child support. The amount can go upward or downward. As long as the change would be at least $50 or 15%, per month, whichever is greater, child support can be modified. Other factors that can change the amount of child support are child care expenses, the cost of health insurance, the number of overnights the child is actually spending with each parent and disability of either parent.

Can I Go to Jail if I Miss my Child Support Payments?

Yes you can. If the court ordered you to pay and you have fallen behind, you are violating the court order. This is contempt of court and if a judge finds that your disobedience is willful, you can be taken into custody. If you truly are without the means to pay, for example, you lost your job and you do not have any assets, then it is highly unlikely that you are deliberately flouting the court order. There is a “purge” amount towards the arrears that you can pay to keep yourself out of jail.

Can I Get a Modification of a Child Support Judgment?

Yes. You may be able to obtain a modification if there are significant change in circumstances. A support determination could be adjusted based on an increase or decrease in income, such as losing a job, getting a new job with different page or retirement.

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