The general rule in Florida is that both parties share a duty to support their minor children. The amount of child support is based on the net incomes of the parents and the support amount is allocated between the parents in accordance with respective net incomes. The amount paid is determined by the Child Support Guidelines and the amount resulting under the Guidelines is presumed correct. Florida law requires the parties to any proceeding involving child support to serve and file a completed child support guideline sheet. In some exceptional situations, the judge may deviate from these guidelines.
Child support may be modified upon a showing of "substantial change in circumstances" affecting the needs of the children or the ability of the payor spouse to pay. The court may also modify a child support agreement or award when the child who is the beneficiary of the order or agreement marries, is emancipated, reaches the age of majority, joins the armed forces or dies.
Factors considered by the court in connection with alleged "substantial change in circumstances" include: a) financial ability and the needs of the parties and child; b) compliance with the child support guidelines (there must be at least 15% or $50.00 difference between the guidelines and the past award, whichever is greater; c) a finding that medical insurance is reasonably available; and d) voluntary retirement (alimony only).
A court may also consider the existence of a "supportive relationship" which spouse receiving child support has with a third person (a non-relative) as a basis to modify support. The court will consider factors such as:
- Extent to which the two persons have held themselves out as a married couple
- Period of time the spouse receiving child support has resided with the other person in a permanent residence
- Extent to which spouse receiving support has supported or received support from third person
- Whether the spouse receiving support has purchase real or personal property with third person; and
- Whether spouse receiving support and third person have provided support to the children on one another.
Tampa FL 33614