It is the public policy of the State of Florida that (1) each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child, (2) the child support guidelines schedule is based on the parents’ combined net incomes estimated to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and the children were living in the same household. Child support is not a requirement imposed by one parent on the other. Rather, it is a dual obligation imposed by the State of Florida.
Child support is a right belonging to the child. Parents cannot contract their child’s right to support. Parents cannot agree to the amount of child support to pay. The trial court has the ultimate discretion to determine the amount of child support each parent will pay. Neither spouse may waive the right of the child to receive child support.
Each child support order must contain a provision for the child’s health insurance hen the cost is reasonable and the insurance is accessible to the child. Health insurance is presumed reasonable if it does not exceed five percent of gross income of the parent responsible for providing health insurance. Health insurance is accessible if it can be used in the county of the child’s residence.
Child support is typically paid to a parent of the child. Effective October 1, 2010 child support can be paid to a third party caregiver. Florida law now requires that all child support court orders must provide for child support to terminate of the child’s 18th birthday.
Child support can be extended after the child’s 18th birthday under the following circumstances:
- Pursuant to section 743.07(2) the child is dependent because of a mental or physical incapacity that occurred before the child reached age 18.
- If the child is still in high school performing good faith with a reasonable expectation of graduating before the age of 19.
- The parties agree to a later date for the payment of child support after the child turns 18.
Effective January 1, 2011 the Florida legislature enacted a new statute 61.29. It sets forth the following principles that establish the public policy of the State of Florida in the creation of the child support guidelines:
- Each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or dependent child.
- The guidelines schedule is based on the parents’ combined net income estimated to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and children were living in the same household.
- The guidelines encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and minimize the need for litigation.