Florida Child Support – What Does It Pay For?

The Florida child support amount includes a basic support obligation, plus the cost of day care and health insurance coverage.

When calculating the support obligation, keep in mind that the amount of basic support helps to pay for the cost of “housing” a child; in other words, the everyday expenses for food, clothing, shelter, entertaining the children, normal costs of school supplies, etc.

The Florida child support guidelines actually cover three (3) specific support areas:

  1. The basic support established by the child support guidelines according to the combined net income of both parents;
  2. The cost of day care for the children; and
  3. The cost of health insurance for the children.

Parties in a divorce action with children (or sometimes in a paternity action) know what the basic child support will cover simply because (presumably) they all lived under one roof at some point.  They have personal experience with the cost of bringing up their child.

When you talk about child support, parents need to make sure they are talking about the same thing?  Do you mean the basic amount? Or, do you mean the basis amount AND the day care and health insurance. If you have questions about what is paid for by child support, it may be better to consider what is not included.

If you have questions about what is included in child support, all you have to do is look at the three elements above.  So, for example, if your child needs braces AND they are not covered by the child’s insurance (or the child has no insurance coverage), then that is not included in the amount of support.

In some cases, there may be other items specifically added to the child support amount because it is something that is necessary on a regular basis for the benefit of the child.  These are usually extraordinary circumstances.  For example, if a child has a need for medication that is not covered by insurance but the amounts are spent on a regular basis, those may be specifically included.  But even if they are not, they will be part of support in that the percentages of support calculated for each parent will determine what each parent will pay as to that expense.

These examples are for the purpose of illustration only.  You, if you anticipate having a child support obligation, should not take these examples as what will be applicable to your situation.

In disputes about child support, whether at the time of calculating the initial amount or later if you are seeking to change the child support amount afterwards, the courts will not generally require that the parent who receives the child support provide a list of how they spend that money.

© 2009-2013 Vivian C. Rodriguez


Vivian C. Rodriguez is a divorce and paternity attorney in Florida. For articles about Florida family law, visit the Articles page at  FLDivorcePaternityLawyer.com or the MiamiDivorcePaternityBlog.com.

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