You and your spouse each have a responsibility to support your children
in accordance with their needs and your financial abilities. Support
may be by direct payment or by indirect benefits, such as mortgage
payments, insurance, or medical and dental expenses. Ordinarily, the
obligation to support your child ends when that child reaches 18,
marries, or becomes financially independent.
Some of the issues concerning child support which must be considered
include: (a) the amount of support; (b) the method of payment; (c)
ways to assure payments are made; (d) when child support may be
increased or decreased; and (e) who claims the dependency deduction
for tax purposes. Other questions may need to be answered, depending
on the circumstances of your case. Guidelines for support which
apply to all cases generally are based on the income of the parents
and the number of children with adjustments for substantial overnight
contact. Florida law requires both parties to attend a parenting
course prior to entering a final divorce. Consult your county clerk's
office for information on courses offered.
If you have a problem getting support payments from your spouse
or former spouse, or visitation and access to your child is denied,
you should bring this matter to the attention of the court. It is
not proper to withhold visitation or child support payments because
of any alleged wrongdoing by your spouse or former spouse.