Child Support Laws in Florida

by Andrine Redsteer

Florida's Department of Revenue administers its Child Support Enforcement Program. Through the Child Support Enforcement Program, a custodial parent can establish paternity, file her child support order, have it enforced, or have it modified if need be. The authority of Florida's Child Support Enforcement Program is granted to Florida's Department of Revenue by the state's child support laws. These laws can be found in Title VI, Chapter 61 of Florida's statutes.

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Child Support Enforcement Program

Florida's Child Support Program provides the means for custodial parents to collect on child support orders. The program is required by state law to send child support payments to custodial parents via electronic means such as direct deposit into the custodial parent's bank account or by issuing the custodial parent a debit card upon which monthly child support payments are deposited. Furthermore, the program is authorized by state law to assist custodial parents in locating an absent parent by using various means such as searching motor vehicle registration and driver's license records, searching Department of Corrections records and by contacting the U.S. Postal Service for current address information.

Florida's Child Support Guidelines

Florida's child support guidelines are codified in its state statutes; these guidelines provide information regarding the amount of child support a non-custodial parent is obligated to pay based on his income and the custodial parent's income. The amount of monthly support payments are also based upon the specific needs of the child -- including medical needs and the age of the child. Child support payment amounts are determined by subtracting any allowable deductions from both parents' gross income; these deductions may include mandatory union dues and retirement payments, health insurance premiums and income tax deductions. Once these deductions are subtracted from each parent's gross income, each parent's net income is calculated and combined to come up with the basic child support obligation, as mandated by Florida law.

Enforcement of Orders: Collecting Payment

Through the Child Support Enforcement Program, Florida gives its Department of Revenue the authority to enforce child support orders in the event a parent becomes delinquent. Collection of support payments may occur through a number of means. For example, Florida law allows the Department of Revenue to garnish a delinquent parent's wages, take lottery winnings of $600 or more, seize bank accounts and intercept IRS tax refunds.

Imposition of Penalties

Beyond mere forcible collection of deliquent payments, Florida child support laws allow the Department of Revenue -- through its Child Support Enforcement Program -- to make life difficult for non-custodial parents who fail to meet their child support obligations. For example, the Department of Revenue may revoke or suspend a delinquent parent's driver's license and report any delinquency to credit bureaus. However, proper notice must be given to the delinquent parent before the Department of Motor Vehicles is contacted for a request to suspend or revoke a driver's license. A delinquent parent may avoid suspension or revocation of his driver's license if he makes the required child support payment within 20 days of receipt of the notice.