How Does Child Support Work in Florida? Here’s What You Should Know.

Raising children is expensive. This can be especially true when parents are in the process of divorcing. If this process appears complex, please read on and contact an experienced Pensacola child support lawyer.


Florida follows an “Income Shares Model” for determining child support. Under this model, the courts will attempt to estimate the amount of money the parents would have spent on their children if they remained together and were not divorcing. Factors that go into calculating child support payments include:

  • The income of both parents
  • The child’s healthcare and child care costs
  • The standard needs for the children, based on the number of children, their ages, station in life, standard of living and the financial status and ability of the parents

This amount is then divided between the two parents, based on their income. The number of overnight stays each parent has with the children will also impact the amount of child support required.


The parent seeking to change a support order has the burden to prove that a change is warranted. In most cases, the parent must prove that they have undergone a substantial, permanent and involuntary change in circumstances. Losing a job isn’t sufficient grounds, because you’re expected to find new employment. Nor can parents try to skirt the system by being under- or unemployed. In such instances, the courts can treat an unemployed or underemployed parent as if they were employed full-time, earning a full-time wage and simply being non-compliant. Modifications are more often reserved for extreme circumstances, such as a severe, life-changing injury or illness, or retirement at the normal retirement age.


If a parent is able to pay child support and is purposely not paying it, they can be found to be in contempt of court. This is a serious offense and may involve jail time. Failure to pay child support can also negatively impact your credit score and can cause a number of other financial penalties such as liens on your properties, garnishment of wages and the issuance of fines. If for whatever reason you’re not able to pay child support, you need to contact a seasoned Pensacola family law attorney so you can make the most informed decision.


For decades, the Law Office of James M. Burns has helped countless people through a wide array of legal issues, including those involving criminal law, family law, personal injury law, and will & probate law. If require the assistance of a competent legal team that can effectively guide you through each phase of your legal matter, you’ve come to the right place. Contact the Law Office of James M. Burns today to schedule your initial consultation.