A parent can ask for child support alone, or as part of another family law court case.

  • A parent can ask for child support if they are married want to get a divorce, legal separation or annulment.
  • If the parents are married and do not want to get a divorce, legal separation or annulment, one parent can still ask for child support by submitting to the court a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children.
  • A parent can ask for child support if they have been a victim of domestic violence and are asking for a domestic violence injunction
  • A parent can ask for child support as part of a paternity/parentage court case. A parentage case is for parents who are not married and have children together. It establishes who the legal parents of a child are.

If one of the parents has been getting public assistance, the Department of Revenue will automatically start a child support case against the other parent.

Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent to pay every month to help pay for their child’s living expenses.

Florida uses a formula to calculate what amount one parent should pay to the other for child support based on the earnings of each parent, the amount for child care and medical expenses, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child (overnights).

The guideline calculation depends on:

  • How much money the parents earn or can earn.
  • How much other income each parent receives.
  • How many children these parents have together.
  • How much time each parent spends with their children.
  • The tax filing status of each parent.
  • Support of children from other relationships.
  • Health insurance expenses.
  • Mandatory union dues.
  • Mandatory retirement contributions.
  • The cost of sharing daycare and health-care costs.
  • Other relevant factors.