Do I Have to Accept Child Support Payments in Florida?
It is rare, but it does happen: a spouse who is awarded child support does not want to accept it. Sometimes an individual denies child support payments because he or she feels they are financially stable on their own; other times, they do not want to add undue stress to the other parent; and more often than not, a parent chooses to reject child support simply because they want nothing to do with the other parent. However, while in an ideal world such an arrangement could be made, in the real world, the parents do not actually get to decide if and how much child support will be paid—the courts do.
Child Support is for the Child
Under Florida law, the primary parent cannot waive his or her right to child support as child support is not for them—it is for the benefit of the child, and as such, a parent cannot waive a child’s right to it.
As a parent, you have financial responsibilities to your child. Child support is meant to help you fulfill those duties, which include providing adequate food, safe shelter, appropriate clothing, and tending to any costs associated with education, among other things. Should you try to waive your child’s rights to child support, the courts will view it as your attempt to take away your child’s rights to basic necessities.
How Child Support is Calculated
According to Florida’s child support guidelines, child support is calculated by factoring in the age of the child or children, their station in life, standard of living, and the financial status of each parent. Each parent is responsible for filling out a form that allows them to plug in their respective incomes, the number of children in each household, current and projected costs of living, and the number of nights and days each has with the child/children. A child support calculator will use these forms as a basis for determining the recommended support amount, which a judge can follow or tweak as they see fit.
Typically, a judge will only tweak the recommended award amount when they see a good cause to do so. A good cause would be if the parent who is required to pay has an outstanding debt that they did not mention in their form. The judge may lower the award amount in order to keep the paying parent from going into the red every month. Alternatively, if the supported child has extensive medical needs, the judge may increase the award amount in order to help the custodial parent support and tend to those needs.
Is It Impossible to Waive Child Support?
While it does not happen very often, there have been instances in which a Florida judge agrees to waive child support completely. This typically only happens in instances where both parents share equal custody of the child, have extremely similar incomes, live in similar circumstances, and in which all of the child’s needs are being met.
Consult a Child Support Attorney
At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, we deal with post-judgment modifications to child support in Florida on a regular basis. While you may not be able to waive your child support altogether, we can help you reduce the amount of payments you receive. If for whatever reason you do not want or need child support, our Boca Raton family law attorneys can help you file a post-judgment modification motion and modify existing orders so that both you and your former spouse are happy. To get started, contact our family law firm at 561-391-9943, or schedule a private consultation online today.