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Myths when it Comes to Child Support in FL

by | Jun 28, 2020 | Firm News

There are dozens of myths, misconceptions, and misinformation that regularly circulate about child support and that’s especially true in Florida. The following are the facts about Florida child support payments and answers the most commonly asked questions.

Age Limits

Many parents paying child support think their obligation ends when the child turns 18. Florida requires child support be paid until a child graduates or turns 19, whichever comes first.


Claiming bankruptcy doesn’t stop child support payments. Even if the parent paying the child support declares bankruptcy, they’re still required to maintain their regular child support payments.

Children Only

The parent receiving payments doesn’t have to inform the other parent about what they do with the funds. The money can be spent for anything that directly affects the child. That includes food, school activities, healthcare, entertainment, and other costs related to everyday living.


A parent isn’t held criminally liable if they can’t make their child support payment due to the physical inability to do so. However, there are still serious consequences for failing to pay.

Direct Payments

All child support payments must be made through the Division of Child Support Enforcement or the money won’t be accredited to the account of the parent making the payment. Paying a spouse directly will register as a default.


The court can garnish checks and unemployment benefits, even if the parent hasn’t been late on their payments but have underpaid amounts in the past. The state can also take any federal or state income tax returns.


Child support payments are not declared as income by the parent that receives them.

Joint Custody

There are two types of child support in FL – physical and legal. Support payments are based on the combined income of the parents and amount of time the child spends with each parent. The state has a formula to determine the amount and who pays it. The state alone governs this. Even with joint custody, one parent will pay child support.

Payment Changes

The amount of child support can be adjusted to meet the evolving needs of the child or in a parent’s financial circumstances. Those changes must be approved by the court.

Tax Deduction

The parent paying the child support can’t claim the payments as a tax deduction on their taxes.