Child support, in legal terms, is a topic of family law that determines the payment parents must make for the financial security of a child, usually after a divorce or separation. Florida uses what is called an income shares model, or a system that holds that a child should receive the same level of income that he or she would have received if the two parents lived together.
There are strict procedures that parents must follow when arranging the specifics of child support. An obligor or obligee must pay child maintenance directly. An obligor is typically a non-custodial parent, and an obligee can be a parent, caregiver or the state. The Office of Child Support Enforcement oversees the federal child support enforcement program, and each state is responsible for determining its own child support guidelines.
The Florida Department of Revenue offers an accessible guidelines sheet to further explain the state's child support system. The FDR uses an administrative support procedure to establish a support order. The order takes place through the following steps:
- The Department of Revenue notifies parents that the procedure has begun their case.
- Parents review the notice and supply information within 20 days.
- The DOR calculates the amount of monthly support owed.
- The DOR mails both parents a support order.
- Parents may contact the DOR with questions.
- A final administrative support order is issued.
The National Conference of State Legislatures also provides information on child support in Florida. The NCSL offers services to legislative and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families. In addition, the NCSL lists extended child support information, stating that services offered in child support programs include the locating of custodial parents, establishing paternity and collecting support payments, among other services provided by each state.