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Deviations From Child Support Guidelines In Florida


While parties to a divorce case can be creative when working out details regarding asset division and alimony, Florida laws on child support do not allow for much flexibility. Parents cannot agree that one party will not pay child support even if the parties equally divide timesharing. Florida child support guidelines use an equation that balances the parties incomes, overnight timesharing and the payment of extra expenses like day care or health insurance for the children.

One complexity that can enter the picture in a child support case is whether it would be suitable to deviate from the standard formula. There are limits to the percentage of deviation. By law, a deviation from child support guidelines cannot increase or decrease the amount by more than 5 percent. However, judges have some discretion to make a change in excess of 5 percent if circumstances warrant. In such a case, the judge must include a written explanation for the deviation. An increase or decrease could affect your rights, so it is worthwhile to consult with a Dade City child support attorney about details. A few key points might help you understand the basics. 

Parents must specifically request a  a deviation from child support guidelines via a motion. If you have a pending divorce case, you would file a motion with the court to request that child support consider other reasons why the support should be higher or lower.. If your case has already concluded, you would be filing a petition to modify the child support order that is already in effect – along with a request for a deviation from the guidelines.

Note that parents cannot change existing child support orders without court approval, even if they agree to a deviation from the guidelines. There are penalties for nonpayment or paying a lower amount. 

You must justify a deviation from the guidelines. Officials put significant effort into establishing child support guideless, so judges rely on the formula to be in the child’s best interests. To support your request to deviate from the guidelines, you must have some proof other than mere disappointment in the amount you are paying or receiving. Evidence to support your petition to deviate from child support guidelines may include:

  • The child receives public benefits or other income.
  • High travel expenses incurred in timesharing
  • One or both of the parents’ incomes are seasonal in nature.
  • The guidelines require the obligor to pay more than 55 percent of his or her income as child support.
  • The total available assets of the payor, recipient, or child are sufficient to justify a deviation on the higher end.
  • The needs of the child are much higher 

Consult with a Florida Child Support Lawyer Regarding Your Rights 

Child support deviations could impact your interests in a divorce case, post-divorce, or a paternity matter. If you would like more information on how child support guidelines work, please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can set up a consultation at our offices in Dade City, FL by calling 352-567-0055 or visiting us online.



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