Can I Waive Child Support in Florida?

Child support cannot be waived in Florida even if both parties agree. This is because child support is for the child, not the parent, and the judge must act in the best interest of the child. The amount of  support awarded in a divorce is determined by filling out a child support guidelines worksheet that must be provided to the Judge. The Judge has some leeway in setting the amount of child support and may in some cases deviate from from the amount shown in the guidelines. According to the child support statute, the judge may only deviate (i.e., increase or decrease) from the guidelines by 5%, unless there is a valid reason for increasing or decreasing by more. Such reason could be special needs of the child, income or expenses varies seasonally of either parent, or one parent incurs significant travel expenses to exercise timesharing.

The Judge cannot deviate from the guidelines unless requested by one or both parties. Your divorce attorney should be able to present the proper evidence to the Judge supporting a deviation from the child support guidelines or craft language in your marital settlement agreement supporting a valid deviation. If not, the judge may not sign off on your divorce even if the parties agree on the amount of child support or that it be zero.

Contact us if you have questions about your child support obligation.

Therese Felth McKenzie

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