Child Support in Florida: FAQs and Resources

A woman smiles as she holds a baby on a beach near the ocean.

Many parents have already encountered the term "child support," but how does the concept work? Briefly, child support refers to money sent from one parent to another to provide for the expenses for raising any children they share.

It's an important concept that most separated, divorced, or never-married parents are familiar with, including those who live in Florida. As with other legal concepts that impact families, it’s important to be aware of the responsibilities involved as a parent either making or receiving child support payments. 

In this article, you will find answers to common questions and get links to child support resources in Florida.

 

Florida Child Support FAQs

How does child support work in Florida?

Florida uses the income shares model to determine child support payments. Under this model, the state will consider both parents' gross monthly income from various sources including salary, disability benefits, worker’s compensation, and more. It will also consider relevant factors including the needs of the child(ren), their age(s), station in life, and their standard of living.

How much does child support cost in Florida?

The amount of child support you either pay or receive will be based on Florida's most current child support guidelines schedule detailed in the 2020 Florida Statute § 61.30.

How do I file for child support in Florida?

The Florida Department of Revenue (FL DOR) Child Support Program offers child support services for all Florida counties except Miami-Dade County and Manatee County.

Parents who want to apply for child support through the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Program can do so by either applying online, by visiting the local child support office, or sending paper applications through the mail. Visit the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Services website for instructions and application links. 

Parents living in Miami-Dade County should file for child support through the Central Depository Child Support and Alimony Office or the Family Court Self-Help Program. Visit the Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Courts' Central Depository Child Support and Alimony page for more information.

As for those based in Manatee County, the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller of Manatee County handles child support cases via its Child Support program. Visit the Manatee County Child Support Program's website to learn more about the services they offer.

Are child support payments tax-deductible or taxed in Florida?

As for federal taxes, the IRS states that, "Child support payments are neither deductible by the payer nor taxable to the recipient. When you calculate your gross income to see if you're required to file a tax return, don't include child support payments received."=

Likewise, in Florida, child support payments are neither tax-deductible nor taxed by the state.

How do I make child support payments in Florida?

All child support payments in Florida must be coursed through the state of Florida disbursement unit (FLSDU) where parents can make their payments online. Parents can also send their child support payments via money transfer services or by mail to the FLSDU. 

You can review each available payment option at the FL DOR Make Child Support Payments page.

How do I check on child support payments I've received?

Florida's Department of Revenue Child Support Program provides electronic disbursement of child support payments. Through this service, parents receive child support payments through a smiONE Visa Prepaid Card or direct deposit to a checking or savings account.

You can visit the FL DOR Receive Child Support Payments page to learn more about these two options.

How can you use child support payments in Florida?

Child support is intended to cover the kids' everyday living expenses, which then can be used to pay for basic needs like food, housing, clothing, and food. It is meant to allow the children to enjoy the same standard of living had the parents stayed together. In Florida, child support can also be spent for the children's other non-basic expenses such as travel, entertainment, or extra-curricular activities.

 

Florida Child Support Resources

Florida Child Support Information

Visit the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Services Program to begin your research on how child support works in the state. 

Visit the FL DOR Child Support Program website

Find other ways to contact the FL DOR Child Support program here

FL DOR Child Support Services: 850-488-KIDS (5437)

For those living in Miami-Dade County, visit the Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Courts' Central Depository Child Support and Alimony webpage.

For parents based in Manatee County, visit the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller of Manatee County Child Support Program webpage.

Florida Child Support Portal

The Florida Child Support Program eServices is where parents can apply for child support, make payments online, find information about their child support case, update contact information, view payments made, and print payment histories.

Visit the FL Child Support eServices website to create your account or sign in to your existing account.

Review Florida DOR's Child Support Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Calculating Child Support in Florida

The FL DOR Child Support page details everything parents should know regarding making or collecting child support payments in Florida. The page also links to the FL DOR Child Support Amounts page, which details how the state's child support guidelines work in figuring out the child support amounts.

You can review the 2020 Florida Statute § 61.30, which has the guidelines for the determination of child support amounts.

Florida Child Support Laws

For the most accurate information about child support laws in Florida, you'll want to review the 2020 Florida Statute § 61.30

 
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