Florida Child Support: What Single Parents Need to Know

Mom kissing daughter's forehead.
Learn what to expect in Florida child support cases. Photo © Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images

In Florida, every child under the age of 18 has the right to receive ongoing financial support from both parents. Whether you need to file for child support in Florida, get an existing order enforced, or request a child support modification, the following Frequently Asked Questions can help:

Who Is Responsible for Enforcing Florida Child Support Orders?

In Florida, child support orders are enforced by the Department of Revenue.

Part of the state government, the Department of Revenue is responsible for the Office of Child Support Enforcement in Florida. Also known as your local 'child support agency,' the Florida Office of Child Support Enforcement handles the following:

  • Issuing child support orders in IV-D cases
  • Locating noncustodial parents (if needed)
  • Formally establishing paternity (if needed)
  • Enforcing child support orders
  • Collaborating with the courts, law enforcement, and other federal and local agencies

How Do I file for Child Support in Florida?

If you live in Florida and do not have an existing child support order, then the first thing you need to do is file for child support. That is generally a part-online, part in-person process. The following steps will help you establish an initial child support order in the state of Florida:

  1. Become familiar with Florida's child support guidelines. This will help you know what to expect and estimate how much child support you may owe or receive. In some cases, you will be told that you do not need to apply. For example, if you recently applied for government assistance, the state of Florida may have already initiated a child support case on your behalf.
  1. To apply for child support in Florida, you'll need to visit your local child support office in person.
  2. Alternatively, you can contact your local Office of Child Support Enforcement by phone and request that a child support application is mailed to you.

How Do I Find My Local Child Support Agency in the State of Florida?

Start by visiting the Florida Child Support Enforcement website, which provides a comprehensive list of local child support agencies throughout the state.

Alternatively, you can call 2-1-1 to find the office nearest you.

How Do Parents Pay and/or Receive Child Support in Florida?

In the state of Florida, parents who owe child support have the option to pay by check or credit card. When paying by check, you'll want to include your child support case number on the check. 

Parents receiving child support have the option to receive direct deposit or pre-paid debit card payments. 

To take advantage of the non-check options available, you'll need to set up an account with the Florida Child Support Disbursement Unit's Smart ePay system

How Do I Request a Child Support Modification in Florida?

Parents who have an existing child support order in place may wish to consider a child support modification. This is generally reserved for substantial changes, such as losing one's job. To formally request a modification, you should contact the court that issued the original child support order.

What If My Child Support Order Was Initiated in Another State?

The state of Florida has the authority to enforce child support orders initiated in other states within the U.S. In order to enforce the order locally, you will need to give a copy of the existing child support order, along with your ex's contact information, to your local Office of Child Support Enforcement.