Child Support calculations in Florida can be hard to figure out. If you are being asked to pay child support, there may be a lot of unknowns that lead to fears both real and imagined. Before we go into what is and isn’t calculated in Child Support in the State of Florida, let’s take a moment to remember what the point is of child support.
Child Support is intended to take care of your children. It’s a system put in place to make sure your kids are watched out for. As hard as it is to imagine the state of Florida deciding how much you will be paying for the care of your children, you need to remember that the majority of what you pay for your children you would have paid voluntarily if given the choice. You may not agree with being compelled to pay, or even the amount, but try and remember who will benefit the most, your children.
Now let’s look into the complex, and sometimes confusing, way the State of Florida calculates what Child Support is owed by what parent. To summarize, child support is calculated by taking the parents’ combined net income and using a statutory formula to determine the amount based on how many children are involved and how much time each parent will spend with the children.
There are a myriad of factors that go into the calculation. First, lets discuss what the state of Florida considers income when they calculate child support.
Child Support Income
1. Salary or wages.
2. Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.
There are many child support calculators online. A popular one is located at floridachildsupportcalculator.com. If nothing else, this calculator may help you understand the complexity involved in calculating child support. I cannot stress enough that these calculators are not a substitution for sound legal advice and having a professional estimate child support on your behalf. What this calculator will do is give you a general idea of what the future child support will be. There are other factors that effect the calculation of child support.
Some of the main factors that can also be considered
If either party is unemployed or underemployed
If a judge feels either party is intentionally unemployed or underemployed the judge can order the party to seek employment and enter job training or a work program. More information is available at: www.leg.state.fl.us
Child care needs
If the children require child care this can be calculated into child support. This child care cost may not exceed the cost of good quality child care from other licensed professionals.
Refusal of parent to spend time with child/children
If a parenting plan states that less than 20 percent of the overnights are spent with one parent, this reduces the financial obligations of that parent (while physically with the children) and therefore child support can be increased. If the parent refuses to spend time with the child this can also be a factor in increasing the amount of child support.
The more time you spend with your kids the lower the Child Support Obligations. However if you refuse or don’t’ utilize the time, that can be used against you to modify it back to higher amounts. Don’t ask for the extra time with your kids to lower your child support if you don’t plan on using it. This will backfire.
Health Care and Health Insurance costs
The cost of healthcare and insurance costs for the children can also be calculated into the amount of child support.
The judge can deviate 5% from the Child Support calculations for any reason. A judge can further deviate if he/she feels there is a legally sufficient reason to do so. Examples of legally sufficient reasons are when one parent is spending a large majority of the time with the children or when a parent does not spend much time with the children. If there was an adoption that occurred after the support obligation arose. If the Judge is going to deviate over 5% they have to give you written findings for why they did so. They dislike doing these findings are reviewed upon appeal.
Calculating Child Support in the best of times is difficult. If you’re like most people you’ve clicked on the child support calculator filled in a few boxes and then clicked back to this article. Going through a divorce is a difficult time and worrying about these things can only add to the stress. This is one of the reasons a good lawyer that can run these calculations and who understands the judge you will be in front of can be invaluable.
Please be aware that any and all information provided in this guide (including replies to comments) is for informational purposes only. Specifically, no legal advice is being given to the user or any third party. For specific answers to any questions, please consult an attorney of your choosing.