Many of our clients ask how child support is calculated in Florida. Unlike alimony, calculation of child support is determined by using a mathematical formula as outlined in Florida Statute 61.30. The formula takes into consideration both parents’ incomes, the time the children spent with each parent, the number of children of the parties, and other factors as specifically outlined within the statute.
The following are considered income for child support calculation purposes per subsection (2) of the statute:
(2) Income shall be determined on a monthly basis for each parent as follows:
(a) Gross income shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Salary or wages.
2. Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.
3. Business income from sources such as self-employment, partnership, close corporations, and independent contracts. “Business income” means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.
4. Disability benefits.
5. All workers’ compensation benefits and settlements.
6. Reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation.
7. Pension, retirement, or annuity payments.
8. Social security benefits.
9. Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in the marriage before the court.
10. Interest and dividends.
11. Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income.
12. Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.
13. Reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses
The court considers the parents’ net income to calculate the proper child support amount. As outlined in subsection (3) of the statute, the allowable statutory deductions are as follows:
(a) Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax liabilities.
(b) Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax.
(c) Mandatory union dues.
(d) Mandatory retirement payments.
(e) Health insurance payments, excluding payments for coverage of the minor child.
(f) Court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid.
(g) Spousal support paid pursuant to a court order from a previous marriage or the marriage before the court.
Child support calculations also take into consideration payments for health and dental costs, as well as daycare costs. It is imperative to preserve records evidencing these expenses and payments so that child support can be calculated properly.
Finally, often parents fight over time sharing, because the amount of time a parent spends with his/her children directly affects the child support amount. Generally when a parent spends more overnights with his/her child(ren) each year, he/she pays less child support than a parent who spends significantly less time. It’s important to note, however, that the difference in the amount is not always significant. Ultimately, in determining a time sharing schedule, the court always considers the best interest of the child. If the court determines that one parent has withheld the children from the other parent only to receive more child support, it can have negative implications for the withholding parent.
It’s advisable to seek the advice of an experienced attorney to run your child support guidelines to make sure that you receive the proper child support amount or that you are not overpaying.
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