Raising a child is expensive. For parents that are divorced or separated, ensuring that their child’s needs are met can become more difficult with a split income. Due to this, generally speaking, Florida along with the rest of the country requires non-custodial parents to pay child support to the primary custodial parent. For parents going through the child support process for the first time, it can be confusing to understand how these payments are determined. Below, our Coconut Creek family lawyer is here to explain how courts calculate this amount.
Florida’s Child Support Guidelines
Parents are required to provide their child with support to ensure all of their needs are met, regardless of whether the parents are married or not. When a couple begins the process of obtaining and enforcing child support, the court will use Florida’s Child Support Guidelines to determine what amount is needed. These guidelines consider several factors to make sure every parent has the ability to fairly provide support.
Factors That Affect the Amount of Child Support
Parent’s Ability to Pay: Each parent must prove they have the means to provide their portion of child support, and that it’s fair to the paying parent’s income.
The Child’s Needs: The child’s essentials must be provided first, which includes food, housing, daycare, education, health care, and any special needs. Please take out “food, housing, education” and add the word “any” before special needs
Parenting Time: The amount of support may depend on the time-sharing of the child, or which parent the child spends time with.
Number of Children: How many children the couple has together will affect how much support is necessary.
How to Calculate Florida Child Support
Before child support is issued, both parties must complete a financial affidavit that outlines their income and expenses. Depending on how much gross income one parent has will determine which affidavit is completed.
Gross income includes:
Salary and/or wages
Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, and tips
Pension and retirement payments
Social security benefits
Interest and dividends
Income from trusts or estates
After gross income is calculated, each parent can deduct certain expenses and costs to determine what their individual net income is. The net income is what the court will base the amount of child support on.
The court will add each parent’s net income together, and then using Florida’s Child Support Guidelines, they will be able to determine an appropriate amount of support to award. These guidelines include a table that shows how much support is needed based on the net income and the number of children from the relationship.
The Child Support Guidelines also assigns a percentage of obligation to each parent because both parents are required to contribute to child support. However, not each parent may not be required to provide their child with the same amount of support. Instead, a percentage based on each net income will determine how much each parent will be required to provide. This is calculated by taking each parent’s net income, dividing it by total net income, and multiplying the result by the child support obligation from the guideline’s table.
After the net income and percentage of obligation are determined, that amount will be the amount of support required for the child(ren). Once this court has made the final order, generally speaking, the noncustodial parent will then be legally obligated to pay that amount every month to the primary custodial parent.
Turn to Qualified Family Attorney for Help
Child support matters are not easy to handle on your own, but The Law Offices of Jonny Kousa, P.L. is here to help you navigate this difficult time. If you have concerns about the amount of child support you will be obligated to pay or expect to receive, please do not hesitate to consult our Florida child support attorney assistance. We understand how confusing it can be to determine your child support amount and can help you get a better estimate of what to expect.
Call our office today at (954) 626-8071 to discuss your Florida child support case today.