How Child Support Is Calculated in Florida
[2024 Update]

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Florida judges have little flexibility in setting child support payments. The Florida Child Support Guidelines provide strict parameters courts must follow when drafting child support orders. Here are factors that influence the Florida child support calculator and what that could mean for you and your budget.

 

Your Income

 

The Florida child support calculator has a table of income levels that determine the monthly child support amount for a given number of children. To that end, both you and the other parent must complete financial affidavits detailing your gross income. Your gross income includes:

  • Salary or wages
  • Business income
  • Interest and dividends
  • Commissions, bonuses, allowances, overtime, and tips
  • Income from royalties, trusts, or estates
  • Rental income
  • Gains from property dealings
  • Disability benefits
  • Workers’ compensation benefits and settlements
  • Pension, retirement, or annuity payments
  • Social Security benefits
  • Reemployment assistance
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Spousal support

 

Your Expenses

 

After determining your respective gross income, you and the other parent may deduct certain expenses to arrive at your net income. Allowed deductions include:

  • Local, state, and federal taxes
  • Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Mandatory retirement payments
  • Health insurance payments, except payments that go toward coverage for your child/children
  • Child support for other children
  • Spousal support to the spouse of a previous marriage or ordered as part of the current divorce proceeding a common misconception is that you can deduct household expenses to reduce your net income, but that’s not usually the case.

 

Combined Net Income and Number of Children

 

Once you and the other parent have determined your net income, the court will add the two figures and consult the Florida Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines provide a table showing the corresponding child support amount based on the parent’s combined net income and number of children.

For instance, let’s say you have two children and your net monthly income is $2,000. Your spouse’s net income is $1,500. According to the 2022 Florida Child Support Guidelines, your $3,500 combined net income and number of children correspond to a total child support obligation of $1,149 per month.

The court will then assign a percentage of the obligation to each parent. This involves taking your individual net income, dividing it by the combined net income, and multiplying the result by the total child support obligation:

($2,000 / $3,500) x $1,149 = $656.57 = 57%

Your spouse’s monthly obligation would be:

($1,500 / $3,500) x $1,149 = $492.43 = 43%

Other Expenses

 

Raising children involves costs such as educational, healthcare, and childcare expenses in addition to child support. You and the other parent will split these costs, and each of you will be responsible for your share. Based on the example above, your portions of these expenses would be 57% and 43%, respectively.

Health insurance and dental premiums, uncovered medical and dental expenses, and childcare are divided pro rata in accordance with Florida law. Other expenses, such as extracurricular activities or private school tuition, may be divided as agreed by the parties. 

 

Q/A With Sergio Cabanas About Child Support Payments FAQs

 

Sergio Cabanas, Esq. | Family Law Attorney | Cabanas Law Firm

 

How is Child Support computed in Florida? Can I compute for Child Support on my own / DIY? 

 

The child support percentage in Florida is often misunderstood as being calculated on a percentage basis. However, several factors contribute to its calculation. Primarily, the amount of overnight time sharing each parent has with the child plays a significant role. The parent spending more time with the child typically incurs more expenses, covering items such as transportation, food, and supplies. The other parent is expected to contribute financially to the child’s well-being to balance these expenses. Another critical factor is the relative incomes of the parents. If one parent earns substantially more, they are expected to financially support the child accordingly. Other factors, such as health insurance premiums and childcare expenses, are also considered. It’s advisable to consult with an attorney to ensure accurate calculation, as it involves various legal arguments and considerations beyond simple arithmetic. Attempting to calculate child support independently is not recommended, as it requires proper understanding of legal nuances and considerations.

 

What’s the lowest child support payment you’ve encountered?

 

The lowest child support payment can be zero in certain cases. Parties may negotiate to waive child support, but it’s important to recognize that the right to child support belongs to the child, and neither parent can waive it. Courts require child support to be calculated according to Florida law guidelines to ensure the child’s rights are protected. However, calculations can be adjusted through legal processes, such as stepparent adoption, which transfers financial responsibility to another parent. It’s essential to seek legal advice to properly navigate such matters and ensure compliance with legal requirements.

 

How do I get rid of Child Support payments?

 

Eliminating child support payments entirely is challenging, as the obligation primarily serves the child’s best interests. However, certain circumstances, such as adoption by another parent or the death or disability of the paying parent, may lead to modifications or exemptions. Consulting with an attorney is crucial to understand the legal options and processes involved. Attempting to evade child support obligations through deliberate actions, such as reducing income, is not advisable and may have legal consequences.

 

How can you lower child support payments?

 

Lowering child support payments requires demonstrating a substantial and unforeseen change in circumstances, such as loss of income or changes in time-sharing arrangements. This process involves filing a petition for modification with the court, supported by legal arguments and evidence of the changed circumstances. Seeking legal advice is essential to navigate this process effectively and reach a fair outcome. It’s important to act promptly, as modifications can only be applied retroactively to the filing date.

 

Can I reduce my earnings so I won’t have to pay for child support?

 

Deliberately reducing earnings to avoid child support obligations is not a viable solution and may be viewed unfavorably by the court. Courts typically assume a parent is capable of earning their previous income level and may impute income accordingly. However, genuine changes in circumstances, such as disability, can warrant adjustments to child support obligations. It’s crucial to seek legal guidance to understand the implications of income changes and navigate the legal process appropriately.

 

Closing Remarks

 

It’s advisable to have a family law attorney review all paperwork before attending a final hearing to address any potential issues and ensure a smooth process. Confidence comes from knowing the paperwork is correct and legally sound. Attorneys can guide individuals through the process and help them navigate any legal complexities effectively. It’s crucial to address any problems promptly to avoid delays or complications during the hearing.

Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm

Divorcing with children can be challenging, but it’s easier with an experienced divorce lawyer by your side. At Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm, we have over 60 years of combined experience in family law.

We can walk you through the Florida child support calculator and help you work out solutions regarding custody, parenting time, and child support that work for everyone. Call (954) 447-2580 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.

Copyright © 2024. Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm. All rights reserved.  

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm
18503 Pines Blvd, Suite 301
Pembroke Pines, FL 33029
(954) 447-2580
https://cabanaslawfirm.com

Author

Sergio Cabanas, Esq. founded the Cabanas Law Firm in 2006 and provides Divorce and Family legal services, as well as Estate Planning, to ensure his clients have planned for their newly single life and are protected after their divorce. He began his career in law in 1992 as a prosecuting attorney at the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, then continued his litigation track as an insurance defense attorney defending medical professionals against medical malpractice claims and expanded into disability and life insurance claims. Sergio is a Certified Mediator registered in the Supreme Court of Florida and a frequent speaker in the community about the importance of Estate Planning to keep families out of probate court and to prepare essential instructions in the event of disability or incapacity.