If you’re going through a divorce and child custody battle, you may be concerned about how a judgment for child support payments will impact you. If you try to read the Florida statutes, you are likely to be more confused than ever. This post aims to simplify it so you can be prepared.
What Determines the Amount of Child Support You Must Pay?
Florida statutes provide guidelines designed to provide for the care of the child. The guidelines are based on the monthly net income of both parents and the number of children to provide a base child support amount.
Income includes salary or wages, but it goes beyond this to any bonuses, overtime, tips and other payments you receive. If you’re self-employed, it will include your income minus normal expenses.
Also included in your income will be any spousal support, social security benefits, pension or retirement benefits, as well as disability and workers’ compensation payments. If you receive rental income or interest from investments, that money will also be included in the calculations.
In essence, almost any money you receive on a regular basis will be subject to child support awarded by the court. Any public assistance received is excluded.
What is Net Income?
Once all income has been calculated, any allowable deductions may be used to reduce the amount considered for determining payments. This includes federal, state and local income tax deductions, and any contributions made to federal insurance or self-employment tax.
Other deductions include the following:
- Mandatory union dues
- Mandatory retirement payments
- Payments for health insurance
- Court-ordered support for other children – if the person is paying
- Spousal support
All deductions are subtracted from the gross income to provide the net income. Income is added for each parent to provide the total.
Deviance from the Norm
In some cases, child support payments may be adjusted by the court based on specific factors. They include the following:
- Extraordinary medical expenses, this includes psychological and dental costs
- Independent income of the child if they have a job or receive additional money from a trust, etc.
- Seasonal variations in income for either parent
- Age of the child
- Special needs, such as if the child has a disability
- Total assets of the parents or the child
Child support may also be adjusted if the parenting plan allows the child to spend a large amount of time with both parents. For example, they may calculate the number of overnight stays with each parent and include that in the determination of how much support should be paid.
Child support will be adjusted to include and allocate the amount paid for the child’s health and dental insurance, as well as for formal childcare.
If you want to find out more about how much child support you will be paying, you can contact an attorney who will provide you with a reasonable estimate for your situation or ask for their legal counsel to represent you in this matter.