23 Jun How is Child Support Calculated in Florida Divorces?
Child Support Calculations
Every parent in Florida is responsible for supporting their children — and this includes parents who live apart or are divorced. When you have children and go through the Florida divorce process, you must complete what is referred to as the “child support guidelines worksheet”. The amount of Child Support paid by each parent is computed using this worksheet, which is, in turn, devised using an equation set by Florida Statute.
The Basic Computation
The basic computation for child support is based on the parties’ net incomes. Add the two together. If the court is going to add spousal support, that is also figured in, as it (spousal support) is considered taxable income to the spouse receiving and is a deduction (non-taxable) to the paying spouse.
To determine the basic monthly obligation, the statutes provide a chart with the number of children and the parties’ combined incomes. The number of the basic obligation is the number at the junction of the combined income and the number of children. To establish the percentage that each parent pays, divide each party’s income by their total incomes. Then, multiply the basic obligation by each percentage to get the base amount that each party pays. The child support guidelines also account for child care costs, the cost of the children’s health insurance and the amount spent each month on non-covered medical, dental and prescription costs. These are added to the base amount. As some of these costs are borne by one or both parties, they are then subtracted from that parent’s column. For example, if the father’s base obligation percentage is $350 and his share percentage is 60 percent, the health insurance premium is $100, the non-covered medical is $50 and child care is $400 per month, the equation would look something like this:
Calculate the father’s actual share: 100*.60 = $60; 50*.60=30, 400*.60=240.
Then, add the base and the father’s share of extras: 350+60+30+240=$680.
Once you get the total, you subtract everything the father pays.
For example, if he pays 100 percent of the insurance premiums, 50 percent of the uncovered medical and none of the child care costs, he would pay approximately: 680-100-25=$555 per month. You would determine the mother’s percentage the same way, except her percentage is 40 percent and you would only subtract the child care amount — which is by statute, only 75 percent of the total — from the mother’s column.
The above is if the children stay with one parent most of the time and has weekend visitation with the other. If the parents have rotating 50/50 custody, the child support guidelines provide additional computations to make the support fair for the parent who is contributing more since the children are with him or her more than every other weekend.
Visitation and Support
In some cases, one parent will try to withhold visitation because the other is not paying support. Regardless of the reason the other parent is not paying, you cannot withhold visitation as a punishment. You are punishing the children, not the other parent, when you do this — and it is not in the children’s best interests to not allow them to see their other parent. Because of this and other reasons, the courts now enter an income deduction order for child support. Once the support amount has been determined, one of the attorneys or the court will draft an income deduction order. The court signs it and forwards it to the paying spouse’s employer. When the paying spouse changes jobs, he or she must notify the courts of his new job so that a new income deduction order may be forwarded to the new employer. If a parent still has trouble collecting child support, he or she should contact a child support enforcement attorney to help collect the arrears (the unpaid amount).
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