The State of Florida follows an “income shares model” in order to determine what the base amount of child support is in a case. With this model as guidance, the court will try and approximate how much money the parents would have spent on their children had they stayed together. This estimated amount will then be divided between the two parents. The court will look to the income of each parent, among other factors, to divide this amount between the two of them.
In order to establish a child support order, the court will use the Florida Child Support Guidelines provided by Florida Statute 61.30. The amount calculated by the guidelines is presumptive and, in most cases, will be the amount the court ends up ordering. The court can deviate five percent above or below the guidelines amount but must make specific written findings that explain why it was necessary to deviate from the guidelines.
For the court to complete the child support calculation, both parents are required to submit completed financial affidavits that detail their income and expenses. The affidavits must be filed with the court and the other party must receive a copy. The affidavits start off by calculating the gross income of the party. If it seems as though a parent may be attempting to be “underemployed” or unemployed to try and get out of paying more child support, a court has the right to impute income to that party.
Once the gross income is calculated, each party has the ability to take deductions for certain expenses in order to reach net income. The net income for each party are added together and the court applies this calculation to the Child Support Guidelines to see how much child support should be awarded. The net income of the parties and the number of children really are the primary factors involved in the child support calculation.
Above and beyond the child support calculation reached by the Child Support Guidelines, other expenses above and beyond those taken into consideration by the guidelines must be divided between the parties. Educational expenses, healthcare expenses, health insurance costs, and childcare expenses are all additional support items that must be properly divided between the parties. They are expenses that must be paid above and beyond the amount calculated by the Child Support Guidelines.
Child Support Attorneys
Child support payment is a hotly contested issue in family law. The amount of child support ordered can have a substantial impact on your finances. If you are ever unable to pay the ordered child support amount, you can end up in big trouble and even be held in contempt of court. Let the trusted family law attorneys at the Orlando Family Team help ensure that child support is accurately calculated and accurately reflects your ability to pay or how much you need to properly provide for your child. Contact us today.