If you are in the process of a divorce and have children, you may have questions about child support. In the state of Florida, the amount you will pay for child support is calculated using the “Income Share Model.” This formula is used to determine how much you will pay each week or month to your ex-spouse for your children’s expenses until they reach the age of maturity.
In essence, the court is trying to provide your children with the same amount of financial support they would have received if you and your spouse were not divorcing. Florida Statute 61.30 dictates how much a person will pay in child support based on their income. That income amount is presumptive, meaning the courts must order child support in that amount.
How Courts Determine General Child Support Payments
The court has plenty of flexibility in its ultimate determination. If it is deemed necessary, the court can increase or decrease payments by 5 percent. For example, if the presumptive amount you should pay is $200 per month, the judge may order an amount between $190 and $210. The court can vary from the guidelines by more than 5 percent if they make a written finding explaining their decision. This description will explain why they believe this deviation from the presumptive amount is warranted.
To determine how much child support a spouse will pay, a judge will want financial affidavits from each party. If your gross income is less than $50,000 per year, you will fill out Form 902(b). If you make more than that amount each year, you will fill out Form 902(c). The forms come with their own sets of instructions and will explain what type of income information must be included.
How Other Child Support Payments are Determined
Once these forms have been filled out, you will complete the child support guidelines worksheet. Amounts of net income from the financial affidavits will be considered, and financial obligations will be determined. Once an amount has been calculated for general child support, the judge will divide other costs. For example, your child support payment plan may not include paying for extra-curricular activities. In your case, the judge will determine who pays for these extra costs or how they will be divided among both spouses.
Can Child Support Payments Change?
Child support payments are not set in stone forever. Under certain circumstances, they can be modified. If your financial situation— or the financial situation of your spouse— changes in the future, the court can be petitioned to modify the amount of support paid. For example, if the spouse accepting child support begins to earn more, the amount of child support may be lessened. If the person making child support payments begins to earn less, they may be ordered to pay less. It is completely up to the court’s discretion.
If you need assistance with child support or any other type of family law matter in Orlando, please reach out to our office today. We will review your needs and determine how we can best assist you. Call us today to schedule your free case evaluation.