Child Support Paperwork

What Counts As Income for Child Support in Florida?

One of the major issues that need to be addressed in a divorce where children are involved is, of course, child support. While it may be a hot-button issue, its calculation is formulaic in nature and follows fairly strict guidelines in order to be determined. Florida Statute Section 61.30 sets forth calculation guidelines and a court will order child support payments as outlined in the statute unless there are extenuating circumstances that would merit a deviation from this standard.

The main factors in this calculation include the number of children involved and the income earned by both parents. With parental income levels being a central determining factor in child support calculations, it is important to understand what income will be used in this process as well as understanding how the court will determine your earned income level.

What Counts As Income for Child Support in Florida?

The court casts a wide net to determine each parent’s income amount, meaning that there is a wide range of income types included in the child support calculation. In fact, it is safe to say that payments a parent receives from almost any source are likely to be considered income for child support calculation purposes. Examples of income sources that are likely to be included in the child support determination process are:

  • Alimony
  • Employment salary
  • Overtime wages
  • Tips
  • Commissions and bonuses from employment
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Business income
  • Royalties
  • Income received from trusts
  • Rental income
  • Social Security
  • Pension payments
  • Annuity payments

The court has broad discretion in working to ensure that a parent’s income is properly calculated and that their income level accurately reflects their earning potential as well. Did you know that a court has the ability to “impute” income to a parent who appears to be intentionally unemployed or underemployed? It’s true. Should a parent be intentionally unemployed or making less than they should when working to their full ability, then the court may try to determine the salary you should be receiving and impute that income to you for child support purposes.

The court imputes income to prevent a party from trying to game the child support system into ordering lower child support payments or none at all. Income will only be imputed, however, when unemployment or underemployment is intentional. That is why it is only done so when the parent’s hours or pay rate is at their own discretion.

In addition to income received, there are also several deductions that will be included as part of the income calculations for child support purposes. Some such deductions include:

  • Federal, state, and local income tax
  • Retirement payments
  • Health insurance payments (excluding those made for the minor child)
  • Court ordered alimony payments

As you may have guessed, deductions will lower the total income earned by a parent and can be an important part of accurately calculating child support payments pursuant to the child support guidelines.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

Accurate child support calculation is important to all parties involved. Having a trusted advocate by your side can help. Reach out to the family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou for assistance. Contact us today.