Calculating Child Support in Florida

Child Support Law Firm

Getting a divorce is often challenging enough when only two people are involved, but when children are tossed into the mix, emotions can run high, causing many custody proceedings to feel like a personal attack rather than a compromise. Thankfully, Florida has tried to eliminate some of the tension involved in these cases by instituting a streamlined approach to determining child support. Within the child support statute for the state, there is a table that helps parents assess proper support amounts by net income, taking some of the guesswork out of the equation. However, there are other considerations to make as well.

Net Income

As discussed, the first task of figuring out child support in Florida is to determine the net incomes of both parents. Net income refers to gross income, meaning the amount left after other required and allowed deductions are taken out.

  • Taxes – state, federal and local
  • Health insurance payments
  • Federal insurance contributions
  • Union dues

Depending on your yearly income, you will be able to find your net income on the second or third page of your financial affidavits. If you have not completed these forms, then you should be able to find your net income on your tax returns from last year.

Additional Costs

Beyond your net income, you will need to consider additional child support costs. In Florida, these additional costs include health care and childcare. Daycare is viewed as a form of childcare and should be included. Additionally, these costs should be figured into calculations regardless of who is ultimately responsible for paying them.

Timeshare Percentage

Timeshare refers to overnight stays with each parent and will significantly affect the amount of child support. For example, if a child has overnight visits with one parent for more than 73 nights per year, then the amount of support will decrease drastically. Essentially, when a child stays with a non-custodial parent for 20 percent of the year or more, they are not required to pay nearly as much support due to increased financial responsibility and sharing.

Legal Representation

Either before or after you have figured out net income, costs and timeshare percentage, you should contact a divorce attorney to handle any legal paperwork or filings. While it is possible to handle these things on your own and likely more affordable, lawyers understand the process and can help expedite things.

A divorce can be a complicated process, especially when there are children involved. However, Florida has done an excellent service for separating parents by creating a streamlined approach for determining child support. Although, hiring a family lawyer Tampa, FL divorcees can trust, may still help you understand the process as well as make it a little easier.

Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and how to calculate child support.