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How Is Child Support Calculated in Florida?

how is child support calculated in miami

If you are experiencing a divorce and have children with your spouse, you may wonder how much you’ll have to pay or receive for child support.

Child support ensures that your children are taken care of financially. Although both parties have to financially support their children, normally the parent who earns more will have to provide additional support to the other parent.

But how is child support calculated in Florida?

Florida has various rules and guidelines to ensure that child support payments are appropriately calculated. Of course, each family and situation is different, so there’s no set amount for child support payments. Certain factors can affect your child support, which is why there’s a formula to determine how much the payments will be.

Keep reading this article to learn more about child support, how child support is calculated, and how a family lawyer can help you.

Have more questions? Contact a child support lawyer from Vasquez de Lara Law Group today.

What Is Child Support?

Child support is a court-ordered payment that one parent must give to the other parent following a divorce or paternity case. The purpose of child support is to make sure that children of a couple who are no longer together receive financial support from their parents. Generally, the parent who is the children’s primary caregiver will receive child support from the other parent who is less involved. This is because parent who spends less time with their children will typically have fewer child-related expenses. But this is not always the case.

For example, some parents split their time between their children equally. In this case, the parent who earns more may have to pay child support to maintain the children’s quality of life while they’re with the parent who makes less.

Child support is meant to only benefit the child. It covers living, education, medical, and other expenses. Overall, the point of child support is to make sure both parents contribute to paying for their children’s care in the event of divorce or separation.

Factors That Affect Child Support

The State of Florida uses a formula to calculate child support. This formula accounts for various factors, like each parent’s net income, the cost of care, and health insurance. The child support guidelines will take into account each parent’s income to estimate how much they will spend on their children.

Based on this calculation, the guidelines will establish a proportionate amount of child support. If you make 40% of your combined income, you will likely be responsible for 40% of the monthly amount it takes to care for your children.

Some other factors that affect child support include:

  • How many children you have. If you have several children, you will require more financial support, which can increase the payment you receive from the other parent or the payment you pay the other parent.
  • How much time you spend with your children. The more you spend with your children, the less your monthly child support obligation is because you cover more child-related costs.
  • Your children’s medical needs. A significant determining factor in child support payments is your children’s healthcare costs; if your child requires costly medical care, the child support payments will typically be larger.

How to Calculate Child Support

Florida Statute 61.30 provides clear guidelines for determining the amount of child support parents are obligated to pay. The state follows an Income Shares Model, which is based on the belief that the child(ren) should receive the same proportion of parental income after the divorce as they would have received had the parents remained married.

Under this model, child support is calculated based on a formula that takes into account both parents’ monthly income and expenses, which must be detailed in financial affidavits that are then filed with the court and shared with the other party. The calculation of gross income includes:

  • Salary or wages.
  • Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.
  • Business income from sources such as self-employment, partnership, close corporations, and independent contracts. “Business income” means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.
  • Disability benefits.
  • All workers’ compensation benefits and settlements.
  • Reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation.
  • Pension, retirement, or annuity payments.
  • Social security benefits.
  • Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in the marriage before the court.
  • Interest and dividends.
  • Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income.
  • Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.
  • Reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses.
  • Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the gain is nonrecurring.

If one party tries to skirt the issue of paying child support by willfully becoming unemployed or underemployed, the statute also dictates that monthly income shall be imputed, which means the courts can treat an unemployed or underemployed spouse as if he or she is in fact employed full-time and earning a full-time wage.

After monthly gross income has been calculated, deductions are permitted in order to arrive at each parties’ individual net income figures. Permitted deductions include:

  • Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax liabilities.
  • Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax.
  • Mandatory union dues.
  • Mandatory retirement payments.
  • Health insurance payments, excluding payments for coverage of the minor child.
  • Court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid.
  • Spousal support paid pursuant to a court order from a previous marriage or the marriage before the court.
  • Net income for each parent shall be computed by subtracting allowable deductions from gross income.
  • Net income for each parent shall be added together for a combined net income.

The final monthly net income figure is what you – and the courts! – will use to determine how much child support is expected based on each parties’ net income and the number of children they have.

Following these steps to get an estimate can be complicated and time-consuming. Instead, we advise that you talk to a Miami child support lawyer. They will do the work for you and give you an accurate estimate of how much child support you will receive or have to pay.

Contact a child support lawyer from Vasquez de Lara Law Group to get an estimate.

How Can a Child Support Lawyer Help?

You may wonder how a child support lawyer can help you. A Miami child support lawyer understands child support laws in Florida. They can offer you legal advice and answer any questions you have.

Most importantly, your lawyer will help you pursue fair child support. They will do whatever it takes to ensure the other parent pays you a fair and proportionate amount to financially support your children. If you are the parent who is ordered to pay child support, your lawyer will ensure you’re not overcharged.

An experienced and reliable child support lawyer is possibly the best resource available. You can rely on the team at Vasquez de Lara Law Group.

Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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