In Florida divorce cases, the well-being of minor children remains a priority when it comes to the court’s ruling on the divorce case. This goes for time-sharing arrangements as well as child support calculations. Child support is an essential component in ensuring the well-being of a child and very rarely, if ever, can it be waived.
While it may seem like a big mystery as to what you will be responsible for in terms of child support payments after divorce, the law is quite clear in how such payments are to be calculated based on your monthly income and the number of children you have.
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:
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:
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.
The last step in determining child support calculations is to divide each parent’s net income by the total net income of both parents, and then multiply the answer by the child support obligation outlined in the grid. This is done in order to assign a percentage of the obligation to each spouse based on their income.
Once child support payments have been determined by the courts, they can be modified only when there’s a change in the income of the parties. Modifications will be granted if the new payment would be more than a 15% or $50 increase or decrease in the support, whichever is greater.
If you have questions about child support payments, need to seek a post-judgment modification, or would like to schedule a case evaluation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Vasquez de Lara Law Group. We know how difficult of time divorce can be. To us, you’re family and we do everything we can to relieve some of your burden.