How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?

Though divorce is hardly ever simple, divorce can be particularly complicated if you and your spouse have children. Determinations must be made regarding time-sharing, whether there will be one majority parent, and how much child support will be required. Child support determinations are especially important, as there may be serious implications if the support court order is not obeyed. To make sure you get a fair child support order, always make sure you have the assistance of a skilled Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

How Does the Court Decide?

Florida family courts actually have little discretion when making a child support determination. Judges may not simply require one spouse to pay an arbitrary amount to the other. Instead, child support amounts are based on strict guidelines and calculations set out by Florida law. A judge may only vary the amount ordered by five percent under or over the set guidelines. Such variations may be deemed necessary based on factors including the age of the children, any special needs, the previous standard of living, and the parent’s ability to pay.

Child Support Calculations

The amount of child support you must pay in accordance with Florida guidelines will be first based on your income and the number of children you have. Other factors that go into the equation are the daily costs of child care, health care, health insurance, and others.

Additionally, the amount of support will depend upon how many nights each parent spends with the children per year. Florida child support laws recently changed to include that any parent who spends at least 73 overnights with the children per year qualifies as having substantial parenting time. Substantial parenting time can make that parent eligible for adjusted child support payments. This is very important because 73 nights per year may be accomplished if a parent only sees the kids on the weekends, or even alternating weekends and part of the summer. Due to these recent changes in the law, more parents who spend less time with their children will be eligible for lowered payments.

There may be circumstances under which you want to request that the court award a child support amount that is outside of the guidelines. In order to do so, you must file a Motion to Deviate from Child Support Guidelines with the court. These motions and arguments can be complex, so you always want an experienced attorney on your side.

Don’t Hesitate to Call Today

Child support determinations can have a significant impact on your life. If you are the majority parent, you want to make sure that you are awarded enough monthly support to adequately cover the needs of your children. If you are the non-majority parent, you want to make sure that the child support payments are not so high that they keep you from properly supporting yourself. Experienced Boca Raton child support attorney Alan R. Burton knows how child support determinations work in Florida family courts, and he will stand up for your best interests no matter what your position may be. Contact our office to discuss how Mr. Burton may help you.