How to Calculate Child Support in Florida

Boca Raton Child Support Lawyer

Calculating the amount of child support you will have to pay, or the amount that you are entitled to receive, is all determined under Florida Statute 61.30..

Child support is determined based on a formula which utilizes the net income of both of the parents. The starting point in any child support calculation is to determine the net income of each of the parents.

To make this explanation real easy for you, I would like you to follow along with my explanation by printing a copy of the child support calculation worksheet which can be found on my website. This is found under the Resource Tab at the top of any page on my website. You will see a drop down menu appear for “Commonly Used Forms”, which will take you to the appropriate link. Alternatively, simply click on this link to obtain a copy of the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet found on my website. If you print out the chart provided it will make it easier for you to follow along.

Florida Child Support – Step 1: Calculating Net Income

To arrive at a net income figure you first have to know what the gross income is for each parent. Gross income, under Florida law, includes, but is not necessarily limited to the following items:

  1. Salary or wages.
  2. Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.
  3. 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.
  4. Disability benefits.
  5. All workers compensation benefits and settlements.
  6. Reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation.
  7. Pension, retirement, or annuity payments.
  8. Social Security benefits.
  9. Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in the marriage before the court.
  10. Interest and dividends
  11. Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income.
  12. Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.
  13. Reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses.
  14. Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the gain is nonrecurring.

Once you have calculated the gross income, you then need to subtract allowable deductions from the gross income. Allowable deductions include the following items:

  1. Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax liabilities.
  2. Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax.
  3. Mandatory union dues.
  4. Mandatory retirement payments.
  5. Health insurance payments, excluding payments for coverage of the minor child.
  6. Court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid.
  7. Spousal support paid pursuant to a court order from a previous marriage or the marriage before the court.

After you have added up all of the various deductions which you are entitled to be credited with under Florida law, you subtract that total from your gross income. This is your monthly net income for calculating child support.

Florida Child Support – Step 2: Applying the Guidelines

The child support guidelines, as previously mentioned, are calculations that involve the combined net monthly income of both of the parents. You therefore add the net monthly income of the father and the mother together and you arrive at a combined net monthly income of the parents.

You would then take that figure and applied against the chart under the guidelines as set forth in Florida statute 61.30. Under the Florida guidelines, the amount of child support that is required at any given level of combined net monthly income is also based upon the number of children involved in either the marriage or the relationship.

For example, if the combined net monthly income of the parents totaled $2000 per month, the amount of child support that would be required if there was one child would be $442 per month. If there were two children, the total support would be $686 per month, and if there were three children, the total support would be $859 per month. The amount of child support also increases as the number of children between the parties increases. The actual child support guidelines provide you with examples up to six children involved.

Florida Child Support – Step 3: Other Factors

There are still a few variables that must be applied when examining child support guidelines. For example, in the illustration provided above, we know how much child support is required when we were at a combined level of net income in the amount of $2000. What we don’t know is how that child support amounts is to be calculated between each of the parents.

That calculation is actually quite simple. Let’s say for example, that both the mother and the father each bring home $1000 net income per month, and the combined total is therefore $2000 net income per month. Each parent is therefore contributing 50% to the total monthly income. Each parent will be responsible for paying 50% of the child support that’s indicated on the child support guidelines schedule.

Going back to our initial example, if there was one child involved, and the net income between the parents was $2000 per month, the total child support would be $442. If they’re each contributing equally to the income, then the child support to be paid by one parent to the other would be 50% of $442, or $221 per month.

Although the calculation of child support is straightforward when the parents each make the same amount of money, it is not that much more complicated when they make differing amounts. In order to come up with a percentage that each parent is responsible for paying, you would simply divide each parent’s net monthly income by the total combined net monthly income, to arrive at their percentage share of child support. Using our same example, let’s say the mother brings home $500 per month, and the father brings home$ 1500 per month net income. The total combined net monthly income of the parents is $2000. You would divide this number into the $500 to determine what percentage the mother pays. You would divide $1500 by $2000 to determine what percentage the father pays. In this example the mother would pay 25%, and the father would pay 75% of the required support at a level of $2000 per month.

Let’s look at what the actual numbers turn out to be. Again, using our same example, with the mother earning 25% of the combined net monthly income and the father earning 75% of the combined net monthly income, the father would be required to pay 75% of $442 per month, or $331.50 if there was one child. If there were two children, he would be required to pay 75e% of $686.

Although I use the pronoun “he” would be required to pay, “he” or “she” is interchangeable in these examples. Child support is not just paid by the father, but it could also be paid by a mother. Under the example that I have provided here, the father earns more money than the mother. However, if the mother is earning more money than the father, that she will be required to pay child support to the father.

The amount of child support that’s paid is not only dependent upon net monthly income of each of the parents, but it is also depended upon the actual number of overnights that each parent spends with the child or children. The more overnights you spend with your child, the less amount of child support paid to the other parent.

It would seem logical that if a child spends equal overnights with both of their parents, then no child support would be paid from one parent to the other. This is not necessarily true, unless both parents make exactly the same amount of income, which is very rare. One parent usually makes more than the other. In such a case, even if the parties have equal time-sharing there will be some type of child support that will be paid by one parent to the other.

Contact a Boca Raton Family Law Attorney

No two cases are identical, and so it is important to have proper legal guidance when understanding your child support rights and responsibilities. Families in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, other nearby communities, are encouraged to contact experienced attorney Alan Burton today for compassionate, understanding, aggressive advocacy. You can reach us at 954-229-1660 or my cell at 954-295-9222.