Florida Child Support Calculations
In Florida, child support is a parent's legal obligation to provide for their child financially until the child reaches the age of majority (18). If the child is still in high school or any educational program that provides a degree that is equivalent to a high school diploma, parents are obligated to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 19. Florida follows an "income shares" model to calculate child support which means that the combined income of both parents is the determining factor for the amount of support.
Child support is meant to maintain the kind of financial support the child would have received had the parents not split up. States, including Florida, take parents' income into account when determining child support obligations.
Florida Child Support Calculations at a Glance
Analyzing the exact meaning of the law in any statute is best left to a trained attorney, but a basic and concise explanation of the law is extremely helpful to us all. See the chart below for a plain English summary of the law that relates to Florida's child support calculations.
Sources of Income
Both parents must complete and file financial affidavits that describe their income and expenses. Gross income includes, but isn't limited to, the following:
Florida courts have the discretion to impute income to an unemployed or underemployed parent who purposefully tries to work part-time in an attempt to reduce their child support payments. Before the court can do this, it must have specific evidence that the parent's underemployment or employment is voluntary and not due to other factors such as employer-dictated work hours. Additionally, a court can also impute a party who hasn't completed and filed a financial affidavit.
Once the gross income is established, each parent can deduct specific expenses in order to reduce the amount of income that can be used to calculate the child support amount. Permitted deductions include the following:
Beyond the everyday household costs such as food, clothing, and basic living expenses, there are other expenses implicated during the calculation of child support. This includes:
These other expenses are also split between the parents with each parent responsible for their own share.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Florida Child Support Calculations: Related Resources
Consider reviewing the following resources for more information:
- Florida Child Custody Laws
- Child Support Amounts
- Child Support Calculators: Are They Accurate?
- How Do I Locate a Parent for Child Support?
Discuss Child Support Calculations with a Florida Attorney
Florida's child support calculations involve a lot more than applying numbers and figures. The child support order has a lasting impact on you and your child's lives. If you're dealing with child support issues, then consider discussing your case with a skilled child support attorney who understands the law and can give you the benefit of their experience. Locate one today with FindLaw's attorney directory.
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