Going through a divorce when minor children are involved can be incredibly stressful before you even begin to contemplate the fact that you will have to sort out a time sharing plan and secure a child support payment agreement. It is therefore important to understand the various factors and financial records that the court will be examining in reaching its decision. The following is a broad overview of how Child Support payments will be calculated and considered. An experienced Florida family law attorney can help you calculate child support payments and address any questions you might have about the process.
Florida Law Considers All Sources of Income
In determining the amount of support to be paid, the court looks at the complete monthly income for each of the parents. For the purposes of calculating child support under Florida law, some of the sources considered to be gross monthly income include:
- Salary or wages
- Bonuses, commissions, overtime, tips, and similar payments
- Business income from being self-employed, from a partnership, closely held corporations, or independent contract work
- Disability benefits
- Any workers’ compensation benefits or settlements
- Any unemployment compensation or benefits
- Pension, annuity, or retirement payments
- Social Security benefits
- Spousal support from a previous marriage
- Interest or dividends
- Rental income
There are also certain deductions that will be deducted from the income calculation, which include things such as payment of mandatory union dues, health insurance premium payments (excluding the amount for the minor child), income tax deductions (with adjustments), court ordered spousal support or other child support payments actually paid.
Relevant Child Support Considerations in Florida
Once the court has isolated the various sorts of income, it will then consider several factors before reaching a Child Support award calculation. These factors are additionally considered each time the court revisits the amount, as with a modification request.
The court will consider:
- The income of both parents
- The child’s health care and child care costs
- The standard needs for the child, based on age and other factors
Adjustments to Child Support
The court may adjust the total minimum child support award for either parent based on the following, non-exhaustive, list of factors:
- extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses
- independent income of the child (with some exceptions)
- seasonal variations in one or both parents’ incomes or expenses
- the age of the child
- Special needs related costs
- The particular parenting plan, such as when a child spends significantly more time with one parent, thus reducing the financial expenses incurred by the other parent
In addition to other explicitly mentioned factors, the court retains the ability to make any adjustments necessary in order to achieve and equitable result. Once all of these factors and adjustments have been taken into account, the court will look at the figures and arrive at a calculation. The Florida state legislator has a copy of the standard amount of child support awards available on its website, but this should be used for guidance only.
Keep in mind also that the calculations will also be dependent on how many children the amount is designed to cover. It stands to reason that two children will cost more to provide for than one, etc.
An Attorney Can Make a Difference in Your Florida Child Support Award
The calculation of child support can be complex. An experienced child support attorney can help you navigate this daunting process. He or she can point out factors that the court can consider when calculating your child support award.
If you are looking for a seasoned, zealous, dedicated attorney who knows the ins and outs of the child support and the Florida family law system, contact Craig W. Turner today to schedule an initial consultation. You can contact us through our online contact form on our website or by calling (352) 629-4442 Don’t leave your child support award to chance. Make sure that your payment is fair and enough to support your child.