Many parents who are required to pay child support either because of a paternity action or because of a divorce, do not fully understand how child support is calculated. Florida Statutes Section 61.30 provides the formula the courts use to calculate child support. The following steps are used to determine child support:
- Determine Gross Monthly Income. This amount includes among other things salary, bonuses, overtime, tips, business income, disability benefits, workers' compensation, pension, retirement, annuity payments, social security benefits, spousal support from a previous marriage, interest and dividends, rental income, income from trusts, reimbursed expenses, and recurring gains from property deals. Note: Income will be imputed to an individual equal to the median income of a year round full-time worker if no income information is provided to the court or if the parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.
- Determine Monthly Net Income. The monthly net income is then calculated by subtracting allowable monthly deductions from monthly gross income. Those allowable deductions include among other things income taxes, self-employment taxes, mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement payments, court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid,and court ordered spousal support paid from a previous marriage.
- Net Income Combined. The net income of both parents is then combined. The courts then use the child support guidelines schedule found in Florida Statutes Section 61.30 to determine the child support obligtion based on the monthly combined net income and the number of children in need of support.
- Additional costs added to the child support figure. In addition to the figure derived from the child support guidelines schedule, the courts add child care costs and health insurance costs for the child.
- Each parent's share of support. Each parent is obligated to support the child. The percentage of the share of a parent's support is dependent on the percentage of a parent's net income to the net income combined. For example, if the mother's net income is $5,000.00 per month, and the father's net income is $2,500 per month, the mother earns 67% of the total net income combined, and the father earns 33% of the total net income combined. Therefore, if they have one child, the child support obligation is $1251.00 per month. If the child lives with the mother, the father pays the mother 33% of $1251.00 or $412.83. If the child lives with the father, then the mother pays the father $838.17 per month. These figures assume that neither the mother or the father is paying for child care or health insurance. The parent who pays child care and/or health care is reimbursed for the other parent's percentage share of those costs.
- Deviations from Child Support Calculations: The court is able to adjust the total minimum child support award based on a variety of factors. One common factor is when the child spends a significant amount of time with the parent who pays child support. In that case, the court uses the percentage of overnight stays with each parent to revise the child support obligations.
If you are faced with a divorce or paternity action, contact Mara & Mara so we can help you determine and fight for an equitable child support amount. We represent clients in divorce and paternity actions in Deland, Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Coast, Flagler Beach and surrounding areas.