Whether you are facing a divorce or have not married your child’s other parent, you may be responsible to pay or eligible to receive child support. Understanding how Florida determines these payments can provide information about what to expect when court proceedings begin.
Explore the guidelines Florida uses for child support calculations.
Factors in child support determinations
Florida considers both parents’ income to figure out a fair amount of monthly child support, as well as child care and health care costs for the minor. The Florida standard needs table provides a starting point for this calculation. For example, this table indicates that if parents earn a combined monthly net income of $5,000, the support amount should be $1,000 a month for one child and $1,551 a month for two children.
Both parents must complete a financial affidavit. Items the court considers income include:
- Regular wages and salaries
- Self-employment, partnership or other business income
- Tips, overtime pay, commission and bonuses
- Funds for reemployment assistance
- Disability benefits
- Unemployment compensation
- Workers’ compensation settlements and benefits
- Annuity, retirement or pension payments
- Spousal support
- Real estate capital gains
- Estate income
- Rental income less expenses
- Dividend and interest income
To determine net income, the judge deducts spousal or child support the person already pays, health insurance payments, retirement payments, union dues, insurance contributions and taxes.
Income shares model
Florida uses the income shares model to determine child support. Returning to the example above, if the parents have one child and each earn $2,500 a month, the court would divide the support amount evenly between the two. The judge has the discretion to adjust the amount of support paid or received by 5% but must provide a written explanation for the deviation. Based on this model, the parents would also divide other expenses for the child in half.
Florida requires both parents to support the child financially until he or she turns 18 and graduates from high school. Support extends until age 19 if the child is still in high school or possibly longer when he or she has special needs.