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  • By: Mireya Lacayo, Esq.
  • Published: May 10, 2022
Child Support – Why Do I Have To Pay, And How Is It Calculated?

In the State of Florida, each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her child, whether their child is a minor or a legally dependent child. Fla. Stat. §61.29. This child support obligation is impose by the state not one parent to the other.

Fla. Stat §61.30 – Child Support Guidelines

Child Support Guidelines is the starting point used to determine a child support award. The following are amounts used when calculating Child Support Guidelines:

  1. Gross Income
    • Gross income for child support purposes includes: one’s salary/wages, bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, and tips, business income from self-employment, partnership, close corporations, and independent contracts, disability benefits, worker’s compensation benefits and settlements, unemployment compensation, pension/retirement/annuity payments, social security/veteran benefits, spousal support (alimony), interest and dividends, rental income, income from royalties, trusts, and estates, reimbursed expenses or in-kind payments that reduce living expenses, and any secondary employment.
  2. Net Income
    • Net income calculated for the purposes of Child Support is not the same as Net Income for Federal Tax Purposes.
    • To calculate net income for child support guidelines, net income is determined by subtracting the following allowable deductions from gross income:
      1. Federal, state, and local income taxes.
      2. FICA and Medicare taxes.
      3. Mandatory Union Dues.
      4. Mandatory Retirement Payments
      5. Health Insurance (not inclusive of health insurance payments for child(ren).
      6. Court-ordered child support for other children that is actually paid.Child Support Guidelines Worksheet

Once the gross monthly income is determined for each parent, and the appropriate deductions allowable by statute are subtracted, the net income of each parent is derived. Child Support Guidelines are then calculated by the following formula:

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet

Each Parent’s net monthly incomes are combined to determine the total available net income for child support purposes.

The child support guideline schedule is applied to the combined net incomes of the parents to determine the basic or minimum child support needed.

Each Parent’s payor percentage is determined by diving each Parent’s monthly net income by the combined monthly net income.

Each Parent’s percentage found above is applied to the guideline amount found in Row #2.

Child care costs are costs must actually be paid before they can be added into a child support obligation. The total Child Care costs are included in Row 5a.

Each Order for Child Support shall contain a provision for health insurance coverage for the minor child(ren) when health insurance is reasonable in costs and accessibility. The total health insurance costs for the child(ren) only is provided in Row 5b.

Row 5c includes the total monthly noncovered medical, dental and prescription costs. These costs should also be split in the same percentage as the child support.

Adjustments and credits are given to Parents for child care, health insurance, and uncovered medical expenses which are actually paid. The final calculations will reflect credits and adjustments for payments actually made. The total child support obligation owed from Father to Mother based on each Parents obligation amount and subtracting any adjustments or credits.

The smaller sum of the Child Support amount owed is subtracted from the other, and the resulting number is the child support to be paid by the Parent with the larger financial obligation.

The Court has the ability to modify the award by a 5% increase or decrease without additional findings.

Have questions about calculating child support? Do you want to establish child support? Have you received a Notice of Initiation of Child Support from the Department of Administration? Call our office today at (813) 519-5919 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss. Our experienced legal team is here to help!

Experienced Florida Family Law Attorney - Mireya Lacayo, Esq.

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