Child Support in Florida
Florida uses a program known as the Income Shares Model when determining the amount of money a parent pays in child support. The state of Florida ensures that both parents, regardless if they are married or unmarried, financially support their children. Both parents are obligated by the state to pay for their children and ensure they are looked after.
Income Shares Model
The courts use the Income Shares Model to estimate the amount of child support a parent pays. This is calculated using the model as it determines what a parent would spend on their child if the parents were still together and living in the same home. The estimated amount of money is then divided between the parents based on their individual incomes.
What is child support in Florida?
Parents in Florida must file and exchange financial affidavits. This is completed to verify each parent’s income and expenses. The court can then use the information to determine the amount of money each parent pays in child support. Child support is based on other specific factors including the number of children supported and the combined net incomes of the parents.
The Child Support Guidelines Worksheet offers basic information to parents and covers the child support amounts that must be paid. The charts are updated regularly to reflect the prices of goods and services. Once a parent completes their affidavits and determines net income, they can consult the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet to discover the basic amount that will be paid. The basic child support figure is then shared amongst the parents in proportion to their individual incomes.
Calculating child support in Florida
The amount of child support parents must pay can be calculated with this simple example. Parents with a total monthly net income of $5,000 would have to set aside $1,000 in basic child support, according to the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. Parents would then divide their income by the total combined income to determine how much of the $1,000 they would each be responsible for.
Florida child support calculator
in Florida, child support is calculated using a formula that is prescribed by statute. Basically, it takes into account two main things. First, the amount that each parent earns. And second, the amount of time that kids spend with each parent. These numbers go into a fairly complicated formula and it spits out the dollar amount that one parent must pay to the other on a monthly basis.
Example of the Florida child support calculator
If both parents make the same amount of money, let’s say they each make thirty thousand dollars and they both have 50, 50 time with the child, meaning the child has equal amounts of overnight stays with both parents, then under the calculations of the statute, neither parent will pay or receive child support.
Another quick example. Let’s say dad makes sixty thousand, mom makes forty thousand, and they still have half and half time with the child. In that case, dad will pay mom child support and the formula will determine exactly what that amount would be. So going back to the example we started out with, if indeed the court agrees that it’s in the best interest of the child for him to have equal overnight stays with both mom and dad, the dad in this case would be the one who has to pay child support since he earns significantly more than the mom, and since they have equal time with the children.
Here’s the bottom line. When it comes to child support, you want to make sure that you have all the figures properly calculated. One mistake and you could end up paying more than you need to be or receiving less than you’re entitled to under the Florida laws. You don’t want to get it wrong and then you’ll have to waste time and money fixing it after the fact.
Custodial parent’s costs vs. Non-custodial parent’s costs
In Florida, it is presumed that the custodial parent covers most costs. Courts assume that the custodial parent’s portion of child support is going directly into daily and weekly costs to raise the child. These costs include food, clothing, living expenses, school, transportation, and other costs.
Calculations to child support can change depending on the number of nights the child, or children, stay with the non-custodial parent each year. Non-custodial parents, in which a child stays for a minimum of 20% of overnights per year, can see their child support payments decrease. This is due to having the child more often and spending funds on various items including food, shelter, and clothing.
The amount of child support paid can be dependent on both income and the number of overnights a parent has during the year. When parenting time is calculated, the amount of money an individual pays in child support can get complicated.
Florida child support guidelines
Child support in Florida is calculated by taking each of the parents gross income and then subtracting out how much taxes they pay and getting down to their net income and then looking at how many overnights they take for each child and then looking at any daycare expenses that are paid on behalf of any of the children and then the health insurance premiums that are paid on behalf of each children.
There are some additional factors to consider when it comes to paying child support in Florida. Additional costs can involve healthcare, health insurance premiums, dental care, prescription medicine costs, and child care costs. These can increase the amount of money a parent pays to an ex-spouse. The courts divide the responsibility for these added costs between the parents. Once again, the costs are divided based on individual income.
Can the cost of child support in Florida be lowered?
Parents may seek to have the amount of their child support lowered than what the guidelines suggest. A parent must file a form known as the Motion to Deviate from Child Support Guidelines. Courts may find the lowering of child support to be fair in certain cases. The court may consider other factors in the potential lowering of child support. For example, a child may have an independent source of income. Courts aim to provide fairness between parents and the amount of money they pay for child support in Florida.
Failure to pay child support in Florida
Unfortunately, many parents around the United States do not pay child support. They do this in multiple ways such as simply not paying the required funds or quitting their job. In some cases, parents may quit a high-paying job and take a lower income position. This lowers the amount of money they are required to pay in child support. In Florida, courts frown upon this practice and oftentimes, it does not relieve individuals of the amount of money they must pay in child support.
In an attempt to ensure that parents do not voluntarily become unemployed or underemployed, courts have the power to impute income to that parent. An imputed income is when a judge finds that the amount of income a parent is claiming is not a fair reflection of their income. A parent can have imputed income based on their recent work history, job qualifications, and the prevailing earnings levels in the community.
Modify child support in Florida
After a court has made an initial ruling on child support, a parent seeking to modify the child support order must prove a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. Changes in circumstances that may influence a modification in child support include a parent getting a higher paying job, a change in the number of days a parent has access to the child, or a medical condition that prevents employment.
In Florida, child support is paid until the child’s 18th birthday. On that day, the child support order is terminated. In some circumstances, however, courts can extend the child support order to cover a child past their 18th birthday. Child support can be extended based on an individual’s mental or physical capacities. In addition, if a child turns 19 but is still attending high school, parents may still be liable for child support payments.
Florida attempts to keep parents responsible for their children whether they are custodial or non-custodial parents. By ensuring the state’s child support laws are fair, it makes it more likely that parents are responsible for their kids and keep up with payments.