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Florida Child Support Laws: Calculating Payments and Modifications

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What Does Child Support Entail?

Child support is a court-ordered obligation after a divorce to cater to a child’s financial needs for food, clothing and utilities, among others.

Florida’s Child Support Law 39.01 stipulates that child support is the responsibility of every parent, regardless of whether they’re married, single, or divorced. Parents cannot waive their child support payment obligations. Lawyers from a reputable family law litigation firm in Vero Beach provide more information on how to calculate child support.

Calculating Child Support in Florida?

While you might well understand the concept of child support, you may not know how Florida courts calculate the amount you’re obligated to pay. An excellent starting point would be to consult skilled family law attorneys in Vero Beach for more insights on how courts arrive at the figure it requires you to pay.

Child Support Guidelines

Florida’s Child Support Guidelines provide an Income Shares Model for determining child support. The model starts the calculation by establishing each parent’s net income and adding the two figures. The amount should reflect what the parents would have spent on the child had they stayed together.

The next step is to split the total net income of both parents based on the proportion of their contribution to resolve the amount each parent owes per month. Experienced Vero Beach child support attorneys can provide legal representation to ensure your share of child support payments is fair.

What is Considered Income When Calculating Child Support?

Generally, any payment you receive from almost any source is considered income in child support. Some examples of income that courts use in determining the payable child support include:

  • Business income
  • Social security
  • Income from employment, including salary, commissions, overtime wages, and bonuses
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Alimony
  • Disability benefits
  • Income from estates, trusts, and royalties
  • Social security
  • Net rental income

If the court finds that you’re not working at your actual capacity, it may calculate an appropriate salary as if you were working at full capacity to determine how much you owe in child support. That can happen if the court establishes that you’re trying to conceal your true income to pay less child support.

What Are the Allowable Deductions When Calculating Income for Child Support?

You might wonder how your final income will be calculated to determine your child support payments. Florida allows specific deductibles to determine the final net income, and they include the following:

  • Federal, state, and local tax income deductions
  • Daycare costs for the child
  • Personal healthcare payments and premiums for the children
  • Federal insurance payments
  • Mandatory retirement payments
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Spousal and child support from a previous marriage

Working with skilled child support lawyers in Vero Beach can help you capture all relevant financial information to ensure a favorable child support payment calculation.

Basic Requirements for Modifying Child Support in Florida

If you have an existing child support order, you can file for modification any time there is a substantial change in circumstances. The Florida child support statutes allow a modification petition anytime the petition would result in a change in support of at least 15% or $50, whichever is greater.

Changes in Income

Change in income is the most common reason many parents request a modification in the child support order. The change may be upward or downward and may involve the parent receiving or paying child support. The change in income must be significant enough, precisely at least $50 or 15%, whichever is greater.

Changes in Parenting Time

A substantial change in parenting time may warrant a request for child support modification in Florida. Recent changes in the Parenting Plan schedule attached to the final judgment authorizes courts to calculate child support based on the “actual” parenting pattern.

Changes in Expenses

Various changes in child-related expenses can justify child support modification.

However, the changes are definite and limited, with the most common ones being:

  • Daycare expenses
  • Alimony payments
  • Other child support orders for children from different marriages
  • Taxes
  • Health insurance for parent
  • Health insurance for children

Consult skilled lawyers from a reputable family law litigation firm in Vero Beach if you have changes in other expenses that could affect child support. The Vero Beach child support will advise you whether to file a petition based on those expenses.

A Skilled Family Law Attorney Providing Legal Counsel on Child Support

Child support calculation is not as mysterious or arbitrary as some believe. However, it’s crucial to enlist the help of skilled Vero Beach family law lawyers to ensure you get the figures right. They can guide you through the process and ensure you capture the correct details on the affidavit and worksheet.

Grall Law Group has experienced family law attorneys to help you with your child support case. We can help you calculate your gross income and list it accurately to avoid legal complications. We can also help you file the appropriate paperwork in case you need a child support order to be modified. Call us at 772-773-6697 to schedule a family law strategy session.

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