When children are involved in a Florida divorce, most parties understand the concept of child support. However, fewer understand how exactly it’s calculated. Florida courts adhere to the Florida Child Support Guidelines, found at Florida Statute 61.30, and use a table of income levels to determine the amount of child support for a given number of children.
The major figure they take into consideration when calculating child support is the income of both parents. In a Florida divorce where child support is an issue, both parties must complete financial affidavits detailing income and expenses.
· A party with an annual gross income (AGI) of less than $50,000/year completes Form 902(b)
· A party with an annual gross income (AGI) of $50,000/year or more completes Form 902(c).
What constitutes gross income?
· Salary, wages, bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, and tips
· Business income from self-employment, partnership, close corporation, independent contracts (minus expenses)
· Pension, retirement, or annuity payments
· Social Security, disability, or workers’ compensation benefits and/or settlements
· Unemployment compensation, reemployment assistance
· Court-ordered spousal support received from a previous or current divorce
· Rental income, gains from property dealings
· Royalties, trusts, estates, interest and dividends.
Certain expenses are also allowed to be deducted in the calculation of income:
· Federal, state, local and self-employment taxes
· Health insurance (minus those for coverage of the child or children)
· Daycare costs related to employment
· Union dues
· Mandatory retirement contributions
· Court-ordered spousal support paid from a previous or current divorce
Once this information is calculated to determine net income for each party, the figures are added together. The court then consults the grid contained within Florida’s Child Support Guidelines which shows how much child support should be awarded given the parties’ net income and the number of children from the relationship or marriage.
Finally, the other expenses required for raising children such as educational expenses, health care premiums, child care and more are typically split between the parties either equally, or pro rata based on their respective incomes.
Our experienced child support attorneys are here to help you every step of the way to be certain you are educated on your rights and obligations and receive fair and equitable treatment in your Florida divorce and child support matters.