The parent with whom the child does not spend a majority of its time (the minority time sharing parent) will be required to provide a “reasonable” share of the cost of housing, food, clothing, education, medical and other needs typically provided by Florida parents. This “reasonable” amount is defined by the Child Support Guidelines in the Florida Statutes.
In order to understand how a child support amount is calculated, you must understand the factors that a judge must consider when making a child support calculation. Expenses such as rent, mortgage, car payment, gas, food, clothing, and utilities are not relevant when determining a party’s child support obligation. In fact, the amount of child support you think you need (or the amount you think you can afford to pay) are also irrelevant and will not be considered by the Court. The only factors that the court will consider in calculating child support are:
- Both parent’s incomes
- Deductions allowed by statute
- Child care costs
- The cost of the child’s medical insurance
- The number of nights that each parent have the child(ren).
A non-working parent may have income imputed to them. “Imputation” means that the court will assume – for the purposes of calculating child support – that the non-working parent receives a specific amount of income.
After income, the most important factor in calculating child support are the allowable deductions. The most common deductions are:
- Other child support that is ordered AND paid
- Other alimony that is ordered AND paid
- Local, state and federal income taxes
- Union dues
- Your own medical insurance expense
*Retirement contributions (unless they are mandatory) and garnishments are not allowed as deductions. Also, debts, repayments of debts, and distribution of debts do not affect the child support calculation.
A party’s child support obligation can be affected by the amount of time they spend with the child. If the parent who does not spend a majority of his/her time with the child has the children more than 20% of the overnights, then his/her child support obligation will be reduced or eliminated, depending on the specific financial circumstances of the parties.
Below are a few brief videos that explain how child support is calculated in Florida. More questions and answers can be found on the F.A. Q. page.
- What Factors are Considered in Calculating Child Support?
- Affects of Time Sharing on Child Support
You should consult with a child support lawyer in Jacksonville to ensure that the child support calculations in your case will be performed properly. Please call the office with your questions.