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. The Florida Statutes require judges to follow the Florida Child Support Guidelines.
Contact a child support lawyer in Jacksonville for an explanation of these factors. Expenses such as rent, mortgage, car payment, gas, food, clothing, and utilities are not relevant when determining a parent’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) is also irrelevant. These irrelevant factors will not be considered by the Court. I’ve heard the judges tell a few clients (to the other party) over the years: “You earn the money, Uncle Sam takes his cut, you pay your child support, and then you live on the rest.”
Florida Child Support – Income & Deductions
The only factors considered by a judge 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).
Income may be imputed to a non-working parent. “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. Generally you can expect that the Court will impute income to a parent in an amount equal to what that parent could earn based on their education, experience and work history.
After income, the most important factors in calculating child support are the allowable deductions. The most common deductions are:
- ordered AND paid child support from another case
- ordered AND paid alimony from this case or another case
- 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, repayment of debts, and debt distribution are not factors in the child support calculation.
Additionally, the amount of time a parent spends with their child affects the child support obligation. For example, 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. In general, as the minority time-sharing parent’s nights increase, the child support amount goes down.
Lastly, the amount of daycare and the cost of the child’s medical insurance affect the child support amount. Typically, one parent pays these costs. The child support statutes require both parents to share in these expenses by raising or lowering the child support amount.
Florida Child Support Calculator
Please try my online Florida Child Support Calculator for an estimation of the child support obligation in your case. My calculator allows you to input all the relevant factors in a child support calculation. Also, you can change a single factor without changing the others to see how each change affects the final result.
More Information on a Child Support Lawyer in Jacksonville
Below are link to a few brief videos on a Florida child support calculation. The F.A.Q. page contains more questions and answers about child support in Florida.
- What Factors Matter when Calculating Child Support?
- What are the allowable deductions from income in a Child Support Calculation?
- What are the effects of Time-Sharing on Child Support?
Consult with a child support lawyer in Jacksonville to ensure that the child support calculations in your case are performed properly. Please call the office with your questions.