I found that too many (if not all) online Florida Child Support Calculators fail to provide accurate results. The child support amount provided by these online child support calculators, in my opinion, does not reliably predict what a judge would order at a hearing. The judges use a far more complicated program. I have tried to replicate this program in my Florida Child Support Calculator. Even though all online Florida Child Support Calculators are based on the Florida Child Support Guidelines, the different results (which I have tried to correct for) come down to two main reasons:
- Online calculators do not ask for your gross income. Instead, they ask for your net income and calculate child support from that number. While this is technically correct, it creates the biggest error in online child support calculation: your estimation of your net income almost never agrees with what the judge uses as your net income. The program that judges use in court asks for your gross income. The program will calculate your federal income tax based on your income and filing status (married, head of household, etc.). Your taxes (and other allowable deductions from income) are subtracted from your gross income to determine your net income – which is used to calculate your child support.
- Many online calculators fail to take the number of nights that the children spend with each parent into account.
My calculator determines your Federal Income Tax along with your FICA-Social Security and FICA-Medicare. I don’t know if you are eligible for various federal tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, etc.). However, there is a place to enter the total amount of your tax credits (if you know that total from your tax return).
Lastly, I included a question that asks about the number of nights that a father spends with the children. This number can be higher, lower or equal to the number of nights the children spend with the Mother. The calculator then gives the rest of the nights to the Mother. In general, child support declines as the number of nights increases.
This calculator is based on the 2020 federal tax code and the Florida Child Support Guidelines.