It is very easy to assume that child support is simply awarded by a judge without reference to any resource. Most feel the judge simply pulls a figure out of the air, orders the parties to pay it and bangs his gavel. Case closed. Child support in Florida is actually much more complicated. There are a lot of calculations that go into determining child support in Florida. These calculations are meant to determine not just the amount that will be paid, but how this amount is to be split between the spouses as well as what income would be taken into consideration in determining the amount of child support. The calculations may seem complicated, and in some sense, they can be.
Florida Child Support Guidelines
Child support in Florida is calculated on the basis of the child support guidelines. The guidelines are based on an “Income Shares Model”. This means that the court will attempt to arrive at an estimate of how much you and your spouse are likely to spend on your children if you stay married. Whatever amount the court arrives at is then divided between you and your spouse, based on your incomes. Once the estimate is arrived at, the court would refer to the child support guidelines. The amount determined under those guidelines is what the court is expected to order as child support. This is called the presumptive amount. In certain situations, the court is granted flexibility in setting the amount of child support. The court may set an amount that is either 5% higher or 5% lower than the presumptive amount. In rarer situations, the court may even set an amount much lower or higher than the presumptive amount. If the court decides to vary the amount by more than 5%, it is required to make a written finding, explaining why it feels that the amount determined under the guidelines is inappropriate.
Calculating Child Support In Florida
There are three basic steps that the court follows in calculating the appropriate amount of child support. The first step is the completion of financial affidavits. There are two types of affidavits. Form 902(b) is for annual gross income of less than $50,000 while Form 902(c) is for annual gross income of more than $50,000. Once the affidavits are completed, they are filed with the court and a copy is sent to the other spouse. Each form contains what sort of income must be included in the affidavits and what deductions may be claimed. Sources of income include disability benefits, salaries or wages, workers’ compensation benefits and bonuses. Deductions include taxes, mandatory union dues and health insurance payments. The second step involves determining how much child support is to be paid based on the guidelines. This amount would depend on both the net income of you and your spouse and the number of children you have. The third step involves splitting up the determined amount between you and your spouse. This would be achieved by taking each of your incomes, dividing it by the net total and multiplying it by the child support obligation determined from the guidelines.
Contact An Orlando Child Support Lawyer
Litigating child support can be extremely difficult. It is important to have experienced legal representation by your side, helping you reach the best potential outcome for your case. Attorney Chad Frost represents clients in divorce, child support, child custody, and many other family law matters. Contact Frost Law today at (407) 670-5569 for a free consultation and review of your case.