Child support is governed by the Florida Child Support Guidelines. It is one of the only areas where the parties have minimal discretion in setting the amount of support. While there are ways to deviate from the guidelines, the Courts scrutinize child support carefully as it is the child that is entitled to the support, not the parent. The Court will not allow the parties to completely waive child support. Thus, the key is to ensure the proper information is used to calculate support and if there is a basis to deviate it is done appropriately.
Information Necessary to Determine Child Support:
Number of children
Net income of both parties
The timesharing schedule
Child care expenses necessary for employment
The portion of the health insurance cost that is solely related to the children. The employer of the spouse paying this expense will be able to give you a breakdown to determine this amount.
How are These Factors Used in Calculating Support?
Child support can be one of the easiest or the most complicated issues in your case. If both parties are strict W-2 employees with no significant overtime or bonuses and the timesharing schedule is set, child support is a simple calculation. However, while the calculation is simple it can be complicated when determining the information for the calculations is not so straight forward.
One of the most disputed issues when calculating child support is the income of the parties and can be complicated by the following factors:
If one or both of the parties is self employed and/or is a partner in a business
One of the parties is underemployed
One of the parties receives is compensated with stock options or other forms of deferred compensation
One of the parties receives income from a trust
One of the parties is supported by family members
One of the parties has assets and can earn investment income on those assets
Expenses for the Children in Addition to Support
In addition to the monthly support the Court will also order the parties to pay additional expenses for the child(ren). The Court will typically order both parties to contribute to the extracurricular and uncovered medical expenses related to the child(ren). If the children are in private school the Court may order one or both of the parties to pay these cost associated with private school if the appropriate request is made.
Please call us if you have any questions about any Child Support issue. Call us at 407-403-5990 or contact us (below) to schedule your appointment.