Divorce 101: How is Child Support Determined in Florida?

When parents go through a divorce, there are many things that need to be addressed. One of the most important points for both parents is determining what, if any, child support will be paid. The Florida courts take this very seriously, and use quite a bit of information to determine how to award this type of support. Knowing what the courts look at ahead of time can help you prepare for what you will see during your divorce or when engaging in a custody battle.

Income of Each Party

The first thing that is considered is the income of each party. Income can be in many forms, whether you receive a W-2, 1099, or business income. Alimony is considered income to the receiving spouse. There are also instances where consistent familial support or reductions in the cost of living can be considered income. The Court may take into consideration your skills, training, and/or educational background to determine whether you are under-employed. If the Court determines, based on evidence, that you or your spouse can be receiving a higher income, they will “impute” income based on the evidence that was presented.

Other Necessary Expenses

In addition to the income of each parent, the courts will also look at other necessary expenses for the raising of the children. For example, providing health insurance is often required by the courts. Also, child care and unreimbursed medical costs are often taken into child support calculations. The parent who is financially responsible for these items is provided a credit in the child support calculations for making necessary contributions to the child’s care and maintenance.

Parenting Time Schedule

In addition to financial considerations, the courts will look at how much time the children are spending with each parent. If one parent has the kids the vast majority of the time, they will be entitled to more child support, all other things being equal. The number of days the children spend with each parent will be added to the court’s worksheet to determine the total amount of support paid.

Other Considerations

The courts can, and often do, take into account other unique considerations based on your situation, such the child having special needs. In order to effectively convince the courts that a specific aspect of your situation should impact the child support payment, it is necessary to make a strong argument. Having an experienced family law attorney at your side can make all the difference in the world. Contact Annette Sanchez to discuss your options and get the representation you need.

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