Florida Child Support: How is it Calculated and Who Pays?

Aside from providing love and regular attention after a divorce or paternity case, parents have no higher obligation than to provide financially for their children after the divorce. Child Support is more important than any other debt or financial obligation, but most people do not know what level of support will be required. But the payment of Child Support also the one of most contentious issues in Divorce and Paternity cases.

When dealing with Florida child support issues, you are always better off having an experienced attorney to help you with this issue. You will want to be sure you get as much “credit” as possible in the calculations. But there are also some things you need to know about how child support is calculated in Florida, and more specifically about the Florida child support laws. While many people don’t realize it, Florida child support numbers are fairly fixed, it is a straight mathematical calculation that does not take into account many of the parent’s actual expenses.

The Florida Statute that governs child support is Florida Statute 61.30. Florida Child Support laws look at only a few factors when calculating child support. They are as follows: The child support laws of most states look at only a few factors, and you may find that your Florida child support award takes into account only:

  • How much you earn (before taxes)
  • How much the other parent earns (before taxes)
  • How many children you have; and
  • What percentage of time the children are under each parent have with the children.

The single biggest factor that effects child support is the last one: the amount of time-sharing with the children. Time-sharing is based on “overnights” with the children. If one parent has more than 147 overnights per year, the amount of child support is substantially reduced. I have heard people say that they want “joint custody” or “equal time sharing” to avoid paying child support. But that notion is not entirely correct. Even with an “equal time sharing arrangement,” if one parent earns substantially more money, there could still be a child support obligation from one parent to the other. Extra time-sharing should not be about saving money on child support, it should be about spending extra time with the child.

Aside from time-sharing there are some other things that are considered in the child support calculation: mandatory union dues, health insurance for you, who pays for health insurance for the children, and daycare expenses. Sometimes, although not often, a court will consider expenses which it may consider extraordinary, however that is the exception, not the rule.

Things are that are NOT taken into account is how much rent you pay, how much your mortgage is, or what your other living expenses are. If you decide to lease a very expensive car, the court is not going to consider that expense as an offset to child support. They really only care about income, number of children, and the time the children are with each parent.

If you are involved in Child Support issues either with Divorce, Paternity, or Department of Revenue (DOR), we can help guide you through the difficult financial and emotional aspects of the process. We can give you information about your legal rights and options. Please visit our website or call the office to schedule your initial consultation.