Child Support

Child Support

One of the most critical responsibilities you have regarding your children is the obligation to support them financially. The law is clear: child support is more important than any other debt or financial obligation. Florida has adopted guidelines for child support that the court is required to follow. Under these guidelines, BOTH parents are required to support the children. Although one parent may be giving money directly to the other, this does not mean the receiving parent is not also contributing to the financial support of the children. The amount of support paid will be determined based upon BOTH parents' incomes and the needs of your children under the guidelines established by the State of Florida. When a parent is not working or is working under their earning capacity, additional income may be imputed to them for the purpose of calculating child support. Other important factors are also considered such as medical insurance and uninsured medical expenses; day, after school and summer care necessary due to parents' employment; and the court may even order payment of child support which varies, plus or minus 5 percent, from the guideline amount, after considering all relevant factors, including the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, standard of living and the financial status and ability of each parent.

For the purposes of calculating child support in Florida a parent's income includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  1. Salary or wages.
  2. Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.
  3. Business income from sources such as self-employment, partnership, closed corporations, and independent contracts. "Business income" means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.
  4. Disability benefits.
  5. All workers' compensation benefits and settlements.
  6. Unemployment compensation.
  7. Pension, retirement, or annuity payments.
  8. Social security benefits.
  9. Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in the marriage before the court.
  10. Interest and dividends.
  11. Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income.
  12. Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.
  13. Reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses.
  14. Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the gain is nonrecurring.

See the following resources:

Mandatory Financial Affidavits

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet

Further: income on a monthly basis will be imputed to an unemployed or underemployed parent when such employment or underemployment is found to be voluntary on that parent's part, absent physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances over which the parent has no control. In the event of such voluntary unemployment or underemployment, the employment potential and probable earnings level of the parent shall be determined based upon his or her recent work history, occupational qualifications and prevailing earnings level in the community; however, the court may refuse to impute income to a primary residential parent if the court finds it necessary for the parent to stay home with the child.