Divorce is full of emotional and financial challenges, one of which is child support. The obligor does not want to have to give more than he or she can afford, and the obligee does not want to receive less than he or she needs for the children. It is a complex matter that often leaves one or both parties feeling displeased.
What can help the process go more smoothly and cooperatively is understanding how child support works in Florida. This can give you an idea of who will have to pay and where the payment amount comes from.
Determining who is responsible for child support
While tradition may show that fathers pay child support, that is not a guarantee. The most influential determining factor is total income from all sources, and even then, one spouse making more than the other does not automatically make the higher earner responsible for child support. The number that matters is net income, which can decrease due to the following deductions:
- Tax deductions
- Health insurance (minus coverage for children)
- Required retirement payments
- Union dues
- Alimony and child support from previous relationships
The amount of time children spend with each parent (overnight) also plays a role, with the parent who has less time being likelier to pay. In the case of 50/50 custody, child support is usually still applicable and based on parental income.
Calculating the child support payment
To formulate the amount, the court combines each parent's net income. A chart then shows the minimum payment amount to use in the final calculation based on the combined net income and the number of children involved. If income is below or above the guidelines on the chart, the court will lower or raise the amount, respectively. The court may also lower or raise the payment under other circumstances, such as for children who have special needs or parents whose income changes seasonally. Modifications may be possible later on if significant changes in income or needs occur.