Establishment of Child Support in Florida
By Michael J. Costantino, Esq.
Factors in Establishment of Child Support in Florida
The establishment of child support in Florida if found in Florida Statute 61.30. This statute directs us how to determine the proper amount of child support to be awarded. Child support should not be confused with Alimony which is support from one spouse to the other. There are many Child Support Calculators on the internet that you may access to determine support. However, an experienced divorce attorney should have a commercial child support calculator that can take into consideration many variations.
I like to say there a five basic elements to child support. These are your income, the other parent’s income, the cost of daycare for the child, the cost of health insurance for the child, and the amount of overnights the child or children spend with each parent. These are basic factors. As you can see there can be many other factors that may fall under these categories and others that do not, but this information is the foundation for any support calculation.
The better support calculators will ask for a Gross Income and convert Gross Income to a Net Income for determining support. Net Incomes as reported by parties are generally lower than they should be as most be tend to have more taxes removed from their paycheck as possible. There is a difference between the actual amount you have to pay in taxes and what you ask your employer to pull from your check. Additionally, there are deductions from a person’s gross pay that may not be an allowable deduction for support purposes. If you want to give to charity or pay for life insurance, great. However, these are not allowable deductions from your gross pay.
Yes overtime is counted. We tend to look at your employment history. Yes we understand that it is not always guaranteed. However, unless you plan on bringing your employer to court to testify as to why you will no longer receive overtime, I would not try to argue this point.
The child’s younger years are the more expensive. For the average American, the childcare cost for a toddler are very expensive. These costs are put directly into the calculation and then one person will be directed to pay the daycare costs. Should the daycare cease then perhaps you should consider a modification of support.