The following is a summary of Florida child support laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Florida Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Calculating Child Support in Florida.

Child support is calculated using Florida Statute 61.30. First, each parent’s net income is determined. “Net income” is defined as “gross income” minus “allowable deductions”.

Gross income” includes the following:

  • Salary or wages.
  • Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.
  • Business income from sources such as self-employment, partnership, close corporations, and independent contracts. “Business income” means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.
  • Disability benefits.
  • All workers’ compensation benefits and settlements.
  • Unemployment compensation.
  • Pension, retirement, or annuity payments.
  • Social security benefits.
  • Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in the marriage before the court.
  • Interest and dividends.
  • Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income.
  • Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.
  • Reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses.
  • Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the gain is nonrecurring.

Allowable deductions” from gross income include:

  • Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax liabilities.
  • Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax.
  • Mandatory union dues.
  • Mandatory retirement payments.
  • Health insurance payments, excluding payments for coverage of the minor child.
  • Court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid.
  • Spousal support paid pursuant to a court order from a previous marriage or the marriage before the court.

Both parents’ net incomes are added together, and the basic child support obligation is determined using the chart found in the Florida Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. Find the combined net monthly income of the parents and go across the column to find the number of minor, dependent children to find the basic child support obligation.

Florida Child Support Laws Regarding Child Care and Health Insurance.

The amount paid for health insurance premiums for the child, as well as day care or child care costs incurred because of work or school can then be added to the minimum child support obligation.

Deviation from the Child Support Guidelines.

The Florida Child Support Guidelines are considered to be correct in all cases. However, the court may adjust the minimum child support award according to Florida law, or may adjust either or both parents’ share of the minimum child support award, based on the following considerations:

  1. Extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses.
  2. Independent income of the child, not to include moneys received by a child from supplemental security income.
  3. The payment of support for a parent which regularly has been paid and for which there is a demonstrated need.
  4. Seasonal variations in one or both parents income or expenses.
  5. The age of the child, taking into consideration the greater needs of older children.
  6. Special needs, such as costs that may be associated with the disability of a child, that have traditionally been met within the family budget even though the fulfilling of those needs will cause the support to exceed the proposed guidelines.
  7. Total available assets of the obligee, obligor, and the child.
  8. The impact of the Internal Revenue Service dependency exemption and waiver of that exemption. The court may order the primary residential (custodial) parent to execute a waiver of the Internal Revenue Service dependency exemption if the non-custodial parent is current in child support payments.
  9. When calculation of the child support guidelines requires a person to pay another person more than 55% of his or her gross income for a current child support obligation resulting from a single support order.
  10. The particular shared parental arrangement, such as where the child spends a significant amount of time, but less than 40 percent of the overnights, with the non-custodial parent, thereby reducing the financial expenditures incurred by the primary residential parent; or the refusal of the non-custodial parent to become involved in the activities of the child.
  11. Any other adjustment which is needed to achieve an equitable result which may include, but not be limited to, a reasonable and necessary existing expense or debt which the parties jointly incurred during the marriage.

For incomes falling below the child support guidelines, a calculation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

-From 61.30(11)(a) of the Florida Statutes.

Florida Child Support Laws and Higher Education Expenses

“Absent a finding of physical or mental deficiencies, there is no legal duty to pay child support beyond the age of eighteen. Even though most parents willingly assist their adult children in obtaining a higher education, any duty to do so is a moral rather than a legal one, absent either a finding of legal dependence or a binding contractual agreement by the parent to pay such support.”

- From Carlton v. Carlton, CASE NO. 2D01-893, COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, SECOND DISTRICT, May 17, 2002.

Links:

Florida Child Support Enforcement Program

Florida Child Support Calculator

 

This information has been summarized from the Florida statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Florida divorce statutes online here: Florida Divorce Laws.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GENERAL CHILD SUPPORT LAWS.

GO TO ANOTHER DIVORCE ARTICLE.

 

IMPORTANT: Help Yourself Divorce is a paralegal service, not a law firm. Please don’t rely on this information for legal advice. Seek help from an attorney if you need legal advice.

 

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