In Florida, child support is a must as long as there are minor children involved in the divorce. Child support pays for the essential needs of the children in the aftermath of a divorce, including food, water, shelter, and electricity, among other things. It is typically awarded to the parent that has primary custody of the children. If you are wondering how much you will have to pay for the upkeep of your children, here are a few factors Florida courts consider when determining child support payments.
The first step in determining child support payments is evaluating each parent’s income. Gross income includes wages and salaries, bonuses, overtime pay, commissions, income from corporations or partnerships, disability benefits, spousal support from another marriage, annuity payments, retirement, pension, social security benefits, rental income, etc. A monthly income may be imputed if one of the parents is unemployed or underemployed. After establishing the gross income of each parent, the court may allow for certain deductions such as:
2. Child’s standard of living before divorce
The courts also consider the type of life the child had prior to the divorce when determining child support payments. The idea is to ensure that the standard of living for the child is not significantly affected after the parents' separation.
3. The needs of the custodial parent
It is assumed that the parent with primary custody of the children will incur more expenses for their upbringing. If the other parent makes more money than the custodial parent, he or she may have to pay more to cover the necessary expenses.
4. Overnight visits
The number of overnight visits the child has with each parent will also come into play when determining child support payments. This is designed to account for the time each parent is financially responsible for the child. If, for instance, the non-custodial parent only sees the child once a week for an overnight stay, the court may deduce that the custodial parent bears most of the childcare responsibility and subsequently award them more child support payments.
How are child support payments calculated?
After arriving at the net income of both parents, the court factors in the number of children from the marriage. The court then uses the Child Support Guidelines to determine how much each parent should contribute from their net income. Adjustments can be made based on the number of overnight stays the child has with the non-custodial parent.
The most important consideration in any divorce is the children’s best interests. Regardless of the differences you may have with your ex-spouse, it is important to put everything aside when dealing with issues involving the kids. If you need a family law attorney to provide legal guidance in your case, feel free to contact us (305) 423-7065.