How Is Child Support Calculated in Florida

One of the most important aspects of parental separations in Florida is the child support. When two parents don't live together, it is important for both parents to be held financially responsible for the care of the child. In the state of Florida, child support is calculated based on the parents' incomes and the custody arrangement. The Florida Courts place a tremendous emphasis on the need for child support.

Income of Both Parents

The amount of money each parent makes plays a major role in the calculation of support. The goal of this calculation is to determine what percentage of responsibility each parent has in the financial upbringing of the child. However, a parent that makes more money than the other is not automatically responsible for paying child support. Other factors are taken into account as well. Under Florida statutes the definition of "income" is very broad and includes many different categories. The bottom line is that if money is coming in then it is considered income for child support purposes.

Certain Expenses

Other primary factors in calculating Florida child support include daycare costs and healthcare costs. For instance, if the parent who would typically be responsible for paying child support is paying for health insurance, this can reduce his monthly support obligation. The amount of money each parent pays toward daycare costs can also raise or lower the obligation for one parent or the other.

Amount of Time

Florida uses overnights to calculate child support obligations. In some cases, these overnights are calculated by counting the number of actual overnights each parent has during a given year. In other situations, the number of overnights will be an estimation. More overnights for one parent can increase the support obligation for the other.

Child Support Litigation

The different factors that affect the amount of child support have inadvertently caused frequent fights in the court system. When you have a system that increases or decreases support based on percentage of overnight stays, many parents endlessly battle over the amount of nights they receive. As for expenses, a frequent misconception is that high personal or household expenses factor into child support. Other than daycare, medical, and payroll taxes, expenses don't count in the equation.

Calculating child support in Florida is not always an easy process, but it is meant to be fair to the parents, as well as the children involved. Children should receive support from both their parents, financially, emotionally and physically. Support is meant to level the playing field financially and ensure children have exactly what they need, no matter who they are spending their time with.

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