How to Determine the Amount of Child Support in Florida

Child support is court-ordered obligation of the financial support for the care, maintenance, training, and education of a child. See Florida child support law 39.01. Child support is the responsibility of every parent, regardless of whether the two parents are married, divorced, or never married. If the two parents cannot agree on how to determine the amount of child support a Florida family law judge will step in and decide the outcome. Florida courts will defer to the Florida Child Support Guidelines when deciding the amount of child support to be paid. For information on how to determine the amount of child support contact a family law attorney in Tampa.

How to Determine the amount of Child Support Under Florida’s Child Support Guidelines

The Guidelines outline how much child support is required based on the parents’ net income and number of children involved. The amount and duration of the child support payments will vary based on the individual circumcises of each case. This article is a general description of how to determine the amount of child support in Florida, for information about your specific case seek the advice of a family law firm in Tampa.

The amount of the payments must be in accordance with Florida child support law and the Florida Child Support Guidelines. The main factors determining  the amount of support to be paid are the combined monthly incomes of both parents and the number children they share together. The amount of overnight stays each parent has with the children will also impact amount of child support required. Additional factors such as the medical, dental, psychological, and educational needs of the child will also be considered.

How to Determine the amount of Child Support With Shared Custody

In child support cases involving joint custody (shared parental responsibility), the court will typically apply a four step analysis when deciding how to determine the amount of child support. The first step is to calculate the total amount of child support required by reviewing the Guidelines. Next, the court will determine each parent’s share under the Guidelines. Each parent’s share of the child support is determined by dividing the net monthly of each parent by the combined net monthly of both parents. Next, the court will determine the amount of time each parent has custody of the child in the form of a percentage. For instance, if the parents have 50/50 custody their individual responsibility will each be 50%.

The next step in how to determine the amount of child support will be to review the Child Support Guidelines to determine each parent’s share of the support. The court will proportion the total child support on the percentage of time each parent has custody of the child. See Jaworski v. Jaworski. Calculating the amount of child support in Florida can be difficult, consider retaining a Tampa family law attorney for assistance.

If the combined monthly net income exceeds the $10,000 listed in the Guidelines additional calculations will be needed. The amount in excess of $10,000 will be calculated by the applicable percentage based on the number of children and amount of income in excess $10,000. See Florida child support law 61.30. For more information on cases where the net monthly income exceeds $10,000 contact a family law attorney in Tampa.

How to Deviate from the Florida Child Support Guidelines

Most often, the judge will follow the Florida Child Support Guidelines when deciding how to determine the amount of child support. However, the court does have discretion to deviate from the guidelines when deciding how to determine the amount of support. Regardless, child support will need to be reasonable and not require a parent to pay more than they can afford. See Marsh v. Marsh. When deciding whether or not to deviate from the Guidelines, the court will consider all relevant factors. These factors include but are not limited to: the needs of the child, standard of living, each parent’s age, and the financial status of each parent. See Finley v. Scott. If the Court deviates from the Child Support Guidelines by more than 5% a written explanation will be required

Under Florida child support law, parents are not able to waive child support obligations. Parents of a minor child have a legal and moral duty to support and maintain their child. See Martland v. Arabia. Parents are allowed to stipulate and agree to the amount of child support. However, the amount of support must be in the best interests of the child.  Agreements on child support are subject to approval by a Florida family law court. The agreements will only be approved if the agreement provides for the proper care and maintenance of the child. See Wendel v. Wendel. Therefore, if you are interested in reaching an agreement as to the amount of child support you should consult with a child support lawyer before entering into any such agreement.

Tampa Family Law Firm

If you are contemplating filing for divorce or need assistance with child support contact Florida Law Advisers, P.A. to speak with a family law attorney in Tampa. The family law attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. have years of experience helping clients in the Tampa Bay area resolve their child support disputes. Our professional legal team is passionate about these matters and will work diligently to fight for what is fair. Whether a couple mutually agrees to the terms of a divorce or are engaged in a fierce battle for their property and child custody rights Florida Law Advisers can help. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Florida family law attorney at our firm.

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