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How is Child Support Calculated?


After paternity is established or a divorce is finalized where a minor child is involved, child support is paid from one parent to the other for that child’s needs. Typically, the noncustodial parent pays the custodial parent child support in order to maintain a quality standard of living for the child. But how is child support calculated, and how do you know whether too much or too little is being paid in support? In Florida, child support calculations can be complicated, but a highly qualified family law attorney can help. Call the office or contact us today in Tampa to schedule an initial consultation of your case.

Child Support Guidelines

Child support in Florida is calculated based on guidelines provided in the state law. These are standards that the court uses to figure out the amount of support needed for a child and what the noncustodial parent needs to pay. Florida law allows a judge to deviate from the guidelines by five percent in either direction without explanation but can deviate by more than that amount with written explanation on why the amount is justified. The guidelines are based on many factors, including the needs of the child, age, station in life, standard of living, financial status of each parent, and the parent’s ability to pay. For example, a judge might deviate from the guidelines by more than five percent and award more child support if the child has expensive medical needs or require less payment if the noncustodial parent is unable to work due to disability.

Determining Monthly Income of the Parent

One of the most significant impacts on the amount of child support is the determination of the parent’s monthly net income. First, a parent’s gross monthly income is calculated by adding all potential sources of income. This includes salary or wages, bonuses, commissions, tips, overtime, business income, disability benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, pension or retirement funds, social security benefits, dividends, spousal support from a prior marriage, rental income, royalties, trust income, reimbursed expenses, and more.

Once the gross income is determined, allowable deductions are made to determine a parent’s net monthly income. These deductions include federal, state, and local income tax, federal insurance contributions, mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement payments, health insurance payments, court ordered support for other children that is actually paid, and payment of spousal support. A chart is then used with net monthly income and the number of children in need of support to determine the minimum amount of child support required by the guidelines every month. To learn more about how child support is calculated in Florida, talk to a knowledgeable family law attorney about your case today.

Talk to Our Office Now

Calculations for child support can be a complex determination, and our office can ensure that you are not receiving too little or paying too much in support to maintain the standard of living for your child. To schedule an initial consultation with Tampa child support lawyer, call or contact us today at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III.


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