If you are separating or divorcing from your partner and you share children, it’s important to understand what to expect when the topic of child support arises.
Florida follows the “Income Share Model” that requires both parents to financially support their children. Courts estimate the amount parents would spend on children if the family remained intact and living in one household, then divide this amount between the parents based on their incomes.
Except in rare cases, this leaves one parent owing child support payments to the other parent. Here’s how you can determine what you may pay toward child support in the future.
Step 1: Calculate Net Income.
The first step in child support calculations is stating your net income. Subtract your healthcare premiums and taxes from your monthly gross income to find this figure.
Now, add your income and the other parent’s net incomes together to determine your family’s combined available income. This figure will be used as a basis for the standard of living your children must maintain.
Step 2: Calculate Percentages of Financial Responsibility.
Divide your net income by the combined available income. Multiply by 100 to get the percentage of your financial responsibility.
For example, the net monthly income of you and the other parent combined is $6,400. Your net income is $4,000. You divide $4,000 by $6,400 and get the result of .625, then multiply by 100 for your total financial responsibility of 62.5%. This means the other parent is financially responsible for 37.5% percent.
Step 3: Determine Basic Monthly Obligation.
Florida uses a Child Support Guideline Chart to determine how much child support is needed based on income and family size. Using the example above, parents with a combined monthly income of $6,400 are mutually responsible for $1160 in child support if they share one child, $1803 in child support if they share two children, $2258 in child support if they share three children, and so on.
Using the example above, if you share two children with the other parent and your financial responsibility is 62.5%, you’d pay 62.5% of $1803 each month ($1126.87).
Step 4: Adjust Monthly Obligation for Time-Sharing.
If you and the other parent are not splitting child custody equally, then the amounts determined above must be adjusted for time sharing.
Multiply your percentage of responsibility by the other parent’s time sharing percentage. For example, if the other parent keeps your children 70% of the time, you multiple $1126.87 x .7. This comes out to $788.81.
Get Help With Child Support in Florida
Florida strictly enforces its child support laws. If you have questions about child support, contact an attorney who has the experience and compassion to advocate on your behalf during this difficult transition.
For a consultation with a family lawyer in Tampa, Tampa Bay, or Hillsborough County, Florida, contact the Caveda Law Firm at (813) 463-0800. We are ready to help.