In Florida, calculation of child support is based on several factors. First, the Court will look at the income of both the mother and the father. The court then applies these incomes towards the total number of children and comes up with a basic monthly obligation amount for the child or children. The parties are then required to contribute towards that amount based on a number of other factors, including:
1. Percent of Financial Responsibility - How much should each party contribute based upon the amount of income he or she makes. For example, if the Father has a net income of $1,000 per month, and the Mother has a net income of $2,000 per month, then the Father's percent of financial respinsibility is 33.33% and the Mother's percent of financial responsibility is 66.67% because the Father makes 1/3 of the combined total income and the Mother makes 2/3 of the combined total income.
Note: If one party has no income, or a low income, the Court may impute a higher income to him or her based upon his or her earning ability.
2. Child care expenses (day care, nanny, after school program, etc.) for the child(ren)
3. Health Insurance Costs for the child(ren)
4. The number of overnight visits each party exercises each year - once a party has over 20% of the visits in a year, he or she begins to see a decrease in child support based upon those visits. The more visits a party exercises, the lower his or her child support responsibility should be in theory.
Note: It is a common myth that if the parties exercise "50/50" timesharing there is no child support owed. This simply is not true. Guidelines must still be calculated even with 50/50 timesharing. To give a basic example: if the Father has a net monthly income of $1,500 and the Mother has a net monthly income of $4,000, with 50/50 timesharing the Mother would owe the Father approximately $364/month for one child.
It is also important to know that the Court cannot deviate from the child support guidelines more than 5% in favor of either party. In most cases, the Court will order support by the guidelines.
It is also important to understand that retroactive (back) support can be owed from up to two years prior to a party's request for child support. This means that if the parties separated in January 2012, but the Father filed for child support in July 2014, the Mother in the example above would owe back support in the amount of $364 for two years prior to filing, which would total an "arrears" balance of $8,736. The Court would likely order the Mother to repay that amount at 10 - 20 % of her total monthly obligation, which would mean that her $364 monthly payment would actually rise to somewhere between $400 and $436 per month until the arrears balance was paid in full.
If you have questions about how to calculate child support visit our website at www.TampaFamilyLawLawyer.com or call an attorney with our firm for a free, confidential consultation.