People I work with every day, whether married or not, have a child that needs support and feel that they either cannot afford to pay it or feel that it is not enough.
I can only imagine how you must feel and wonder how big of a problem this might be for you.
Many of my clients have probably felt the same way you do right now.
What they have found in working with me is that it is not as complicated or as much of a mystery as they first thought. So let me share some information with you that will probably be helpful.
Florida Child Support Calculations
Florida has child support guidelines established by our elected legislators. The guidelines are based upon income, the number of children you have, and how many nights each child sleeps at your home or the other parent's home.
You should expect a child support amount for one child to be somewhere between 14% and 24% of your combined net income (your monthly net income plus the other parent's net income). If you have six children, you should expect child support to be somewhere between 27% and 37%. And if you have somewhere between one and six children, you should expect child support to be somewhere between 14% and 37%.
The following is a list of deductions you can get credit for from your gross income.
(a) Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax liabilities.
(b) Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax.
(c) Mandatory union dues.
(d) Mandatory retirement payments.
(e) Health insurance payments, excluding payments for coverage of the minor child.
(f) Court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid.
(g) Spousal support paid pursuant to a court order from a previous marriage or the marriage before the court.
You can also get deductions from your child support amount if you have prepaid child day care costs due to your job, a job search, or education that contributes to you getting employment or to increase your income at your current employer.
You might also get a deduction of your child support amount if you have prepaid for your child(ren)'s health insurance and noncovered medical, dental, and prescription medication expenses.
If your child(ren) receive social security benefits due to a parent's retirement or disability, you are entitled to credit those benefits paid directly to your child(ren) or a child's caregiver.
A judge might also adjust the child support amount based upon one or more of the following:
1. Extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses.
2. Independent income of the child, not to include moneys received by a child from supplemental security income.
3. The payment of support for a parent which has been regularly paid and for which there is a demonstrated need.
4. Seasonal variations in one or both parents' incomes or expenses.
5. The age of the child, taking into account the greater needs of older children.
6. Special needs, such as costs that may be associated with the disability of a child, that have traditionally been met within the family budget even though fulfilling those needs will cause the support to exceed the presumptive amount established by the guidelines.
7. Total available assets of the obligee, obligor, and the child.
8. The impact of the Internal Revenue Service Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and dependency exemption and waiver of that exemption. The court may order a parent to execute a waiver of the Internal Revenue Service dependency exemption if the paying parent is current in support payments.
9. An application of the child support guidelines schedule that requires a person to pay another person more than 55 percent of his or her gross income for a child support obligation for current support resulting from a single support order.
10. The particular parenting plan, a court-ordered time-sharing schedule, or a time-sharing arrangement exercised by agreement of the parties, such as where the child spends a significant amount of time, but less than 20 percent of the overnights, with one parent, thereby reducing the financial expenditures incurred by the other parent; or the refusal of a parent to become involved in the activities of the child.
11. Any other adjustment that is needed to achieve an equitable result which may include, but not be limited to, a reasonable and necessary existing expense or debt. Such expense or debt may include, but is not limited to, a reasonable and necessary expense or debt that the parties jointly incurred during the marriage.
Child support calculations can become overwhelming. It is not always a straightforward answer to a very straightforward question of "how much?"