Florida Child Support Calculations

In Florida, child support is a parent's legal obligation to provide for their child financially until the child reaches the age of majority (18). Florida follows an "income shares" model to calculate child support which means that the combined income of both parents is the determining factor for the amount of support.

The "income shares" model is based on the concept that a child is entitled to receive the same proportion of parental income that they would've received had the parents remained together. This model also factors child support based on the number of children involved. Expenses such as taxes and health care are used in the calculations, but household expenses generally aren't used to reduce the support amount.

Florida Child Support Calculations at a Glance

Analyzing the exact meaning of the law in any statute is best left to a trained attorney, but a basic and concise explanation of the law is extremely helpful to us all. See the chart below for a plain English summary of the law that relates to Florida's child support calculations.

Statute

  • Florida Civil Practice and Procedure 61.30

Sources of Income

Both parents must complete and file financial affidavits that describe their income and expenses. Gross income includes, but isn't limited to, the following:

  • Salary or wages;
  • Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime tips, and; other similar payments;
  • Business income from self-employment, partnerships; close corporations, and/or independent contracts;
  • Disability benefits;
  • All worker's compensation benefits and settlements;
  • Pension, retirement, or annuity payments;
  • Social security benefits;
  • Spousal support;
  • Rental income;
  • Interest and dividends
  • Royalties, trusts, or estates income; and
  • Gains from property dealings.

Imputed Income

Florida courts have the discretion to impute income to an unemployed or underemployed parent who purposefully tries to work part-time in an attempt to reduce their child support payments. Before the court can do this, it must have specific evidence that the parent's underemployment or employment is voluntary and not due to other factors such as employer-dictated work hours. Additionally, a court can also impute a party who hasn't completed and filed a financial affidavit.

Deductions

Once the gross income is established, each parent can deduct specific expenses in order to reduce the amount of income that can be used to calculate the child support amount. Permitted deductions include the following:

  • Federal, state and local income taxes
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Health insurance payments (excluding payments for coverage of the minor child)
  • Court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid
  • Spousal support

Other Expenses

Beyond the everyday household costs such as food, clothing, and basic living expenses, there are other expenses implicated during the calculation of child support. This includes:

  • Health care costs (premiums and deductibles);
  • Educational expenses; and
  • Child care costs.

These other expenses are also split between the parents with each parent responsible for their own share.

Guidelines Worksheet

  • After the net income is determined for both parents, the figures are added together. Then the court refers to the child support guidelines which establish a chart detailing the child support award in relation to the parents' income and the number of children.
  • Each parent's net income is then divided by the combined total net income and then the result is multiplied by the child support award that was obtained by the chart.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Florida Child Support Calculations: Related Resources

Discuss Child Support Calculations with a Florida Attorney

Florida's child support calculations involve a lot more than applying numbers and figures. The child support order has a lasting impact on you and your child's lives. If you're dealing with child support issues, then consider discussing your case with a skilled child support attorney who understands the law and can give you the benefit of their experience. Locate one today with FindLaw's attorney directory.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.