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How Much is Child Support in Florida? The Florida Child Support Guidelines

How Much is Child Support in Florida? The Florida Child Support Guidelines

If you’re going through a divorce or separation in Florida and have children, one of the most significant concerns is how to calculate child support. Therefore “How much is child support in Florida?” is a question our family law experts hear from our clients on a regular basis. Understandable as this particular FAQ is – the response is not quite that simple.

father and child - how much is child support in Florida

Factors Considered in Calculating Child Support

The amount of child support that a parent pays or receives in Florida is determined by several factors, including:

  • the child’s needs
  • the parents’ income
  • and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.

The court also considers

  • the child’s healthcare and educational expenses
  • as well as any other special needs.

Florida Courts use the so-called “Income Shares Model” to determine the amount of child support that one (or each) parent will pay. This model is based on Florida Statute Section 61.30. This statute sets out the guidelines for determining child support amounts in Florida, including the factors that are considered in determining the amount of child support to be paid.

It considers both parents’ incomes. It also estimates the amount each parent would contribute to the child’s support if the parents were still living together. The goal is to ensure that the child receives the same level of financial support that they would have received if the parents were still together.

Understanding the Florida Child Support Guidelines

The Florida Child Support Guidelines are a set of rules and regulations. They govern how child support is calculated in Florida. The guidelines take into account

  • each parent’s net income
  • the number of children involved
  • and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.

The guidelines provide a formula to calculate child support based on

  • the parents’ combined income
  • and the number of children involved.

This formula provides a starting point for the court to determine the appropriate amount of child support. However, the court may deviate from the guidelines if there are compelling reasons to do so.

The guidelines also provide a table that shows the amount of child support that would be awarded for different levels of combined income and the number of children involved. The table is used as a reference point to determine the minimum amount of child support that should be paid.

Calculating Child Support Using the Income Shares Model

The Income Shares Model is the method that Florida courts use to calculate child support. This model takes into account both parents’ incomes and estimates the amount each parent would contribute to the child’s support if the parents were still living together.

  1. For the calculation of child support via this model, the court first determines each parent’s gross income. The next step is making various deductions to arrive at each parent’s net income, such as:
    • taxes
    • Social Security
    • and Medicare
  2. The next step is the addition of both parents’ net incomes to arrive at the total combined income. 
  3. Using the table in the Income Shares Model, the court can now look up the amount of child support that should be paid based on the number of children involved and the combined income.
  4. Now the court allocates the total amount of child support between the parents based on their individual incomes. Typically, the parent with the higher income will pay a larger percentage of the child support.

Deviation from the Child Support Guidelines

The Florida Child Support Guidelines provide a formula for calculating child support. However, the court has the option to deviate from the guidelines if there are compelling reasons to do so. The court may consider the following factors when determining whether to deviate from the guidelines:

Potential special needs of the child/children, including special medical or educational needs

  • Standard of living the child(ren) would have enjoyed if the parents had not divorced
  • Age and health of the child(ren) and the parents
  • Shared parental responsibility or equal time-sharing of the child(ren)
  • High income of the parents that exceeds the amount contemplated in the guidelines
  • Other relevant factors

Modification of Child Support Orders

Even a court’s child support orders are not set in stone. There are options of modification if there is a significant change in circumstances. One example is, if one parent loses their job or the child’s/children’s needs change. Then it may be necessary to modify the child support order.

In such a case, a parent can request a modification of the child support order by filing a petition with the court. The court will review the petition and may hold a hearing to determine whether a modification is warranted.

So, how much is Child Support in Florida? A Conclusion 

As you can see, the determination of how much child support in Florida is can be a rather complex process. That’s why it is so important to have a trusted and competent family law attorney by your side to guide you through all of it. Contact the experts of Butash Law Group to schedule a free consultation!

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