Whether you're a potential payor or recipient in a child support dispute, understanding how Florida handles child support payments is essential if you want the best outcome in your case. Knowing how much you can expect to pay or receive in child support can help you budget accordingly and provide the best life for your child.
At Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa, Family Law Attorneys, we'll work with you to pursue an equitable outcome in your child support case.
What's the Point of Child Support?
During divorce-related child support disputes, the court has one overarching goal: Secure the child's best interests by ensuring they can maintain the same quality of life post-divorce they enjoyed when the parents were married.
In child support cases related to paternity court disputes, the court's objective remains to secure the child's best interests. However, they instead try and establish a higher quality of life for the child, based on the assumption both parents can now contribute to the child's well-being and financial stability.
How Much Child Support Will I Pay in Florida?
Florida courts use the combined monthly available income of both parents to calculate how much child support the noncustodial parent (the parent who the child doesn't live with) owes.
Click here to see the official child support guidelines laid out by Florida courts.
Pages 3-7 of the above document contain a spreadsheet with information about how much child support you can expect to pay, based on your combined monthly available income and the number of children you share with the other parent.
For example, according to the spreadsheet, we can see that if your combined monthly income is $5,000 per month, then you can expect to pay $1,000 in child support if you share a single child with the other parent, up to $2,551 per month for six children.
During child support cases, both parents must complete a financial affidavit disclosing their income so the court can obtain an accurate calculation.
Can the Amount of Child Support I Owe Be Different than the Guidelines Indicates?
In a word, yes. Courts typically consider the following factors during child support disputes:
- Whether the child has any special needs, such as requiring unique physical or mental care;
- Whether the custodial parent has any special needs;
- Whether either parent already has a previously existing child support arrangement;
- How the parents are paying for other expenses, such as healthcare insurance, dental insurance, childcare costs, educational fees, etc.;
- Whether either parent has any expenses they can deduct from the combined monthly available income before calculating support (in Florida, this includes health insurance premiums for the children, federal insurance payments, mandatory retirement payments, and more);
- The age of the children;
- Whether either parent receives extra money sporadically from other sources (for example, receiving an end-of-year bonus could impact how much child support you know);
- Whether the custodial parent lives with a new partner or takes on a new spouse (if another adult contributes to the child's care, the court may reduce the amount of child support the noncustodial parent owes).
If you have a child custody arrangement with your child's other parent, that could also impact your support case. For example, suppose you have an equal timeshare (joint custody) arrangement with the child's other parent. In that case, you may have to pay little or no child support since each parent spends the same amount of time (and therefore, roughly the same amount of expenses) on the child.
At Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa, Family Law Attorneys, we'll work with you to fight for your rights and pursue an equitable outcome in your child support dispute.