Whether you are in the midst of divorce or were never married, Florida state law controls how child support works in Naples, Florida.  Florida Statute Section 61.13(1) allows the court to enter child support orders and provides some guidelines of what child support orders must include.

The statue immediately instructs that the courts have the power to award child support in an amount pursuant to guidelines in Florida Statute Section 61.30.

“The guidelines” are essentially the chart in this form. Take a moment to figure out your monthly gross income and the gross income of your spouse/parent of your children and see what the maximum child support would be.   This is not the support number, yet. This is what the state of Florida thinks it costs to raise one to six children at your combined incomes.

“Each parent’s percentage share of the child support need shall be determined by dividing each parent’s net monthly income by the combined net monthly income.” Fla. Stat. Sec. 61.30(9)

Then, if one parent has less than 20% of the overnights that percentage will be the amount of child support the non-custodial parent will have to pay in child support.  Keep in mind that 20% of all nights in a year is 73 nights.  Every other weekend is just 52 overnights a year.  Every other weekend and two weeks in the summer time is just 66 nights.  Every other weekend, two weeks in the summer time, and half of Christmas break is finally 73 nights.

So now we’ve established the maximum child support possibly owed.  Whether you’re paying or receiving child support you need to be familiar with how this proposed maximum child support may be reduced.

Here’s how the support may be reduced:

Determine net income

The chart actually uses net income as the input for income.

(3) Net income is obtained by subtracting allowable deductions from gross income. Allowable deductions shall include:

(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.” Fla. Stat. Sec. 61.30(3)

Deductions for child care and health care. 

Then support may be reduced by child care and/or children’s health care expenses borne by either party.

“(7) Child care costs incurred due to employment, job search, or education calculated to result in employment or to enhance income of current employment of either parent shall be added to the basic obligation. After the child care costs are added, any moneys prepaid by a parent for child care costs for the child or children of this action shall be deducted from that parent’s child support obligation for that child or those children. Child care costs may not exceed the level required to provide quality care from a licensed source.

(8) Health insurance costs resulting from coverage ordered pursuant to s. 61.13(1)(b), and any noncovered medical, dental, and prescription medication expenses of the child, shall be added to the basic obligation unless these expenses have been ordered to be separately paid on a percentage basis. After the health insurance costs are added to the basic obligation, any moneys prepaid by a parent for health-related costs for the child or children of this action shall be deducted from that parent’s child support obligation for that child or those children.” Fla. Stat. Sec. 61.30(7) and Fla. Stat. Sec. 61.30(8)

So, child care and day care get added into the total obligation and then whoever is paying those, it’s assumed that their contribution to child support is satisfied up to that amount.

Is this complicated enough for you?   You bet it is.  You can see how these complicating factors encourage settlement between the parties instead of doing the full formula down to the last penny.

Deductions because of increased parenting time

Parenting time can reduce child support with its own complicated formula.

Step 1: Take the total child support obligation from form 902e.  Multiply your share by 1.5.

Step 2: Calculate the percentage of nights the child stays with each parent.

Step 3: Multiply each percentage by the total child support obligation.

Step 4: Take the bigger number and subtract the smaller number from Step 3.  That’s the child support obligation of the parent who has the child for less nights.

The court may deviate from any of these above calculations so long as it can articulate the reason for doing so.

The child support is not written in stone and can be changed if any of the above factors (almost always income) subsequently change.

In addition to child support there are expenses that can effect/offset child support.

Finally, no child support order will be entered without also entering the day child support ends (the child turns 18), the current parenting schedule and what health insurance the child will be under.  Fla. Stat. Sec. 61.13(1)(a)(1) 

If you have to pay or are owed child support and would like to learn more about this obligation contact my Naples, Florida family law office for a free consultation.