How Does Child Support Work in Florida?

child support lawyerIf a couple has children, the Florida courts will ensure that their financial needs are met to the best of the parents’ abilities. Child support pays for things like food, health care, and shelter. You might be wondering about how child support is determined in Florida. This article provides a brief overview of what to expect. If you are looking for an experienced child support attorney in Jacksonville, call Parker & DuFresne today to set up a free consultation.

An Overview of Child Support in Florida

Raising children is expensive. When funds are coming from just one parent, the financial burden can be unbearable at times. Fortunately, in Florida, both parents are obligated to support their child financially. The “Income Shares Model” is used when calculating how much each parent pays in child support. This model is based on how the finances work in an intact household, where the parents money is pooled. The court uses a set of guidelines to determine how much of that money would be spent on supporting the child.

Both parents should discuss finances in the case of a divorce. Mediation with the help of a child support attorney in Jacksonville can help facilitate these conversations. In many families, one person primarily deals with the finances. This can be problematic during a divorce. A calm, rational conversation about division of assets is beneficial for everyone involved.

The Child Support Calculation Process

When calculating child support, the first thing the court requires is a financial affidavit from both parties. These come in two forms:

  •     Form 902(b) for couples with a gross income less than $50,000 a year
  •     Form 902(c) for couples with a gross income of $50,000 or more a year

These forms state the gross income each parent earns. From that gross amount, some expenses will be deducted, including income tax payments, certain health insurance premiums, and mandatory union dues among others. The court then uses the Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount that would be spent on the child if the parents were together. That amount is then divided between the parents based on how much income they make.

In simple terms, imagine the custodial parents makes $1,200 per month, and the non-custodial parent makes $1,800 per month. In this case, the custodial parent would owe 40%, and the non-custodial parent would owe 60%.

Other expenses, including education and child care, are also divided according to the amount earned by each parent. Sometimes it can be better for one parent to pay a certain portion of these expenses. These arrangements can be agreed upon with court approval.

Modifications and Child Support’s Effects on Taxes

Unlike alimony, child support is not taxed as income or tax deductible. It used to be possible to pay higher alimony to pay less child support. However, new laws make this more difficult. Once a child support agreement is made, it can only be adjusted if there is a substantial change in circumstance. Some examples of substantial changes in circumstance are loss of a job or a significant raise.

Visit a Child Support Attorney in Jacksonville

If you are going through a divorce and have children, come to Parker & DuFresne. We have decades of experience helping the people of Jacksonville with their cases. Contact us or visit our office today for a free consultation.