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Child Support

How are the Florida Courts calculating child support?

This is a frequent question by many parties, both those receiving, and those paying child support.  Calculating child support is based on Florida Statutes Chapter 61.30.  In determining a parties’ gross income, the Court looks at the following in terms of income (61.30(2)(a)):

(a) Gross income shall include, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Salary or wages.

2. Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.

3. Business income from sources such as self-employment, partnership, close corporations, and independent contracts. “Business income” means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.

4. Disability benefits.

5. All workers’ compensation benefits and settlements.

6. Reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation.

7. Pension, retirement, or annuity payments.

8. Social security benefits.

9. Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in the marriage before the court.

10. Interest and dividends.

11. Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income.

12. Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.

13. Reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses.

14. Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the gain is nonrecurring.

In determining what deductions a party can take from their gross income to get to a net income, the Court looks at the following (61.30(3)):

(a) Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filingChild Support 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.

For purposes of mandatory retirement payments, the Court can only consider what is required by the party’s employer to be deducted for retirement.  Any voluntary retirement payments made by a party are not used for reducing a party’s net income.

Additionally, any child support paid, pursuant to a court order, by a party for a child not involved in the instant case, is deductible from that party’s gross income.  For example: in a paternity action, an order is entered in 2010 requiring the father to pay child support in the amount of $500.00 per month, for child A.  The mother of child B brings a paternity action in 2012. In calculating the Father’s net income, the $500.00 per month paid for child A is deducted from the Father’s gross income. This is true even if child A is younger than child B.

For information on imputing income to a party who is not working or who is earning less income than they have historically earned or are capable of earning, see our previous blog on Imputation Of Income.

If you have any concerns or questions about how the courts are calculating child support or how it should be calculated, contact McNeal Legal for help.

Photos in this blog are courtesy of: pexels.com and wikimedia.org