Child Support in Florida is based on each parent's net income; day-care and health/dental/vision insurance costs for the child(ren), and the number of "overnights" each parent spends with the child(ren).
One way to figure child support, once you have these numbers, is to fill out the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet which guides you through the calculations - i.e. what to subtract, divide from what, etc. There are some child support calculators on-line if you search, which may make the right calculations. I and most attorneys use family law financial software to help make the calculations.
Conceptually it can be a little difficult, but for situations where both parents have at least 20% of the overnights with the child, child support is not calculated based on one parent being primary and the other parent paying child support. The child support worksheet instead arrives at a number for the total support costs for the child(ren); each parent is responsible for a share of that amount based on their net income and number of overnights they spend with the chid(ren); and the parent with the larger share pays child support to the other parent. Basically, the lower a parent's net income is compared to the other parent, and the more overnights he or she has, the more child support he or she will receive.
Some of the key issues that can arise are:
- how do you figure "net income" - there are rules regarding what is deducted from gross income in arriving at net income
- disputes over what a spouse earns or has the ability to earn, and whether a spouse is voluntarily unemployed or under-employed
- disputes over how much income a spouse has from a business
- responsibility to pay for private school and significant extra-curricular expenses
- who is responsible for travel costs if the parents don't live near each other and the child's school
- the logistics for parents sharing out of pocket medical expenses
- deviation from the guideline child support amount based on exceptional circumstances in the case
Unless the parents ask the Judge to order otherwise, child support will be deducted from the payor's paycheck if he or she is earning a salary, via what's called an Income Deduction Order, and paid through the State Disbursement Unit in Tallahassee, but the parents have some options here. Florida law now provides for automatic adjustment of child support as each child is no longer a minor, but this has to be included in the court order.
One additional issue, where there is Alimony, is that alimony affects net income and therefore child support.
Call me at (954) 636-7498, or use the contact form on the website, and we can discuss the Child Support issues in your case.