Child Support in Florida is based on the combined income of the parents of the child. It is surprising to some people that Florida courts do not, except in rare cases, make adjustments to this Guideline Support based upon either parent’s other debts and obligations. Adjustments to child support, however, are made based upon the amount of time each parent spends with the child and the guidelines now include a modified calculation for shared support if children spend more than 20% of the overnights of the year at the home of the parent who is not the Majority parent. Child support is calculated via a statutory formula set forth in Chapter 61, F.S. and is referred to as the “Florida Child Support Guidelines” Basically, the net income of the parties is combined and the base child support amount is already prefigured on a chart prepared by the legislature and incorporated into the statute. Daycare and health insurance premiums are added to the base child support and the parties divide the total child support obligation according to the percentage of the total income amount earned by each party. As a general principle, the court does not take into account the expenses of the parties, but instead looks at child support as the first and most important financial obligation.
In some cases, child support according to the Florida Guidelines may be increased or decreased by the Court. This increase or decrease is referred to as a deviation and requires that the party seeking the deviation provide evidence and justification for it.
Child support is a complicated area of the law and the guidelines have significantly changed since 2010. You should always consult with an attorney to determine how the new laws apply to your case—whether you are in need of a modification of support or determining the appropriate child support amount in a new case.