How is child support calculated in Florida?
Many individuals do not have a basic understanding as to how Florida courts calculate child support. The public policy of the State of Florida is that "each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child." § 61.29, Fla. Stat. The starting point for any Florida child support calculation is Section 61.30, Fla. Stat., which codifies Florida's child support guidelines. "The child support guideline amount as determined by this section presumptively establishes the amount the trier of fact shall order as child support in an initial proceeding for such support or in a proceeding for modification of an existing order for such support . . . ." § 61.30, Fla. Stat.
The child support guidelines calculate the total amount of financial support that a child should have, based upon the parents' combined net monthly incomes, as if the parents still resided together in an intact household. § 61.29, Fla. Stat. That total monthly support amount is then apportioned between the parents. Generally, if a party has "substantial" time-sharing with a child, as that party's percentage of the total yearly overnight time-sharing increases, the party's share of the overall child support obligation decreases. The child support guidelines apply to temporary support orders as well as final orders. Migliore v. Migliore, 792 So. 2d 1276 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001). The parties utilize discovery processes and procedures, including the financial affidavit and mandatory disclosure requirements of Fla. Fam. Law R. P. 12.285, to ensure that accurate incomes are utilized in the child support guidelines. More, if a party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, income can be imputed to that party.
After establishing a presumptive child support amount pursuant to the child support guidelines, a court can deviate plus or minus 5% from the child support guideline amount without written findings, after considering "all relevant factors, including the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent." Section 61.30, Fla. Stat. If the Court is to deviate more than 5% from the child support guidelines, the deviation must be expressly justified through written findings "explaining why ordering payment of such guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate." A contract by the parties to waive or improperly reduce child support may be void, as against public policy, and a Court is not required to enforce it, because child support is the right of the child.
If you need assistance litigating child support issues, contact us today to ensure that your rights are adequately protected! CONTACT US AT: OFFICE@RSJlEGAL.COM or 305.222.7921, to schedule a consultation.
Robert Stone Jeffrey, Esq., is an attorney admitted to the Florida Bar in 2010, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Jeffrey is currently a member of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar Rules and Forms Committee, and has authored numerous publications relating to Florida family law, and other issues. Robert was awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell (2017 - 2019), as "Peer Rated For Highest Level of Professional Excellence," along with being recognized as a "Top up and Comer" by South Florida Legal Guide, and a "Rising Star" by Superlawyers.com. Robert has been awarded a perfect 10/10 rating by Avvo.com, and various client reviews can be accessed through that platform. See https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/33134-fl-robert-jeffrey-3341362.html. More information about Mr. Jeffrey, and Jeffrey Law, PA, can be found at www.rsjlegal.com.
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