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How is Child Support Calculated?

Child support is the money paid from one parent to the other to cover the expenses that come with raising a child, such as the need for a home with enough space for the child, utilities for that home, food and household items, and the child’s needs like clothing and school supplies.

The court uses a formula that considers the number of children to be supported, each parent’s income, and the amount of time the children spend with each parent to determine an appropriate child support amount to require.  In some cases, special circumstances like a child’s medical needs may be considered, causing the amount of child support ordered to deviate five percent or more or less from the amount that would be ordered for a particular couple based on the guidelines included in Florida’s child support law.

Florida’s Child Support Determination Formula

To determine an appropriate child support amount, the court first determines the parents’ combined net income after considering the number of children that need financial support and the amount of time each parent spends with the children.  Other factors, such as the amount each parent pays for health insurance and childcare, are also considered.

When a parent seeks a modification of his or her child support order, he or she must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances as his or her reported reason for needing a modification.

The percentage of the parents’ net income made by the paying parent is used to determine the amount he or she pays in child support.  For example, if the court determines that a couple’s children need $1,000 each month in child support and the paying parent earned 65 percent of the couple’s net income, the paying parent may be required to pay $650 each month in child support with traditional timesharing.  If a child(ren) spends more than 73 nights per year with a parent, the child support is altered so that the child has two household in which to live.  A parent’s income is determined by examining all of his or her income sources, not just the money he or she earns from a job. Pension payments, disability benefits, income from investments, spousal support received, bonuses, and interest received through inheritance are all considered when determining an individual’s net income.  Don’t forget to secure your support with life insurance from both parents.  If either the payor parent or the recipient parent dies, he or she will need financial assistance.

Work with an Experienced Orlando Family Lawyer

To discuss your child’s specific needs in detail and how these needs relate to your child support order, speak with a member of our team at Goodblatt · Leo.  We are a team of experienced family and divorce lawyers who have helped many parents like you work through various family law issues, including those related to the development and enforcement of a child support order.  Contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation with us.


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