Child support can be a difficult and emotional issue to navigate. The main purpose of child support is to ensure that the needs of children of divorced parents are being met. If you’re going through a divorce you may be confused about how child support figures are calculated, and it may be a major source of conflict between you and your former spouse.
Parents facing a divorce are often concerned about the amount they should expect to pay or the amount which they will receive. It’s important to know that each state has its own guidelines, and your family law attorney in Jacksonville can help you understand these.
Florida law uses an “Income Shares Model” for determining child support, which attempts to calculate how much would have been spent on raising the child if the parents were not divorcing. That amount is then divided between the parents based on their income. To determine this, an income affidavit must be filed by each parent listing their gross income. Gross income includes but is not limited to:
- Salary or wages
- Commissions and bonuses
- Disability benefits
- Worker’s compensation
- Unemployment assistance
- Social security benefits
- Spousal support
- Interest and dividends
- Rental income
- Income from trusts, estates, and royalties
- Property gains
- Pension, retirement, and annuities
A Jacksonville family law attorney will explain that once the income affidavits are submitted, the state of Florida has established guidelines to be used in the calculation of child support obligations. Florida Statute 61.30 defines the child support guidelines. It is utilized to determine how much child support is necessary for the child and how much child support the parent must pay.
Aside from the income of each parent, child care costs, health care costs and the basic needs of the child are taken into consideration. A child support guidelines chart is used to figure out what the amount of child support is to be. This is based on the age of the child and the net income of each parent.
Courts do have some flexibility in setting the child support amount based on special circumstances. They may set the amount above or below the amount suggested by the guidelines by 5% if they feel it is warranted. If they see it fit to set the amount even higher, they must give a finding explaining their reasons. The child’s standard of living prior to divorce, special education needs, specific medical or psychological needs and when a child spends a large portion of time with one parent are all factors that could be considered.
The issue of child support can be emotional and confusing for all parties. That’s why it’s so important to work with a family law attorney in Jacksonville who is experienced with child support. The attorneys at Parker & DuFresne will skillfully guide you through this process and ensure that you are paying or receiving what is fair in your particular case. For more information please visit us at www.jaxlawcenter.com.