How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
The issue of child support is often one of extreme importance for divorcing spouses in Florida. To be sure, child support, which is payment from one spouse to the other for the support any shared children, is necessary to ensure their well-being.
In the Sunshine State, Florida Statute 61.30 sets forth guidelines for how child support should be calculated in a divorce case so that both spouses are providing an equitable portion for their shared children. That being said, anyone who is seeking a divorce in Florida and may be ordered to pay or receive child support should familiarize themselves with these calculations to help them be prepared for what is to come.
Calculating Child Support in Florida
Ultimately, calculating child support in Florida begins with an accounting of the divorcing spouses’ combined monthly income, as well as how many children will be supported between the pair. For example, if a divorcing couple earns a combined monthly income of $3,000, and they have one child, the spouse with a lesser degree of parental responsibilities may be ordered to pay $644 to the other. Using the same example, if this same couple had two children, the award would be $1,001 per month; and if they had three children, this number would increase to $1,252.
Of course, the child support calculation will increase along with the combined monthly income. Consider a couple that earns $5,000 per month; if they had one child, the support award would amount to $1,000, and for two children it would be $1,551.
It is important to note that the child support guidelines as set forth by Florida law only apply to divorcing parents whose combined monthly income is greater than $800 but less than $10,000. For those parents who earn less than $800, a monthly child support award will be determined by a judge on a case-by-case basis. The law does include calculations for those who earn more than $10,000. Instead, it states that the child support obligation is the minimum amount of support provided by the guidelines, along with an additional percentage multiplied by the amount over $10,000. In this case, the percentage would increase along with the number of children.
Finally, it is also necessary to understand that these are not exact calculations; instead, they are guidelines that a family law judge is required to consider when awarding a child support amount. That being said, a judge may order a child support award five percent larger or smaller than the guidelines include. Furthermore, in certain circumstances, the judge may order an award that differs by a greater amount, however, they must also include a written finding explaining their decision.
Modification of a Child Support Award in Florida
Many parents are under the impression that once a child support award is ordered, it must continue until the child becomes an adult. This isn’t the case, though; instead, Florida law allows for modification of a child support award for a number of reasons. For example, if one parent loses their job or other source of income, they may petition to pay a lower amount each month. On the other hand, if the paying parent receives a promotion or their income increases, the recipient may petition for a greater award in order to reflect the changes.
The Assistance of an Attorney is Invaluable in Child Support Cases
Overall, the importance of working with an attorney in a child support case cannot be overstated. Parents who represent themselves run the risk of losing out on child support money that they are rightfully owed, or being stuck with a monthly payment that is well above their means.
If you need help with a child support case in Florida, we can help. At the office of Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorneys at Law, we have significant experience assisting clients with all issues related to family law. Call us today for a consultation on your case at 850-912-8080 (Pensacola), 850-424-6683 (Sandestin), or 850-200-4652 (Fort Walton Beach).