How is Child Support Determined?
If you are facing a divorce that involves children or are breaking up with someone with whom you share a child, child support is likely a concern. The same is true if you already have a child support order but need a modification. Florida, like other states, requires parents to continue supporting their children in accordance with their financial ability to do so, and their child support program is the tool they use to accomplish this. If you have questions or concerns about child support, don’t wait to speak to an experienced Florida child support attorney.
The Factors that Determine Child Support
The State of Florida uses a standard calculation methodology to determine child support, but it also has the discretion to take special considerations under advisement. Child support determinations are generally based on several basic factors.
The Needs of the Children
Child support is designed to cover the involved children’s primary needs, including all the following:
- The costs associated with housing, clothing, and feeding the children
- The children’s educational expenses
- The children’s medical expenses, including insurance premiums, co-pays, medical bills, and prescriptions
- The cost of the children’s extracurricular activities and entertainment
The number of children you share with your ex is another important factor when it comes to determining the amount of child support that’s owed. The court will also take any of your children’s special needs into account.
The Number of Overnights with the Children
The court factors in how many overnights the children spend with each parent. A parent who has the children more nights per week shoulders a greater financial obligation, and as a result, they are more likely to be the recipient of child support.
Each Parent’s Earnings
Each parent’s earnings play a primary role in the child support calculation process. Child support is meant to balance the financial responsibility each parent bears – according to their ability to pay. As such, the parent who is the higher earner is very likely to have the child support payment obligation. This is generally true even when the number of overnights each of you spends with the children – as determined by your parenting plan – is divided evenly.
The Prior Standard of Living
Florida requires both parents to contribute to their children’s basic needs, but child support goes beyond this minimal standard. Florida courts seek to maintain the standard of living achieved prior to the divorce or breakup and, as a result, take the standard of living in both households into account. This is another factor that tends to tip the balance toward the higher earner when it comes to the child support obligation.
The court also considers the tax implications of the child support order for both parents in its final analysis.
An Experienced Florida Child Support Attorney Can Help
Brian McMahon at Brian K. McMahon, P.A., is a trusted child support attorney who recognizes the significance of your case and has the experience and keen legal insight to skillfully advocate for its most favorable outcome. Learn more by contacting or calling us at 561-658-1789 today.