Caring & Experienced Panama City Attorney

Child Support: How Payments Are Calculated in Florida

If you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you may have questions about the various repercussions of this decision. One aspect of your divorce could be the payment of child support. If have children together, you will have to find a workable way to arrange custody and support before your divorce terms will be finalized and your divorce granted. Every state has laws that determine how child support is decided.

Florida Is an “Income Shares” State

In Florida, child support payments are determined under an “Income Shares Model.” Generally, this means that the court will estimate how much money parents would have spent on their children had the marriage remained intact. This amount will then be divvied up between the two parents, based on each parents’ income. The Florida Child Support Guidelines are found in Florida Statute 61.30. There is some measure of flexibility in how the courts will determine these child support rulings.

Questions That Determine Child Support Payments

Some question that the court will ask in determining child support payments may include:

  • How many children are involved?
  • How many children does each parent have including children from previous relationships?
  • Which parent will have primary physical custody?
  • How many overnight visits will the child be given with the noncustodial parent?
  • What are the child’s estimated financial needs?
  • What is the total income of each parent?
  • Does the child have any extenuating circumstances or special needs, such as medical costs?

How Income Is Determined

Both parents will be asked to fill out financial affidavits, and to include full disclosure of the details surrounding their income and expenses.

Each individual’s income includes but is not limited to the following items:

  • Salary / wages
  • Bonuses / overtime payments / tips / commissions / allowances
  • Disability benefits
  • Business income
  • Workers’ compensation benefits
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Social security benefits
  • Reemployment assistance
  • Income from rental homes / units
  • Pension / retirement payments
  • Royalties, estates, and trusts
  • Property dealings

Parties will be able to deduct the following permitted items from their total income:

  • Federal taxes / state taxes / income taxes
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Mandatory retirement payments
  • Personal health insurance payments
  • Any child support ordered by the court for other children
  • Spousal support / alimony payments
  • Self-employment tax or federal insurance contributions

Child support also factors in the needs of the children involved, including costs for education, costs for healthcare in terms of premiums and deductibles, and other expenses related to raising a child. There can be some flexibility in how these payments are made. Parents may decide to split up types of expenses: For example, one parent pays for day care or private school tuition, while the other covers healthcare premiums.

What Are the Tax Consequences Connected with Child Support Payments?

While alimony / spousal support can be tax deductible, child support is not tax deductible for the individual making payments. In addition, it cannot be charged as income for the individual receiving payments. This means that the parent paying child support cannot count those payments as a tax deduction, while the parent receiving child support does not have to pay taxes on those payments.

Can My Child Support Orders Be Modified?

Yes. These payments are designed to suit your child’s and family's needs. Naturally, those needs and circumstances change over time. You may be able to get those payment arrangements modified accordingly. Our attorneys can answer your questions about child support modifications.

For more information about child support, or to speak with a knowledgeable Panama City family law attorney at Seaton Law Offices, P.A. in a free case evaluation, call our office today!