In order to establish child support, the Court looks at many factors. The Court must look at and determine the parties’ monthly net income after allowed deductions, costs of health insurance for the minor child/children and daycare costs, if any. The parties’ timesharing schedule is then used to determine the final amount of child support owed.
Many parents believe that if there is an equal timesharing schedule than there is no child support owed to one parent. This is not necessarily true.
Another misconception is that if you lower your wages, your child support will be set at a lower amount. The Courts use Florida Statute 61.30. This Courts use this statute to establish the parties’ monthly gross income. Gross income shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Salary or wages.
2. Bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments.
3. Business income from sources such as self-employment, partnership, close corporations, and independent contracts. “Business income” means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.
4. Disability benefits.
5. All workers’ compensation benefits and settlements.
6. Unemployment compensation.
7. Pension, retirement, or annuity payments.
8. Social security benefits.
9. Spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in the marriage before the court.
10. Interest and dividends.
11. Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income.
12. Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.
13. Reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses.
14. Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the gain is nonrecurring. If the parent is unemployed or underemployed the Court can impute income to the party. This may happen if:
a. The unemployment or underemployment is voluntary; and
b. Identifies the amount and source of the imputed income, through evidence of income from available employment for which the party is suitably qualified by education, experience, current licensure, or geographic location, with due consideration being given to the parties’ time-sharing schedule and their historical exercise of the time-sharing provided in the parenting plan or relevant order. Once the gross monthly income is established, the Court looks to the allowable deductions. The allowable deductions are:
(a) Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax liabilities.
(b) Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax.
(c) Mandatory union dues.
(d) Mandatory retirement payments.
(e) Health insurance payments, excluding payments for coverage of the minor child.
(f) Court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid.
(g) Spousal support paid pursuant to a court order from a previous marriage or the marriage before the court.
Contributions to 401(k)s, IRAs, etc. are voluntary and cannot be deducted from a parent’s gross income. These are looked at as voluntary contributions.
Once the net incomes of the parents have been determined, the number of overnights the child/children spend with each parent is used to determine the child support amount.