How Does Child Support Work in Florida?

There is a basic calculation method that is used for Florida child support. Although this is not exact, a family law court will determine the final amount. But this calculation method can give you an idea of what to expect, whether you are on the receiving end of the child support or the one that must pay.

Here is what is used under Florida child support laws for combined monthly available income greater than $10,000:

  • One Child: 5%
  • Two Children: 7.5%
  • Three Children: 9.5%
  • Four Children: 11%
  • Five Children: 12%
  • Six Children: 12.5%

This is the minimum amount required by law. The factors listed above and other needs, including activities that promote quality of life such as summer camps, hobbies, and entertainment, will be considered. The judge can deviate from the guidelines but will also utilize the standard of living and the financial status and age of each parent.

With an experienced child support attorney, a parent will have legal authority on their side to ensure the child support is fair.

Allowable Deductions for Calculating Income for Child Support

When parents ask, “How does child support work in Florida?” they often wonder how their final income is calculated.

There are certain allowable deductions to determine what the final amount will be. These include:

  • Federal, state, and local income tax deductions
  • Personal healthcare payments and healthcare premiums for the child(ren)
  • Daycare costs for the child(ren)
  • Union dues
  • Spousal support and child support from a previous marriage
  • Mandatory retirement payments
  • Federal insurance payments

Your attorney can advise and guide you to ensure the calculating formula is meticulous and includes all necessary information allowable by Florida child support laws.

Timesharing and Income Changes That Can Affect Child Support

It is common for the family dynamics and income of the parents to change over time. Does that mean that the amount of child support will change? Maybe. The changes must be considerable enough for the court to hear them.

If you want to modify Florida child support, the change in either parent’s income must be at least 10%., which could occur with a promotion at a job or even a career change. By the same token, if a request for a change in income is due to a significant decrease in pay, that can be addressed as well. It is recommended to get legal counsel before approaching the court.

Additionally, if timesharing has significantly changed – such as the custodial parent becoming physically unwell and needs extra help – this can also affect the amount of child support moving forward.

How Long Does the Child Support Process Take in Florida?

The average time frame is 6-8 months for a new case. It will be the most efficient and speedy if both parents fully cooperate with the process. The enforcement of an existing order generally will not take as long, running on the average of 4-6 months.

Do I Need an Attorney? 

It is recommended to have an attorney to ensure a reasonable, fair amount for child support. Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, legal counsel can represent you through the complex process of the determination of child support, as well as legal needs in child support enforcement.

Dean Tsourakis is an experienced family law attorney. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.