Child support in Florida is calculated in accordance with the Florida Child Support Guidelines, which is a statutory formula contained in Florida Statute 61.30. The Florida Child Support Guidelines determine the amount of child support one should pay. It is based on the net income of both parents, not just the income of the paying parent, and the amount of timesharing each parent has with the child or children.  Income includes the following:

1. Salary or wages from employment.
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.

Monthly income shall be imputed to a parent that is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

Beginning January 1, 2011, when the parent responsible for paying child support exercises timesharing at least twenty percent (20%) of the overnights in a year, the court will adjust the child support in favor of the paying parent which results in a reduction in child support.

Furthermore, if a parent who is ordered to pay child support has other children living with him or her who were born or adopted after the child support obligation arose, this may further reduce the child support amount. The issue of subsequent children may only be raised when the recipient of child support is requesting an increase in child support not when the payor is requesting a reduction of child support.

Each parent is also required to contribute to the child’s health insurance costs, uncovered medical expenses, and child care expenses.

Child support must be calculated pursuant to the Florida Child Support Guidelines and the parties are not permitted to deviate from the Guidelines child support amount.

When determining the amount of child support a parent should pay, the Court may award child support retroactive to the date when the parents stopped living together in the same household with the child, but it cannot exceed a period of 24 months preceding the date of the filing of the petition for support. Once the total amount of retroactive child support is determined, the payor may pay down this arrearage in installments.

Florida child support terminates at age 18, or if the child is still in high school, child support may extend until the date the child graduates from high school, but in no event beyond the child’s 19th birthday. The court retains jurisdiction to modify child support anytime there is a change of circumstances. Child support is generally always ordered to be paid through the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) in charge of collecting child support from the payor and sending child support to the recipient.

When a parent who is ordered to pay child support fails to pay, the parent who should have received the child support may not refuse to honor the time-sharing schedule presently in effect between the parents. Likewise, when a parent refuses to honor the other parent’s timesharing rights, the parent whose time-sharing rights were violated shall continue to pay any ordered child support.

If both parents and the child leave the state of Florida, Florida loses jurisdiction to modify child support, unless the parents consent orally to keep jurisdiction in Florida. If one parent has moved to another state, the parents can also both agree to transfer the child support case to that other state.


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Da Silva Law Firm offers experienced and aggressive legal representation focused exclusively on all areas of Family Law. Attorney Monica P. Lopez Da Silva offers results oriented legal representation and a compassionate and caring approach to handling your family law case.

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