In Florida, child support calculations are governed by statute. Child support is an obligation of both parents under Florida Law. The Florida Child Support Guidelines govern the amount of the paying parent will be obligated to contribute monthly. The child support guidelines require consideration of each parent’s income, the timesharing schedule, childcare costs, and the cost of health insurance, and uncovered medical expenses when calculating each parents support obligation. As a general principle, the debts of the parents do not provide a basis for a reduction in the support obligation. Instead, Florida courts regard child support as the first and most important financial obligation of parents. In some cases, the amount of “guidelines” support may be too high or too low. Parents can seek a deviation from the support amount, but it is rare, and there must be a legal basis for the departure.
Calculating support may seem simple, but there are pitfalls. If a parent works on commission, receives bonuses, or is self-employed, for example, their income must be determined appropriately. Income for purposes of calculating child support is often not the same as income reported on federal income tax returns.