How can a divorcing parent in Florida understand child support?
We are going to discuss child support during a series of multiple blogs. Child support in Florida is often misunderstand, which is not surprising because it is truly complex.
First, child support is not just a percentage amount. Instead, it is a mathematical calculation which takes into account many financial factors, including but not limited to: each parent’s gross income from all sources; statutory deductions from income such as health insurance premiums, daycare expenses, mandatory retirement, out of state income taxes, union dues and a handful of other expenses; and child support is calculated considering the number of overnights which are apportioned to each parent. Finally, the child support calculation takes into account which parent will claim each minor child on his or her federal income tax return each year.
Child support is calculated by using these financial numbers and by considering timesharing overnights so it is important to be honest about all income and any qualifying statutory expenses.
Child support is higher when there are multiple children vs. one child; however, it is not a true multiple. For example, if a parent pays child support for two children and the older child reaches majority, then child support for the remaining child does not equal one half of the original child support for two children. This is because it does not cost twice as much to add an additional child to the formula.
Many think child support is high in Florida, and that may be true compared to other states; however, it is important to remember that many states continue child support beyond majority and even through college. In contract, in Florida, child support generally terminates at majority or age 18 for each child. If a child is attending high school full time with an expectation of graduation before the child’s nineteenth birthday, then if included in a final judgment, child support can be extended until high school graduation.
More to come on child support next time.