The non-custodial parent will be required to provide a "reasonable" share of the cost of housing, food, clothing, education, medical and other needs typically provided by Florida parents. This "reasonable" amount is defined by the Child Support Guidelines in the Florida Statutes.

Expenses such as rent, mortgage, car payment, gas, food, clothing, and utilities are not relevant when determining a party's child support obligation. In fact, the amount of child support you think you need (or the amount you think you can afford to pay) is also irrelevant and will not be considered by the Court. The only factors that the court will consider are: (1) both parent's incomes, (2) deductions allowed by statute, (3) child care costs, and (4) the cost of the child's medical insurance. An experienced child support lawyer in Jacksonville FL can explain the relevant factors to you.

A non-working parent may have income imputed to them. "Imputation" means that the court will assume - for the purposes of calculating child support - that the non-working parent receives a specific amount of income.

Day care expenses and medical insurance premiums that are paid by one parent are reapportioned under the child support calculation. For example, if you receive child support and pay $200 per month for the child's medical insurance and $300 per month for after-school care, you have a total of $500 allowable child related expenses. Let's also assume that your income (for child support purposes) is $2,000 per month and the other parent's income is $3,000 per month. The other parent will be responsible for 60% (their percentage of the total income) of the child related expenses. In this example, you would receive an additional $300 per month to repay you for the other parents share of the child related expenses.

After income, the most important factor in calculating child support are the allowable deductions. The most common deductions from income are: (1) child support that is ordered AND paid for other children, (2) alimony that is ordered AND paid to another former spouse, (3) local, state and federal income taxes, (4) union dues, and (5) your own medical insurance expense. Retirement contributions (unless they are mandatory) and garnishments are not allowed as deductions. The Courts can be very strict with the "ordered and paid" requirement. For example, a father will not usually be allowed to deduct payments made to one of his children's mothers unless there is a court order requiring his to do so.

A party's child support obligation can be affected by the amount of time they spend with the child. If non-custodial parent has the child more than 20% of the overnights, then his/her child support obligation will be reduced or eliminated, depending on the specific financial circumstances of the parties. Under the complex formula used in the Florida Child Support Guidelines, each overnight in excess of 20% offers an additional decrease in the child support obligation. Unfortunately, many parents that are having their child support obligations calculated for the first time allege that they will spend more than 20% of the nights with the child simply to have their child support reduced.

Lastly, a child support obligation can be modified if the financial circumstances of the parties change substantially. A "substantial change" is defined as a 15% increase or decrease. That means that if you are trying to have your child support reduced, you need to allege and prove that it will go down at least 15% (or it will not be reduced at all). Often child support can be reduced as very young children age, even though there is no large change in the income of the parents. This is mainly due to the fact that older children are in school and the day care expense has been eliminated to greatly reduced.

You should consult with a child support lawyer in Jacksonville to ensure that the child support calculations in your case will be performed properly. An experienced Jacksonville Divorce Attorney can help make sure that the child support calculation done in your case is done properly. Please call the office with your questions.

Author's Bio: 

A. James Mullaney is a Jacksonville divorce lawyer and family law attorney. His practice has been exclusively limited to family law since 2000.