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How is Child Support Calculated in a Florida Divorce?

Florida decided that the best way to determine how much child support a parent should pay is to have a table within the child support statute where anyone could look in the proper column and see the amount of child support that is to be paid. Before these child support guidelines, there was little rhyme, reason or consistency to the amount of child support that people were required to pay.

Without getting into a lot of boring mathematical detail, the child support guidelines are based upon a formula that accounts for the net income of each parent and the number of children involved. They are accompanied by a child support guideline worksheet that walks you through deducting income tax, the parent's health insurance and other items from each parent's paycheck. The amount of alimony paid from one parent to the other alters these numbers. Then you take into account the child's health insurance, daycare costs and some miscellaneous other costs to arrive at the amount that one parent needs to pay the other in order to make sure that the child is properly cared for monetarily.

While the child support guidelines are applauded as a cost saving device by lawyers and divorcing parents alike, there are still areas for argument. For example, if one spouse is not working up to potential, the court can impute income to that person and calculate the guidelines as if that person were fully employed.

Even though child support guidelines have simplified matters greatly, it is still difficult for people to calculate them in their own divorces. Any expert Florida divorce lawyer will have a computer program for use in streamlining and insuring accuracy in the calculation process. Since child support will be paid until the child reaches the age of majority, it is very important to determine the exact amount properly. In our home office, our divorce lawyers have experienced a number of cases where, before coming to see us, the parents had improperly calculated the amount and so additional expense was required to straighten out the mistakes.

Bottom Line: An expert Florida child support lawyer can properly determine the precise amount of child support to be paid in any divorce or paternity child support case.

(copyright Stann Givens 2009)

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