Florida Child Support: How Much will I pay? How Much Will I Receive?

Child support is often a hotly contested part of a divorce or custody proceeding. Everyone has heard stories of enormous celebrity settlements, of parents who amicably split expenses, of parents who have to fight tooth and nail to get even the most modest money award the court has granted.

There seems to be no "typical" scenario.

Florida child support guidelines are determined by Florida law. While Florida law establishes the formula for determining child support amounts, many variables affect the final child support award. Two situations which look similar from the outside may yield very different results when all the factors are considered in determining the final child support award.

The guidelines are used the first time child support is ordered and every time there is a modification of the child support amount. Child support guidelines are different in each state.

Child support guidelines consider the income of both parents, the child's health care and child care costs, and the standard needs for the child based on the Florida standard needs table.

You can get an estimate of child support amounts by using the Florida Child Support Calculator. The calculator gives an estimate of your child's support amount based on the information you enter.

This estimate is only for informational purposes, because a court or agency will look at many additional factors. For example, these estimates assume that all involved children will primarily live with one parent, not joint custody or split custody arrangements. In some circumstances, such as a child's high medical expenses, support amounts can be higher or lower than the guideline amounts. Judges generally have to give written reasons why support amounts vary from guidelines.

Gross income can include salary or wages; bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments; business income from sources such as self-employment, partnership, close corporations, and independent contracts; disability benefits and workers' compensation benefits and settlements; pension, retirement, or annuity payments; Social Security benefits; spousal support received from a previous marriage; interest and dividends; rental income and several other categories of income.

So, two families in the same neighborhood, with similar homes, each with two children, may have vastly different child support settlements and determinations as to who pays for things such as health insurance.

Pensacola divorce and family law attorney Mary McDaniel specializes in family law and child support. Attorney Mary McDaniel can help you navigate this touchy subject and complex legal labyrinth to reach a settlement that is in your best interest and the best interest of your children.