Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Child Support

While Florida child support calculations are, in a way, "no nonsense" since they are based on a mathematical formula, there is still room for variation based on the particular financial circumstances of each party. Knowing how to ask the court for a deviation from the child support guidelines is the first step. 

Florida child support is calculated by combining each parent's net income and matching that total to the number of children to be supported. The state of Florida has published a guideline schedule that states the minimum need  (expressed in a dollar amount) for that number of children with the parents' total combined income. Each parent is responsible for payment toward that minimum need in proportion to his or her respective share of the combined income total. 

Sometimes, a parent has extraordinary life expenses that make payment of his or her share of the child support guidelines burdensome. Florida child support laws allow a parent to file what is called a motion for deviation from the child support guidelines. A court can adjust a parent's share of the child support obligation based on the following factors: 

1. Extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses.

2. Independent income of the child, not to include moneys received by a child from supplemental security income.

3. The payment of support for a parent which has been regularly paid and for which there is a demonstrated need.

4. Seasonal variations in one or both parents’ incomes or expenses.

5. The age of the child, taking into account the greater needs of older children.

6. Special needs, such as costs that may be associated with the disability of a child, that have traditionally been met within the family budget even though fulfilling those needs will cause the support to exceed the presumptive amount established by the guidelines.

7. Total available assets of the obligee, obligor, and the child.

8. The impact of the Internal Revenue Service Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and dependency exemption and waiver of that exemption. The court may order a parent to execute a waiver of the Internal Revenue Service dependency exemption if the paying parent is current in support payments.

9. An application of the child support guidelines schedule that requires a person to pay another person more than 55 percent of his or her gross income for a child support obligation for current support resulting from a single support order.

10. The particular parenting plan, a court-ordered time-sharing schedule, or a time-sharing arrangement exercised by agreement of the parties, such as where the child spends a significant amount of time, but less than 20 percent of the overnights, with one parent, thereby reducing the financial expenditures incurred by the other parent; or the refusal of a parent to become involved in the activities of the child.

11. Any other adjustment that is needed to achieve an equitable result which may include, but not be limited to, a reasonable and necessary existing expense or debt. Such expense or debt may include, but is not limited to, a reasonable and necessary expense or debt that the parties jointly incurred during the marriage.

See Fla. Stat. 61.30.

As you can see, the law provides many bases for a court to consider decreasing or increasing a child support obligation. Setting forth your best case for child support may begin with a consultation with a Miami child support lawyer who can assess the specific facts of your case to determine the best case plan for you.