Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

Calculating a parent’s income for purposes of establishing child support in Florida requires the court to make findings regarding a parent’s gross income and the net income after allowable deductions. Florida Statute Chp. 61.30 lists what is considered gross income and the deductions that will be used to arrive at a parent’s net income.

In the case DOR v. Amico, 5D17-3794 (Fla. 5th DCA February 22, 2019), the Department of Revenue appealed an order that obligated the father to continue paying child support at a previously established rate even after he filed a petition for modification. The appellate court noted that the trial court included in the father’s income six items listed on his pay stub as “non-taxable” company items. In reversing the trial court’s decision on this matter, the appellate court held, “In addition, the trial court failed to make the required findings of fact before including these items in its income and child support calculations. Without evidence showing that these six items reduce Father's living expenses, it was error for the court to include those payments as gross income pursuant to section 61.30(2)(a)13.”

The Department of Revenue further argued it was error for the trial court to fail to include a deduction from the father’s gross income for health insurance premiums paid on his behalf. The appellate court agreed, holding, “The trial court properly included payments that Father's employer made toward his health insurance as gross income because those payments reduce Father's living expenses. It erred, however, in failing to provide a corresponding deduction when calculating Father's net income.”

Calculation of income for child support is sometimes tricky. To maximize all deductions to which you are entitled to claim whether you are paying child support or receiving it, contact a Miami child support lawyer to determine your next best steps.