Child support determinations will greatly influence your budget and long-term planning.
Whether you are paying it or receiving it, the child support calculation includes both parents’ incomes, the number of children and the number of overnights in each parent’s care.
Both parents’ incomes play a role
Florida follows an “income shares model.” Courts attempt to predict how much each parent would have spent on the children if not for the divorce. Taxes, healthcare expenses and daycare all factor into this equation. If both parents have earned proportionally similar amounts during the marriage, the child support burden may not be a surprise. But if one parent has been the full-time breadwinner while the other’s income has been $0, someone is in for a major change.
The number of children impacts the bottom line
If you have two children, your child support burden does not necessarily double. The final number comes from a percentage of your salary. However, the percentage increases for those with higher salaries. A 2012 Florida Statute shows the difference in outcome between low-earners and high-earners. For example, a combined monthly net income of $800 could result in $190 child support for one child, and $211 per month for two children. However, a combined monthly income of $10,000 could result in $1400 child support for one child and $2200 for two children. These are just examples, but higher earners pay a higher proportion.
The number of overnights also matters
A parent may reduce their child support burden by keeping the children overnight more often. Child support exists to compensate the parent who cares for the children the most. If you are willing to spend more of your time with the child, you may be able to save more of your money.