When parents separate and make the decision to no longer raise the child under the same roof, they must work together to create a parenting plan that outlines parental time and responsibilities. Following a child custody arrangement, the court will likely issue an order for child support.
At the law offices of Busciglio, Sheridan & Schoeb, we know that understanding how child support works, how child support is determined, and how to modify a child support order can get very complicated. For the legal representation that you need throughout the process, call our Tampa child support lawyers directly today.
When Is Child Support Ordered by the Court?
Child support is ordered by the court when a child’s parents are not living together and raising the child as a single unit under a single roof. The state holds that both parents have a legal responsibility to provide for a child; as such, the non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay child support. It is assumed that the custodial parent is meeting their financial obligation to the child by virtue of having custody.
How a Child Support Amount Is Determined
The state of Florida uses an income-shares model to calculate child support amounts. The income shares model uses both parents’ income to calculate child support, operating under the concept that the child should receive the same proportion of financial support as they would if the parents lived together. In addition to considering both parents’ income, the court will also consider the healthcare and childcare costs of the child and the standard needs for the child.
Using the information above, the state has devised child support guidelines, found in Florida Statutes Section 61.30. The greater the amount of combined income of parents, the more that a court is likely to order child support.
For example, the support guideline for parents with a combined monthly net income of $5,000 is $1,000 in child support (for one child). For parents with a combined monthly net income of $10,000, on the other hand, the child support guideline for a single child is $1,437.
Note that each parent is responsible for meeting the basic monthly obligation proportional to their income. Remember, however, that the custodial parent is assumed to be doing this.
For example, consider a situation in which Custodial Parent A earns a net income of $2,000 per month, and Noncustodial Parent B earns a net income of $3,00 a month, for a total net income of $5,000 per month and therefore a total child support obligation of $1,000 per month. Because Noncustodial Parent B earns 60 percent of the total income, they would be responsible for 60 percent of the total child support obligation, or $600 per month.
Imputed Income and Child Support
When a court imputes income, it uses a higher salary/income amount than the parent is actually earning in order to calculate a child support amount. The court may impute income if it finds that a parent is underemployed or is voluntarily or temporarily unemployed. In some cases, a parent may believe that unemployment, underemployment, or misrepresenting income is an effective way to avoid a high child support payment; being able to impute income when appropriate counteracts this.