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How does the Court Determine the Level of Child Support in a Divorce?

In a divorce that involves children, child support is almost unavoidable. One parent will almost always be required to make payments to the other parent in order to help support their child. But many people going through a divorce don’t understand how the amount of child support is calculated and determined. If you’re going through a divorce and you have children, this article will help you understand how your child support is calculated and why.

Florida child support guidelines

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In the state of Florida, parents are obligated to provide support for their children. The state courts follow guidelines called the “Income Shares Model” when calculating who pays child support, how much they will pay and how often they will pay it. This model estimates how much money the parents would have spent on their children if they had not divorced. Then the amount is divided between the parents based on their incomes. The courts also use Florida Child Support Guidelines while determining a child support order.

Determining the amount of child support in a Florida divorce

There are several steps the courts go through when determining the amount of child support one parent pays the other:

  • Step one: Both parents must complete a financial affidavit that details their income and expenses. The affidavits determine each parent’s net income and that is how the child support amount is calculated.
  • Step two: Once each parent’s net income is determined, they are added together and the court’s Child Support Guidelines provide a grid that shows how much child support should be awarded and to which parent.
  • Step three: Other expenses are divided, such as educational expenses, health care premiums and deductibles and child care expenses. These expenses are divided and split among the both parents. Each parent is responsible for a percentage of these expenses and the percentage is calculated based on their net incomes.
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