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Florida Child Support Definitions

GENERAL INFORMATION:

The court may adjust the minimum child support award, or either or both parent’s share of the minimum child support award, based upon the following considerations:

(a)  Extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses.

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

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

(d)  Seasonal variations in one or both parents’ incomes or expenses.

(e)  The age of the child, taking into account the greater needs of older children.

(f)  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 the fulfilling of those needs will cause the support to exceed the proposed guidelines.

(g)  The particular shared parental arrangement, such as where the children spend a substantial amount of their time with the secondary residential parent thereby reducing the financial expenditures incurred by the primary residential parent, or the refusal of the secondary residential parent to become involved in the activities of the child, or giving due consideration to the primary residential parent’s homemaking services. If a child has visitation with a noncustodial parent for more than 28 consecutive days the court may reduce the amount of support paid to the custodial parent during the time of visitation not to exceed 50 percent of the amount awarded.

(h)  Total available assets of the obligee, obligor, and the child.

(i)  The impact of the Internal Revenue Service dependency exemption and waiver of that exemption. The court may order the primary residential parent to execute a waiver of the Internal Revenue Service dependency exemption if the noncustodial parent is current in support payments.

(j)  When application of the child support guidelines 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.

(k)  Any other adjustment which 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 which the parties jointly incurred during the marriage.

DEFINITIONS:

MONTHLY GROSS INCOME:

(1) The monthly gross income of each parent means income from whatever source derived, and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Salary or wages, bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other similar payments, business income from sources such as self-employment, partnership, close corporations, and independent contracts (minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income), disability benefits, worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation, pension, retirement, or annuity payments, social security benefits, spousal support received from a previous marriage or court ordered in the marriage before the court, interest and dividends, rental income (which is gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce the income), income from royalties, trusts, or estates, reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses, gains derived from dealings in property (unless the gain is nonrecurring).

(b) Income on a monthly basis shall be imputed to an unemployed or underemployed parent when such employment or underemployment is found to be voluntary on that parent’s part, absent physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances over which the parent has no control. In the event of such voluntary unemployment or underemployment, the employment potential and probable earnings level of the parent shall be determined based upon his or her recent work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing earnings level in the community; however, the court may refuse to impute income to a primary residential parent if the court finds it necessary for the parent to stay home with the child.

(c)  Public assistance as defined in s. 409.2554 shall be excluded from gross income.

(2)  Allowable deductions from monthly gross income shall include:

(a)  Federal, state, and local income tax deductions, adjusted for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax liabilities.

(b)  Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax.

(c)  Mandatory union dues.

(d)  Mandatory retirement payments.

(e)  Health insurance payments, excluding payments for coverage of the minor child.

(f)  Court-ordered support for other children which is actually paid.

(g)  Spousal support paid pursuant to a court order from a previous marriage or the marriage before the court.

Child Care Costs incurred on behalf of the children due to employment, job search, or education calculated to result in employment or to enhance income of current employment of either parent shall be reduced by 25 percent and then shall be added to the basic obligation. After the adjusted child care costs are added to the basic obligation, any moneys prepaid by the noncustodial parent for child care costs for the child or children of this action shall be deducted from that noncustodial parent’s child support obligation for that child or those children. Child care costs shall not exceed the level required to provide quality care from a licensed source for the children.

Health Insurance Costs resulting from coverage ordered pursuant to s. 61.13(1)(b) shall be added to the basic obligation. After the health insurance costs are added to the basic obligation, any moneys prepaid by the noncustodial parent for health insurance for the child or children of this action shall be deducted from that noncustodial parent’s child support obligation for that child or those children.

Other Annual Child Support Paid. A parent with a support obligation may have other children living with him or her who were born or adopted after the support obligation arose. The existence of such subsequent children should not as a general rule be considered by the court as a basis for disregarding the amount provided in the guidelines. The parent with a support obligation for subsequent children may raise the existence of such subsequent children as a justification for deviation from the guidelines. However, if the existence of such subsequent children is raised, the income of the other parent of the subsequent children shall be considered by the court in determining whether or not there is a basis for deviation from the guideline amount. The issue of subsequent children may only be raised a proceeding for an upward modification of an existing award and may not be applied to justify a decrease in an existing award.