Parents all across Florida are obligated to pay child support. Unfortunately, too many see this responsibility as some kind of punishment or arbitrary assignment. But it is neither of these things. Child support is a specific calculation designed to ensure that both parents make a meaningful — and fair — contribution to a child’s well-being.

The courts do this by taking into account specific factors and guidelines when calculating child support. Below, we examine some of these factors.

The two basic factors the courts examine are:

  • The parent’s income
  • The number of children requiring support

Using this information, the courts calculate the minimum amount of child support. However, they can increase or decrease this amount, depending on deviation factors. These include:

  • The balance of parenting time
  • Extraordinary medical, dental, educational or psychological needs of the child
  • Income earned by the child
  • Seasonal variations your income or expenses
  • A child’s age
  • Tax exemptions and waivers
  • Special needs of a child

These and other factors can impact the calculation of child support, but it should still be an amount that is fair and attainable. 

In other words, the courts use specific guidelines and factors to calculate an amount deemed fair. It is not arbitrary or intended to punish a parent for one reason or another.

This is not to say the system is always perfect; complications and challenges do arise when calculating support, and circumstances change over time. If you have concerns that you can’t afford child support, or if you feel like your order is unfairly high, then it can be crucial that you speak with an attorney to learn about your legal options instead of just not paying. Non-payment can have serious consequences, so seeking legal guidance as soon as possible would be wise.