The first step in figuring out Florida child support is to calculate the net incomes of both parents. This is easy if you've both completed financial affidavits: it will be on page two. If you haven't completed the affidavits yet, you'll have to figure it out yourself. But that's pretty easy.
The best way is to look on a pay stub. Net income is your after-tax income. Since you're probably not paid on a monthly basis, you'll have to do a little math. Everything on the child support guidelines in Florida is done on a monthly basis. If you're paid weekly, look at your weekly net (after tax) income and multiply it by 4.33. If you're paid twice a month, look at your after-tax income on your pay stub and multiply the amount by 2.15.
Don't forget to include bonuses and average overtime in your net income. It all counts under Florida law!
If you are self-employed or you don't have a pay stub, you can use last year's total net income from your tax return and divide it by 12.
Determine childcare and health insurance amounts, if any
The second thing to know is how much childcare and health insurance costs. It doesn't matter who pays it. We'll get to that later. Just know that these two amounts--if they exist in your case--get calculated into child support. Remember also that you'll haveto know these as monthly amounts. So if, for instance, daycare gets paid weekly, you'll have to multiply the amount by 4.33 to figure out what the monthly childcare cost is.
Some things count as childcare and some things don't. The law says a childcare is a childcare if it is the "equivalent of a daycare." Afterschool karate class where the kids are taken when school ends counts as childcare under the law. It would be the "equivalent of a daycare." Babysitting by grandma doesn't count. That's not daycare, even if grandma gets paid.
Determine your amount of timeshare (visitation)
If one of the parents has more than 40% of the overnights (about 146 overnights in a calendar year), then the guidelines change substantially, and the amount of money paid by the minority timeshare (noncustodial) parent to the majority timeshare (custodial) parent decreases significantly. If the minority timeshare parent has the child or children more than 40% of the overnights in the calendar year, determine what the percentage will be. For instance, as said before, 146 nights is a 40% timeshare. In a standard "week on/week off" schedule, each parent would have the kids for 50% of the timeshare. You must determine the exact percentage if the percentage will be 40% or over.
Calculate the amount of support
Once you know all the numbers from the steps above, you are ready to calculate the guidelines child support. Actually, this is the easy part. There are two ways to do this:
a) Download the free form 12.902(e) from www.flcourts.org. Plug in all the numbers we've calculated in steps 1-3 and insert them into the proper boxes in the form. Follow the instructions and use the included grid to find the child support amount. If step three above didn't apply to you, then skip lines 10 through 21 on the form.
b) Hate math? No problem. The same form that you can download in part a above is available for free in a fillable pdf online and it does all the math for you! You plug in the same numbers that we got in steps 1 through 3 above and it tells you what your child support is without you breaking out a single calculator or slide-rule! You can find many online versions of the calculator, but the one I prefer is made by the judges in Tampa. It can be found at www.fljud13.org.
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