Florida Child Support Calculation - What is Considered Income?
Whether you are the spouse who will be receiving child support for your child/children in a divorce situation, or the spouse who will pay support, you may not be aware of what is considered income when the courts calculate the amount of child support you will pay/receive. In the state of Florida, when child custody is arranged in a divorce case (or paternity case), it is required that child support is calculated. How the amount to be paid to the receiving spouse is calculated is based upon the Florida Child Support Guidelines; these guidelines are designed to ensure that all families who have similar incomes are treated equally in regards to the amount of child support calculated for any child/children the spouses share in common.
Whose income is the amount of child support based on, and what is considered income?
The income of both spouses is used in the guidelines for determining the amount of child support. Essentially, payments from almost any source is considered income for calculating child support. Some examples of income that will be included in determining the amount of child support to be paid include:
- Employment income (including overtime wages, tips, commissions, and bonuses)
- Unemployment compensation
- Disability benefits
- Business income
- Income received from trusts, estates, and royalties
- Social security
- Pension and annuity payments
- Net rental income
- Dividends and interest
- Recurring gains from property dealings
- Reimbursed expenses that lower living expenses
As you can see, almost any income source will be included when calculating child support.
It is also important to note that in the event you are unemployed or underemployed, or not making as much as you potentially could if you were actively trying to find additional work, the court may "impute" income - this basically means the court may assign a value, basing the amount of child support on the amount of money you could earn if you were fully employed.
Net income and deductions
Child support is based on your "net" income, that is the income after certain deductions including taxes (federal, state, and local income tax), health insurance payments, income tax liabilities, mandatory retirement payments or union dues, Medicare and social security withholdings, and other deductions such as child support for other children you are actually paying under a previous court order.
If you have further questions about income considered in calculating child support or what other deductions you may be entitled to, contact the Orlando family law attorneys at Adams & Luka.