The Law Office of William B. Bennett, P.A., Child Support Calculations

Learn What Factors Influence Child Support Payment Amounts During A Divorce

Child support is one of those areas of a divorce that can be difficult to understand. Furthermore, it can also be an area where the supporting parent feels unfairly treated. In fact, it is usually the fathers in the case that commonly express that they are paying way too much.

Methods For Calculating Child Support

The courts typically use simple formulas for calculating support payments. These formulas are based on parental income, if any. However, the courts also have full discretion to deviate from using the formulas as they see fit. Additionally, to make matters more complicated, child support payments may be handled differently depending on what county or jurisdiction you may live in.

There are two primary methods for calculating support payments in Florida. They are the Income Shares Model and Percentage of Income Method. The exact numbers used in figuring the final outcome will depend greatly on where you live.

Income Shares Model

Most states abide by the Income Shares Model when calculating child support. This method attempts to proportionately divide support payments based on each parent’s individual income. Basically, how this works is that the courts will determine how much it costs to raise a couple’s child per month. They then add both parents incomes together and then determine what each would pay to raise a child based on their individual contribution to the whole payment.

For example, let’s say a court decides it would cost $800 per month to raise one child. They then figure a combined income of both parents to be $80,000. In this example, the father makes $50,000 and the mother makes $30,000. Therefore, the father would have to pay $500 and the mother would pay $300 per month in child support.

Basic Formula Of Income Shares Model

50,000 ÷ 80,000 = .625
800 x .625 = $500

30,000 ÷ 80,000 = .375
800 x .375 = $300

This model attempts to estimate what each parent would normally contribute if. they were still living together under one roof. Of course, additional factors may influence what the final payment amount is. There may be more than one child or extraordinary medical expenses that influence the formula. The best way to get an accurate estimate of what you can expect to pay is to contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

Percentage Of Income Method

The other type of child support formula used is the Percentage of Income Method. This formula only uses a percentage of the non-custodial parent when awarding support. The percentage that is taken out is determined by factors usually set by the state. For example, if both parents make $35,000 a year, but the mother is awarded primary custody, the state requires child support to be calculated at 18% of the non-custodial parent’s yearly income. Therefore, in this case, the father would pay $525 per month in child support.

Basic Formula Of Percentage Of Income Method

35,000 x .18 = $6,300
$6,300 ÷ 12 = $525 per month

Call The Law Office Of William B. Bennett For Help Defining Proper Support

Those that are required to pay child support through this method often view it as unjust. However, the formula is not necessarily set in black and white either. How this method is used depends greatly on what kind of custody arrangement is in place. Plus, the rules are different depending on what jurisdiction you live in as well. That is why it is so important to discuss your custody case with an experienced and aggressive family law attorney. The Law Office of William B. Bennett has been representing clients in difficult custody cases since 1991. Call us at (727) 821-8000 today for a free consultation or contact us on our website here.

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