Once a parenting schedule is in place (see my blog on Child Custody), child support can be calculated. It must be calculated in a specific fashion and the parents may not agree to waive that obligation. The right to receive support belongs to the child and the parent cannot waive the child’s rights.

Only the biological parents have a legal responsibility to support their children. A new spouse’s income is not to be used in calculating child support. But every kind of income received by the parent must be added in the calculation. This includes payments that would not be considered income in any other proceeding. If it can be used to buy groceries, it is income that must be used in child support calculations.

If one parent has less than 73 or less overnights in a year, the calculation is simple. The after tax income of each parent is added together and that amount is located on a chart in Chapter 61.30, Florida Statutes. Then the number showing total child support for the appropriate number of children and that total income is located on the chart. The paying parent will pay the same percentage of that total as his or her income is a percentage of both parents’ total income. If the father has $3,000.00 in after tax income and the mother has $2,000.00, the total child support for $5,000.00 and two children would be $1,551.00. If the father has 73 or less overnights he would pay 60% of that amount, or $930.60 per month. Added to this amount will be 60% of the cost of the children’s health insurance and 60% of any daycare costs.

If the number of overnights exceeds 73, the calculation becomes complicated. The chart amount in the statute is multiplied by 1.5. Then the child support obligation for each parent is calculated based upon that number. That result for each is then multiplied by the other parent’s percentage of overnights. The difference between the two will be the amount that the parent owing the larger amount pays the other. Confusing?  Most lawyers now use computer programs that are designed to do this calculation. The important fact is that the total support number is increased by 50% because both parents have substantial extra expenses by having shared custody of 21% to 50%. The amount of child support paid may go down but the high cost of having the children is still there.

If you need my help, go to my web site at www.peppler law.com or call my office for a consult.