Child Support in Your Sarasota Family Law Case
Child support for your case in Sarasota, Florida is calculated using a statewide schedule. If you would like to review the detailed statute, I have provided the link:
How Is Child Support Calculated?
The short hand version of how child support is calculated is as follows:
1. The Court will determine both parents’s gross and net incomes.
2. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed, or underemployed, the court may “impute” income to that parent. (Determine a fair and reasonable level of income for that parent).
3. The Court will then allocate certain child related expenses between the parties, including: health insurance expense for the children; and daycare expense. These expenses are usually allocated based on the parents net incomes. So if one parent makes more net income than the other parent, the parent with the higher net income will pay a greater percentage of the health insurance and day care cost.
4. The Court will consider the total number of the parties dependent children. Under the schedule, the “per child” support decreases with each additional child. (The idea is that certain child care expenses are fixed, and really do not increase with each additional child).
5. If the children spend at least 20% of the their overnights with each parent, the Court will adjust support based on the total number of overnights the children spend with each parent. The 20% threshold is only 73 overnights per year, so in most cases child sport will be adjusted based on the total number of overnights spent with each parent.
6. The Court will then make a “guideline” child support calculation. In most cases the guideline calculation is the child support that the Court orders paid. (The Court can order greater or less than guideline support – but there has to be a specific reason why).
Child Support Lawyers
A good Sarasota family law lawyer can be a big help in your child support case. The lawyer’s help starts with the preparation of the child support worksheet. Preparing a child support worksheet is not simply a matter of typing numbers into a spreadsheet and handing the worksheet to the judge. The best (and fairest) result occurs when your attorney sits down with you and takes the time to: (1) carefully reviews both parties incomes; (2) take into account all possible credits and adjustments that can be made; and (3) presents the worksheet in a manner that makes sense to the court.
Another way your Sarasota family law attorney can help your case is by using a special software package most family law lawyers use to calculate child support for their clients. This software packages take into account the federal income tax child credit and deduction. Because the credit and deduction are often not accurately reflected in pay stubs, using the software provides a more accurate picture of each parties’ true net income for child support.
Links to Other Child Support Resources