What Is Considered Income in Florida Child Support?
By Jimmy Verner
Updated March 29, 2020
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Income for child support purposes in Florida covers a wide range of sources. It would be fair to say that if you receive income from nearly any source, it will be considered income when the court sets the amount of child support you'll owe. If you are unemployed or underemployed, the court can even impute to you amounts of money you would have made if you were working. There are, however, certain deductions from income that must also be considered when calculating child support.
Under Florida law, income for child support purposes includes, but is not limited to, salary or wages; bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime and tips; business income; disability benefits; worker's compensation; unemployment compensation; pension, retirement and annuity payments; Social Security benefits; court-ordered spousal support; interest and dividends; net rental income; income from royalties, trusts and estates; expense reimbursements; and gains derived from buying and selling property unless the gain is a one-time event. Income does not include Social Security payments received to take care of a child when the other parent is absent.
When a person is unemployed, or underemployed, a court can impute income to him if the unemployment or underemployment is voluntary. This means the court can calculate child support based on the parent's employment potential and probable earnings level. An exception to this rule exists when the court finds that the parent can't work because of physical or mental issues over which the parent has no control. The court considers the parent's work history and qualifications to determine how much a person with the same or similar background could earn.
Deductions From Income
Net income for child support purposes is income less these deductions: federal, state and local income tax deductions, adjusted for the person's actual filing status and allowable dependents; income tax liabilities; Social Security and Medicare withholdings; mandatory union dues; mandatory retirement payments; health insurance payments, but not including payments for a minor child's coverage; court-ordered support for other children which is actually being paid; and spousal support paid under a court order from a previous marriage or current marriage.
Child Support Calculation
Once the court has added together the parents' income, imputed income if warranted, and subtracted allowable deductions, it determines the minimum need for child support based upon the parents' combined net incomes and how many children need to be supported. Under Florida support guidelines, the court calculates each parent's share of child support based on how much each parent makes compared to their combined net monthly income. For example, if one parent's income is 40 percent of the parents' combined net monthly income, that parent will be responsible for 40 percent of the amount of child support.
Jimmy Verner, a lawyer since 1979, is Board-certified in family law and in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Verner practices family law in Dallas.