Computing child support payments can be complicated because it involves a number of different variables. Courts take into account factors such as monthly income, childcare costs and children’s healthcare needs. While the term “income” may sound straightforward, in reality, it may encompass revenue sources outside salaries and other regular payment streams.
Uniform treatment under Florida law
In the Sunshine State, the Florida Child Support Guidelines are used to calculate child support payments. Their aim is equal treatment for similarly situated families. Under these guidelines, conventional sources of income are covered, such as employment income, bonuses, commissions, tips, pensions and annuity payments. In addition, the following sources of income are considered:
- Disability and unemployment benefits
- Rental income
- Royalties, trusts and estates
- Regular ongoing consistent gifts
In Florida, payments from virtually any source are considered income with regard to calculating child support. Choosing not to work, working fewer hours or working for less compensation does not result in lower payments, as courts are empowered to estimate support payments based on the income an individual should be making, "imputing income" to that spouse.
Determining child support payments can involve contentious negotiations that require family law attorneys who fight for the best interests of children and the fair treatment of their clients.