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What is a Child Support Worksheet

You may be wondering, “how is the actual amount of child support determined?” The amount of child support is determined by the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(e)).  We will get into more detail below, but generally, the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet uses the combined monthly income of the parties and matches that number with the number of children in the Child Support Guidelines Chart. The worksheet then accounts for any adjustments or deviations warranted before coming out with a presumptive amount of child support.

If you are asking for child support, the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet must be filled out and filed with the petition/complaint for divorce or the answer. However, if you do not know the other party’s income, you may wait until the other party serves their financial affidavit upon you before submitting a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. Filling out the child support worksheet is a necessary part of determining the amount of child support owed in any Tampa or Orlando divorce and throughout Florida. 

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet: Calculating Net Income

When filling out the worksheet, the first thing you will need to calculate is you and your spouse’s combined net income. To calculate net income, you must first determine the gross income for both spouses. If that is not possible, then income may need to be imputed to a particular spouse. (Learn more about what gross income is here and learn more about what imputed income is here.) Next you will take the gross income for both parties and subtract allowable deductions to come up with the net income number. (Learn more about allowable deductions and calculating net income here). Take both spouses’ net income and combine them.

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet:  Child Support Guidelines Chart

Next, determine the total number of minor children for which child support is being calculated. Take the combined net income number and match that number with the number of children in the chart. When you match net income with the number of minor children, you will see a presumptive amount of child support. That is the total amount of child support for both parents before any adjustments or deviations.

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet:  Determining how much a Particular Parent Pays

To determine how much a particular parent pays, you must determine each parent’s percentage share. Each parent’s percentage share of the child support need shall be determined by dividing each parent’s net monthly income by the combined net monthly income.

Each parent’s actual dollar share of the total minimum child support need shall be determined by multiplying the minimum child support need (total amount of child support - number in chart) by each parent’s percentage share of the combined monthly net income.

 Practice Pointer - Who Pays Child Support?

Generally, a determination regarding which parent physically has the child living with them more of the time must be made. The parent who physically has parenting time with the children less of the time is the non-residential parent. Usually, it is the non-residential parent that pays child support to the other parent. 

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet: Work Related Child Care and Health Insurance

Next, amounts related to work related child care and health insurance for the child can be added to the amount.

Regarding work related child care costs, Fla. Stat. § 61.30(7) states:

Child care costs incurred due to employment, job search, or education calculated to result in employment or to enhance income of current employment of either parent shall be added to the basic obligation. After the child care costs are added, any moneys prepaid by a parent for child care costs for the child or children of this action shall be deducted from that parent’s child support obligation for that child or those children. Child care costs may not exceed the level required to provide quality care from a licensed source.

Regarding amounts paid for child’s health insurance and uncovered medical, dental, and prescription medication expenses of the child, Fla. Stat. § 61.30(8) states that those amounts:

shall be added to the basic obligation unless these expenses have been ordered to be separately paid on a percentage basis. After the health insurance costs are added to the basic obligation, any moneys prepaid by a parent for health-related costs for the child or children of this action shall be deducted from that parent’s child support obligation for that child or those children.

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet: Adjustments & Deviations

There several ways the child support amount can be adjusted. The judge may adjust the amount up or down a certain percentage after consideration of factors. The amount may also be adjusted to take into account certain situations by using deviations. The amount may also be adjusted if the paying parent physically has the children for a larger percentage of time. To learn more about deviations and adjustments in general click here. Otherwise, here are links our pages on specific adjustments and deviations

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