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Can judges deviate from the child support guidelines?

| Dec 24, 2020 | Child Support |

Raising children in Florida is not always an easy job. There are many decisions that parents need to make for the children and it can also be difficult to ensure they are following the right path. It can also be costly. Parents need to provide for their children’s basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. However, they also need to pay for health insurance, medical expenses, extracurricular expenses and other expenses for their children.

Parents are required to pay for these expenses whether they are married or divorced. If they are divorced though how the parents pay for these expenses changes. Usually one parent pays for the various expenses and the other parent will be required to pay child support to that parent to pay for their share of the expenses. The amount that the parents pay depends on the net incomes of the parents and other factors. It usually determined using the child support guidelines.

Factors used to deviate from the guidelines

Judges are allowed to order a different amount than the guidelines state though and these are known as deviations. Generally, they are allowed to order amounts within 5% of the guideline amount, unless the circumstances call for a greater deviation.

In determining whether to deviate from the guidelines, judges will analyze a number of factors. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Extraordinary medical or educational expenses for the child
  • Money the child receives for social security
  • Seasonal changes in the parent’s income
  • Total assets available to each parent
  • Situations when parents have parenting plans which provide a significant amount of a time with a parent, but not 20% of the overnights
  • Other factors which affect the parent’s ability to pay the guideline amount

Many parents in Florida are divorced. During the divorce process a child support amount will be ordered. What that amount will be depends on a number of different factors. Even once the guideline amount is determined there still could be a deviation from that amount. Experienced attorneys understand the circumstances that could result in a deviation from the guidelines either up or down and could guide one through the process.