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Mark Abzug

What are deviation factors in Florida child support guidelines?

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2021 | Child Support

In a Florida divorce, there might be a preconceived notion that the law will be relatively clear-cut as to how certain issues will be settled. That can include property division, alimony, child custody and child support. However, since every situation is different, there will inevitably be subtleties as to how the case is handled. There are fundamental guidelines with child support and it is based on many factors including parents’ income, the child’s needs and more. It can also be adjusted based on deviating factors. Knowing when this might happen is critical for the parent who is paying support (the obligor) and the parent who is receiving it (the obligee).

Understanding child support deviation factors

According to state law, the court can deviate from the child support guidelines. If the basic needs escalate to extraordinary expenses – including medical care, psychological treatment, education and dental expenses – this will warrant a deviation. If the child earns income on his or her own and not from supplemental security income (SSI), this can impact the child support award. Many parents work the types of jobs where their income fluctuates based on the season. If this is shown to be the case, the child support order may be adjusted accordingly.

Children who have some form of disability will likely have greater needs. If the family budget covered it, then the child support order may exceed the presumptive amount. Assets of both parents and the child will be gauged to come to a fair determination regardless of the guidelines. Tax credits are considered with the child support order. When parents are ordered to pay more than 55% of their gross income based on the guidelines, it could result in a deviation. The parenting plan can also be part of the child support order if there is a time-sharing agreement and the financial expenses of the other parent are reduced because of it.

Those seeking a deviation from the guidelines should have professional guidance

The primary objective in a child support order is to reach a fair result and for the child to be adequately cared for based on need. That might not be achievable when using the basic guidelines. If parents believe there should be a deviation in the child support order, it is important to have professional assistance from the start. Discussing the case with those who have experience in complex family law cases can be helpful to achieving the desired result.