Like other states, Florida uses Child Support Guidelines to direct family law judges who are intending to order a parent to pay child support.
These Guidelines in many cases are pretty straightforward. Theoretically, they are supposed to ensure that child support payments are consistent across the state for all parents in similar financial situations.
On many if not most occasions, because of these Guidelines, parents in Broward County are able to agree on child support pretty quickly.
However, even with Guidelines, sometimes child support can be hard to calculate. Spouses may even get into arguments in some cases, such as when there is a dispute over a parent’s income.
In Florida, for child support purposes, income includes a wide range of benefits beyond a person’s paycheck. Income includes, for example, profit from a business, certain Social Security Benefits, and income from rental properties or the like.
Even some gifts, depreciation may count as income under Florida law
Also, even some items that do not normally get taxed may count as income for child support purposes. For example, if a person earns income from a business, she may subtract what the law calls ordinary and necessary expenses, including the cost of supplies, rent and the like.
However, even if he could claim additional deductions for things like depreciation on his taxes, a parent with a business may not be able to use depreciation or other common tax deductions as a reason to reduce his child support obligation.
Florida law also considers certain regular payments and in kind benefits as income for child support purposes. Basically, if a parent is receiving a benefit that reduces her living expenses, it can count as income. One common example of this type of benefit is a parent who is living rent free at a relative’s property.
It can be difficult to figure out exactly how much a parent makes if he or she makes income from a business investments or other sources aside from a regular paycheck. Sometimes, determining child support in these types of cases is an involved legal process.