Although a federal law requires each state to establish child support guidelines and review them every four years, each state applies a specific method to calculate the amount an individual owes to the custodial parent. These amounts fluctuate over time, as both the child’s needs and ability of the individual legally obligated to pay change. Cases arise, however, in which a court can enforce retroactive child support to address inaccuracies in calculation of assets or failure to abide by agreements previously made between the parties.
Child support calculations in Florida
Florida uses the most common of the three methods for calculating child support. Under the income share model, the combination of both parents’ income determines basic child support. After additional expenses are included, a percentage of the combined income provides a prorated obligation owed to the child. In Florida, child support for monthly income exceeding $10,000 dollars is calculated by a percentage based on the number of children. The percentage ranges from 5 to 12.5%.
A court case reveals how a court analyzes retroactive child support. A wife appealed a lower court’s ruling on dissolution of marriage. Among several other issues that were raised, the wife alleged the trial court failed to award her more than $9,000 in retroactive child support. She contended that the husband swore to make a weekly payment of $335 for both her and the child. The husband countered that the support amount was for the child only.
The court noted the husband’s testimony in the lower court in which he had acknowledged throughout earlier proceedings that the $335 weekly support represented an amount split between the child and ex-wife. In addition, the court cited state law that permits retroactive child support as far back as 24 months provided the parents did not reside together, even if either party had filed a petition for divorce.
State calculations for child support do not exclusively apply only to the present circumstances. The law considers the financial needs of both the custodial parent and child, as well as the financial assets of the one obligated to pay as they were, not merely as they are. An attorney familiar with how to apply the law can offer guidance.