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Average Child Support Payment
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How Much is the Average Child Support Payment?

Child Support Questions: Learn About Average Payments Now

How much is the average child support payment in Florida? This question worries many parents. Child support payments can vary widely, creating financial stress and uncertainty. Understanding what to expect is crucial. 

The average child support payment depends on several factors, and knowing it helps parents plan better for their children’s needs. 

If you’re facing this issue, understanding these guidelines and averages can make the process less confusing and help you manage your finances effectively.

Quick Summary:

  • To determine child support in Florida, the courts consider each parent’s net income, which is their income after deductions like taxes and retirement savings. The combined net income is then compared to a state chart to find the support amount, which varies based on the number of children. 
  • Florida family courts consider several factors when deciding child support, including the child’s healthcare and educational needs, each parent’s net income, and the child’s future needs.
  • Sometimes, following the standard guidelines for child support isn’t practical, so judges can adjust the amount based on fairness. Other factors that can impact child support include a child’s disability, age, mental and medical needs, changes in a parent’s income, and any money the child earns.
  • When calculating child support, parents must include various types of income. That includes salary, bonuses, commissions, interest, business income, disability benefits, retirement benefits, spousal support from a previous marriage, and income from royalties, trusts, and estates.
  • When calculating income for child support in Florida, certain deductions are allowed to determine the final amount. These deductions include taxes, healthcare payments, daycare costs, union dues, spousal support, mandatory retirement payments, and federal insurance payments, which lower the total income used by the court to decide child support.
  • If you’re filing for divorce in Florida, you can request child support as part of that process. Any agreement must also be approved by a judge. If you aren’t married to your child’s other parent, you can apply for support through the Florida Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program or petition for support by yourself.
  • When Florida judges order child support, they must issue an “income deduction order,” requiring the paying parent’s employer to deduct the support amount from their income. 
  •  You can file a Petition for Modification of Child Support to change the amount of child support. The judge will need to see a significant change in circumstances, like a big change in income, a permanent disability, or a major change in parenting time, and that the change is in the child’s best interests. You can also ask the Child Support Program to review your order if it hasn’t been changed in the last three years and isn’t ending within six months, and you can show a big change in your life.
  • Changes in family dynamics and parents’ incomes can affect child support if the changes are significant. To modify child support in Florida, the change in income must be at least 10%, and significant changes in timesharing, such as the custodial parent needing extra help, can also affect the support amount.
  • The average time frame for a new child support case in Florida is six to eight months, and it will be faster if both parents fully cooperate. Enforcing an existing order usually takes less time, averaging four to six months.
  • Retroactive child support in Florida covers financial support owed for a time before an official child support order is set up. It can be awarded for up to 24 months before filing a support petition and considers parents’ income and child-related expenses, like healthcare, education, and childcare, during that period.

How Much is the Average Child Support Payment in Florida?

The courts view each parent’s net income when deciding on child support. Net income, or “take-home pay,” is what’s left after deductions like taxes and retirement savings. Once the combined net income of both parents is calculated, it is compared to a chart in Florida law

This chart shows how much child support should be paid based on the number of children. For instance, if the parents together make $3,600 per month and have one child, the support amount is $757. If they have two children, the support amount goes up to $1,179. For three children, the support amount increases to $1,475.

What Factors Are Considered When Determining Child Support?

The Florida family courts look at many things when deciding how much child support should be paid. They consider the child’s healthcare and educational needs, the net income of each parent, and any future needs of the child

What Other Factors Can Impact the Amount of Child Support?

Sometimes, following the standard guidelines isn’t practical. For example, if the parents together earn $5,000, and one parent only makes $1,000 of that, it wouldn’t be fair to make them pay all their income for child support. In such cases, judges can decide on a lower amount. 

Similarly, if a parent earns much more and can afford it, they might have to pay more. Many other factors are also considered by the family courts to determine child support, including:

  • A need to support a child with a disability
  • The child’s age
  • The child’s mental and medical needs
  • Regular changes in a parent’s income, like with seasonal work
  • Any money the child earns

What Do I Include in My Income When Calculating Child Support?

The types of income considered for each parent include (but are not limited to):

  • Salary or wages, bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and other small payments
  • Interest and dividends earned
  • Business income from self-employment, partnerships, small corporations, and independent contracts
  • Disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and unemployment compensation
  • Pension or retirement and Social Security benefits
  • Spousal support received from a previous marriage
  • Income earned from royalties, trusts, and estates

What are Allowable Deductions for Calculating Income for Child Support?

When parents ask, “How does child support work in Florida?” They often wonder how their final income is calculated. There are certain deductions allowed to determine the final amount. These include:

  • Federal, state, and local income tax deductions
  • Personal healthcare payments and healthcare premiums for the children
  • Daycare costs for the children
  • Union dues
  • Spousal support and child support from a previous marriage
  • Mandatory retirement payments
  • Federal insurance payments

These deductions lower the total income that the court uses to decide child support payments. That is especially crucial when the court calculates the net income of both parents.

How Can I Apply for Child Support in Florida?

If you’re filing for divorce in Florida, you can request child support during that process. Parents often agree on an amount of child support as part of a divorce settlement. You must submit your agreement for a judge to approve. If the amount is different from the guideline, explain why this agreement is in your child’s best interests.

If you aren’t married to your child’s other parent, you can apply for support through the Florida Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program. The program can help establish paternity and set up a child support order. You can also petition for support by yourself without dissolving the marriage.

How Can I Collect Child Support in Florida?

When Florida judges order child support, they must also issue an “income deduction order.” This order requires the paying parent’s employer to take the support amount directly from that parent’s income

The Child Support Program can help you collect payments if you’re not receiving any. The program uses many enforcement methods, including:

  • Wage withholding
  • Taking income tax refunds, workers’ compensation benefits, and reemployment benefits
  • Reporting debt to credit bureaus
  • Taking money from bank accounts
  • Putting liens on property (like vehicles, boats, and real estate)
  • Suspending licenses
  • Holding the parent who isn’t paying in contempt of court

How Can I Change the Amount of Child Support?

You can ask a judge to change a child support order by filing a Petition for Modification of Child Support. The judge will need to find:

  • There has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last order.
  • The change is in the best interests of the child.

A substantial change in circumstances might include a big change in either parent’s income, a permanent disability, or a major change in the family’s parenting-time arrangement. 

You can ask the Child Support Program to review your current support order to see if a change is needed if your support order isn’t ending within six months and:

  • Your support order hasn’t been changed or reviewed in the last three years.
  • You can show a big change in your life. 

Can Timesharing and Income Changes Affect Child Support?

It is common for family dynamics and parents’ incomes to change over time. Does that mean child support will change? Maybe. The changes must be big enough for the court to consider them. 

If you want to modify Florida child support, the change in either parent’s income must be at least 10%. That could happen with a job promotion or career change. Similarly, if there is a significant decrease in pay, that can be addressed too. 

It is recommended to get legal counsel before going to court. Also, if timesharing has significantly changed—like if the custodial parent becomes physically unwell and needs extra help—that can affect the amount of child support.

How Long Does the Child Support Process Take in Florida?

The average time frame for a new case is six to eight months. It will be faster if both parents fully cooperate. Enforcing an existing order usually takes less time, averaging four to six months.

What is Retroactive Child Support?

Retroactive child support in Florida deals with the financial support owed for a time before a child support order is officially set up. That is critical when there is a delay in formalizing child support after parents separate or when paternity is established later.

Florida law allows retroactive child support to be awarded for up to 24 months before filing a support petition. This period is calculated from the date when the parents stopped living together.

The amount of retroactive child support follows the same guidelines as regular child support. It considers the parents’ income during the retroactive period, which can be tricky if the income changes often.

When calculating retroactive child support, the court considers expenses related to the child’s care during that time. That includes past healthcare, education, and childcare costs.

Trusted Legal Assistance for Florida Child Support Payments

Understanding how much the average child support payment in Florida can feel overwhelming. At Figueroa Law Group, we know this process is necessary for the parents and children. Our legal team is here to offer clear guidance and support every step of the way. 

We will help you understand the guidelines and factors that affect your child support payments, ensuring your children’s needs are met. If you need help with child support issues, Figueroa Law Group is ready to assist you. Our trusted family law attorneys are dedicated to helping families find fair solutions. 

Contact our law firm today for compassionate and professional legal support. We can also represent you in Paternity, Collaborative Law, and Injunction. Let us guide you through this challenging time with care and dedication.

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