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What is the Florida Child Support Guideline Model?


It is well-established that both parents have a duty to support the children they have in common, and that the obligation is usually owed by the parent who does not have primary residential custody. However, you might not realize that US states have different child support guideline models that are used to calculate the amount. Florida’s child support statute states the guiding principle for these cases, namely that the parents’ combined income is allocated to the child as if the entire family remained under the same roof.

In the practice of law, this formula is known as income shares. It is applied in child support cases in 41 US states, with slightly differing provisions in each jurisdiction. Since the calculation will play an important role in what you will be paying or receiving, you should get a general understanding of how it works. Your Dade City child support attorney will handle details, but an overview of income shares is useful.

Basics of Income Shares for Child Support: The key with this method for determining child support is the gross income of both parents, including:

  • Salary, wages, bonuses, commissions, and tips;
  • Income from ownership in a business;
  • Disability and Social Security benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation payments;
  • Income from pensions or retirement;
  • Dividends and interest; and,
  • Much more.

Deductions are allowed to reduce the amount of income, such as payment of income taxes, health insurance premiums, and court-ordered support for other children. Note that spousal support is included in income for the recipient BUT allowed as a deduction for the payor.

 Other Models for Child Support: The contrast to the income shares formula is the percentage of income model, which does not account for the residential parent’s income at all. Instead, support is set as a percentage of the paying parent’s income. US states that apply this rule use either a flat or varying percentage based upon the circumstances.

Another model is the Melson formula, named for a child support case in which the court applied a variation of income shares. It adds provisions to ensure each parent’s basic needs are satisfied after payment of the support amount.

 Agreements on Child Support: Income shares is the only model used in Florida, but parents do have some limited  flexibility if they can agree on child support. You will need to convince the judge that a deviation from the amount calculated under income shares is appropriate. A deviation that increases child support will likely be approved. A court will deny the request if the amount is lower than what would be paid through the income shares model.

 Contact a Florida Child Support Lawyer to Learn More

The complications of the income shares model should persuade you that it is important to have a legal advocate on your side. For more information, please call The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane at 352-567-0055 or visit us online. We can set up a consultation with a Pasco County child support attorney who will explain the details and options for agreements.


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