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A Family Law Firm
  • Deena Soliman Braun

How to Calculate Child Support in Florida

Calculating child support can be a complex process, but it's crucial for ensuring the well-being of children following a separation or divorce. In Florida, child support is determined by guidelines set forth in state law, which consider various factors including the parents' incomes, the needs of the child, and the time each parent spends with the child. This blog post will guide you through the steps to calculate child support in Florida.

Step 1: Determining Gross Income in How to calculate Child Support

The first step in calculating child support is determining each parent's gross income. Gross income includes:

  • Wages and salaries: This is the most common form of income and includes all pre-tax earnings from employment.

  • Bonuses, commissions, and tips: Any additional earnings from work.

  • Self-employment income: Net earnings from a business or freelance work.

  • Alimony received: From previous marriages.

  • Investment income: Includes dividends, interest, and rental income.

  • Other sources: Such as social security benefits, unemployment compensation, and disability benefits.

Step 2: Adjust Gross Income

Next, you need to adjust the gross income by deducting specific expenses, including:

  • Taxes: Federal, state, and local taxes.

  • Mandatory retirement payments: Payments to retirement plans that are required by law or as a condition of employment.

  • Health insurance premiums: Specifically for the parent, not including the portion that covers the child.

  • Court-ordered child support for other children: Payments made for children from other relationships.

  • Alimony paid: From previous marriages.

Step 3: Combine Adjusted Gross Incomes

Add the adjusted gross incomes of both parents to get a combined income. This combined income is used to determine the basic child support obligation from the Florida Child Support Guidelines chart.

Step 4: Determine Basic Child Support Obligation

Florida provides a child support guideline chart that lists the basic child support obligation based on the number of children and the combined income of the parents. This chart helps determine the base amount of child support needed.

Step 5: Allocate Support Based on Income Shares

Each parent’s share of the child support obligation is proportional to their income. To calculate this:

  1. Divide each parent’s individual adjusted gross income by the combined adjusted gross income.

  2. Multiply the basic child support obligation by each parent's percentage share of the combined income.

Step 6: Adjust for Parenting Time

Florida’s child support guidelines also account for the amount of time each parent spends with the child. If one parent has the child for a significant amount of overnight stays (usually more than 20% of the year), the child support amount may be adjusted.

Step 7: Add Health Insurance and Child Care Costs

Both health insurance for the child and work-related child care costs are added to the basic child support obligation. These costs are typically divided between the parents according to their income shares.

Step 8: Final Child Support Amount

The final step is to combine the basic support obligation, adjusted for parenting time, with any additional expenses like health insurance and child care. This total amount is the monthly child support payment.

Example Calculation

Let’s illustrate with a simplified example:

  • Parent A’s gross income: $4,000 per month

  • Parent B’s gross income: $3,000 per month

Step 1 & 2: Adjusted gross incomes:

  • Parent A: $4,000 (assuming no deductions for simplicity)

  • Parent B: $3,000 (assuming no deductions for simplicity)

Step 3: Combined income: $7,000

Step 4: Basic child support obligation from the guideline chart for one child: $1,500

Step 5: Allocate support:

  • Parent A’s share: $4,000 / $7,000 = 57.14%

  • Parent B’s share: $3,000 / $7,000 = 42.86%

  • Parent A’s obligation: 57.14% of $1,500 = $857.10

  • Parent B’s obligation: 42.86% of $1,500 = $642.90

Step 6: Adjust for parenting time (if applicable).

Step 7: Add health insurance and child care costs (if applicable).

Step 8: Final child support amount, adjusted for any additional costs and parenting time considerations.


Calculating child support in Florida involves several steps, from determining each parent’s income to considering parenting time and additional expenses. While the process can seem daunting, understanding the guidelines and steps can help ensure that children receive the financial support they need. For specific cases, consulting with a family law attorney or using Florida’s online child support calculator can provide more accurate and personalized calculations.

By following these guidelines, parents can work towards a fair and just child support arrangement that meets the needs of their children.


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