Calculating Alimony and Child Support
Alimony and child support are court-ordered payments that are made from one spouse to another after a divorce. After a careful examination of the finances of both parties, a Florida court will make the determination of how much is owed for both alimony and child support.
Determination of Income in Florida
Part of the process of determining alimony and/or child support payments is to understand the full financial picture of both parties. The court will request that both parties submit detailed information regarding all of their wages and income. Evidence that can be provided includes W-2 earnings statements, pay stubs from an employer, or other evidence of financial earnings.
In some cases, one party may completely quit their job in an attempt to completely avoid paying alimony or child support. In other cases, a party may decide to only work part-time instead of full-time work that they are capable of, in order to avoid making these mandatorily required payments.
In these cases, the court will “impute” income to this party. In these cases, the court will assume that a party has a certain amount of wages or income, even if they actually do not have that income. The court examines several factors including education, physical condition, emotional condition and previous employment and determines what their income should be, instead of what it actually is. When a party is making a clear attempt to avoid their legal responsibility to pay either alimony or child support, the court will make the determination to impute income.
The state of Florida determines and calculates the net income of each party by taking the gross income of the parents and then subtracting the following:
- Federal, medicare and FICA taxes
- Union dues
- Mandatory retirement
- Health insurance coverage cost
- Alimony payments (as indicated above)
- Any child support from another case
The state of Florida does not adhere to an exact mathematical calculation regarding alimony payment. The court has a very wide discretionary ability to make the determination in the following areas:
- Entitlement to alimony
- Duration of alimony
- Amount of alimony
- Type of alimony
The standard of living that both parties had during the marriage and prior to the divorce is the standard that is used. Courts will also look at the physical condition of the parties, emotional condition, the duration of the marriage, the age of the parties, the financial resources of each party, the earning capacities of both parties, the contributions each party made during the marriage, and the upcoming responsibilities each party will have with respect to minor children.
Child Support Calculations
If you are paying alimony as described in the previous section, then your income will be adjusted to reflect that and will be reduced by that amount. Therefore, if you owe child support, those payments will be reduced. Florida uses a prescribed formula that is based on the net incomes and the number of overnight visits spent by the child (or children) with each parent to determine child support amounts.
Let Us Help You Today
Contacting an experienced divorce attorney will help you understand how your income will affect any alimony or child support payments, or how much you will be entitled to based on the guidelines in Florida. Call the Fort Lauderdale family attorneys at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A. today at 954-467-6656 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation.