child support

How is child support calculated?

Florida Statute 61.30 governs child support. The statute details what amounts are the full obligation for a parent when you look at combined monthly net income of both parties. For example, if the mother and father earn, after taxes are deducted, an income of $2,000 per month, the total child support obligation is $442 for one child. The table details amounts up to 6 children.

In paternity and divorce cases, the Circuit Court typically handles establishing a child support obligation considering the parties' parenting plan and schedule. In these Circuit Court cases, both parties' gross incomes (before taxes and deductions) are looked at. Then, allowable deductions, including dependency exemptions, the parents' health insurance payments, the parents' mandatory retirement contributions, etc., are taken from the gross income. After, we are left with both parties' net income (after taxes and deductions). The Court considers if either party is paying for the children's child care expenses, uncovered medical and health expenses on an ongoing basis, and the children's health insurance. The Court also uses what's called a "gross up" method to account for overnights of the parties. At the bottom of the calculation, we are left with both parties' child support obligations.

This blog post is informational and not intended to provide legal advice in any way whatsoever. This post does not create a relationship between the reader and Bouchard Law, P.A.

Why your case is probably not an "uncontested" divorce.

I often have folks visit me and state their case is an "uncontested" simplified divorce. I tell them it probably is not.

What exactly qualifies as simplified under Florida law? 

Generally, most divorces are contested one way or other. Simplified divorce involves no children, no alimony or spousal support, and, generally, no conflict whatsoever. The parties go to the Clerk of Court to jointly file the Petition for Simplified Dissolution. Most of these cases do not involve lawyers. Our firm finds that a simplified proceeding is a useful tool when the parties have not been married long and they do not own any assets nor have any joint liabilities (financial debts). The parties are not required to have financial disclosure, but are required to attend a final hearing. The parties also give up their right to a trial and the opportunity to examine/cross-exam the other parties and witnesses.

From the Florida Bar Consumer Pamphlet: Divorce in Florida

Not everyone can use the simplified procedure. Couples can use the simplified dissolution of marriage only if all the following requirements are met: 

· Both parties agree to the use of this form of dissolution proceeding.
· They have no minor (under 18) or dependent children.
· They have no adopted children under the age of 18.
· Neither party is pregnant.
· At least one of the parties has lived in Florida for the past six months.
· The parties have agreed on the division of all of their property (assets) and obligations (debts).
· Neither party is seeking alimony.
· Both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. 


If you and your spouse cannot meet all of the above requirements, you will have to follow the procedure of the regular dissolution of marriage process.

Where people run into problems when filing a simplified dissolution is when they fail to recognize and address their legal needs and rights thoroughly. For example, parties fail to recognize that pets are considered personal property under Florida law. If the parties do not address who retains the pet upon a simplified dissolution, generally, the pro se (the Clerk-provided, do-it-yourself) marital settlement agreement provides that personal property will stay with the person it is currently with. Then, later on, you'll find yourself in small claims court attempting to resolve the issue of who gets the dog, which should have been resolved via your divorce. Other issues that people fail to address involve changing titles/registrations on vehicles, relinquishing their property rights in homes and land, health insurance/care needs, and other types of support.

If you have questions about your case, give us a call at (941) 764-1146 to schedule a free consultation.