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Factors that influence child support amounts

Each and every child is legally entitled to financial support from both parents. This financial obligation is applicable even when the parents never married or one parent does not choose to take an active part in raising his or her child. In Florida, when parents end a relationship and no longer live together, one parent may be required to pay child support to the other.

Child support guidelines are based on the incomes and living expenses of both parents, and the guidelines take into the account any other needs related to the children. Typically, child support is calculated as a percentage based on the income of the paying parent. This number increases proportionally if more children are being supported. The amount is calculated after both parents complete a financial statement, which lists the income as well as the expenses of each parent.

One of the main factors that affects a parent's child support payment is the determination of that parent's income. It is essential for parents to understand which funds are considered income as well as those that are excluded. Typically, courts look at sources of money besides salary and wages, including pensions, government benefits, gifts and prizes, annuities as well as disbursements from a trust or estate.

In Florida, these are not the only factors that ultimately affect the determination of a parent's child support payment. Depending on unique circumstances, a judge may sometimes evaluate other factors before ordering the payment, provided it would be fair to both parents and, of course, in the child's best interests. When Florida residents have questions about how child support payments are calculated, they typically consult an experienced divorce attorney who can provide legal advice and defend the parent's interests for their child in a family court when necessary.

Source: FindLaw, "How much child support will you pay?", Accessed on Dec. 27, 2015

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