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What factors do Florida judges consider regarding child support?

Child support is one of the biggest things to be addressed during any divorce in Florida. No matter where you stand on this personally -- whether you want to get support or whether you may need to pay it out -- it is important to understand exactly how the system works and what factors play into the equation. Below are some of the things -- though not all -- that judges are going to consider when deciding who has to pay and how much needs to be paid.

First of all, the judge is simply going to look at the income levels for both you and your spouse. Naturally, this begins with your wages and, if they are hourly, how many hours you work. However, the judge may also consider things like yearly bonuses, performance bonuses and other earnings.

Next, the judge will look at government support that is coming in. For example, do you get disability benefits or benefits for social security? These are also considered under earnings.

The court then refers to a chart that indicates how much money is needed for each child each month. This chart has specific dollar amounts that are needed for each child for those with a combined income between $800 and $10,000.

Then, the judge looks at who makes a larger percent of the combined monthly income and determines that the parent with the larger percentage has to pay child support based on that percentage. For instance, if the child needs $2,000 and one parent makes 60 percent of the money, they may need to pay $1,200.

In this fashion, the parent who makes a smaller percentage is still contributing to the care of the children -- with $800 in the hypothetical example above -- but the other parent simply has to contribute more due to the fact that he or she earns more.

Source: The Florida Senate, "Child support guidelines; retroactive child support" Oct. 21, 2014

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