While the determination of child support is often referred to as "just a formula," this isn't entirely true. While the state of Florida does have a worksheet that takes the parents' income and other factors and calculates the required amount of child support, there are several reasons why the child support ordered is not the same as the worksheet amount. When this happens, it is called a deviation.
One of the most common reasons for a child support deviation is for time spent with the child. If the noncustodial parent spends more time with the child than in most cases, the child support may be lowered to account for the parent contributing more to the child's daily care expenses during parenting time. The amount of time usually required to consider a deviation for time spent is at least 20 percent of overnights a year.
Other factors the court may consider for a child support deviation include extraordinary expenses, which can be medical, educational, psychological or dental, and any expenses association with a child who is disabled or special needs. How old the child is may also factor in as well as whether the child is bringing in an independent income.
While these are some of the common reasons for a child support deviation, it's important to remember that even if these or additional factors are present, the courts do not have to do the deviation. If you believe that your situation would indicate a deviation in the normal child support amount, it's important to talk with an attorney to make sure you understand what the process will be and are fully prepared to make your case.
Source: The Florida Senate, "2011 Florida Statutes," accessed July 08, 2015