Florida Child Support Calculations: When Parents Split Up Children 50/50

 In Law Planet

babyIn Florida, child support is calculated per Florida statute 61.30. It is usually a relatively simple mathematical calculation based on the parties’ monthly net incomes, the children’s health insurance expenses, day care/aftercare expenses and the number of overnights the children spend with a particular parent. But what happens when the parties split up the children such that each parent can be said to have at least one child equally or for a majority of the time? How does child support gets calculated in that situation? A recent appellate court decision reversed a trial court’s erroneous calculations and explained how such support situations should be handled.

In the Florida 5th district Court of Appeal opinion of Terkeurst v. Terkeurst an explanation is provided on the mathematical formula to be used when children are split between parents. In situations where the time sharing is split equally between two children, then the parents owe each other one half of the child support payable for two children. But this only applies if the overnights with each parent are actually equal. If the overnights are some other percentage, then the same mathematical formula applies, just with a different number. So, if each parent has a child 60% of the overnights (the typical every other weekend and one night on the off week schedule), then the other parent pays 40% of the calculated child support. Obviously, since both parents are going to be paying the other some amount of child support, the two payments should offset each other so that only one parent is actually writing a check each month.

When you start factoring in health insurance premium costs for the two children, the formula can start getting a little dicey, but it isn’t unfathomable. The same thing can be said for aftercare or babysitting expenses. It’s simply a matter of applying the other parent’s percentage to the numbers. I would recommend anyone still confused, to read this opinion and sit down with pad and paper (how old-fashioned is that!) and try calculating different variables.

Click here for a worksheet that may be able to help too.

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Serge Bertasius Photography

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