Correctly Calculating Both Parents’ Income to Achieve a Proper Amount of Child Support

Whether you are a parent with majority timesharing, have minority timesharing or have a 50-50 arrangement, child support can have a very important impact on your ability to provide for your child and, especially if you are the minority timesharing parent, maintain a close relationship with that child. With that in mind, arriving at a fair and just amount of child support can be very important for all members of your family. To help with these and other elements of divorce, be certain you have the representation you need from a skilled South Florida family law attorney.

When it comes to calculating child support, there are guidelines for making that determination. However, even with pre-existing guidelines, the calculation relies upon certain information that isn’t pre-set, like determining the amount of income each parent makes. This is one area, among several, where the potential for errors exists, and those errors have the possibility to cause you great harm.

The recent case of a family from Central Florida provides a useful example. R.M. and C.M. had a 50-50 timesharing arrangement regarding their two minor children. Even with equal timesharing, one parent may still be entitled to an award of child support if the other parent makes more money. In this case, the trial court determined that C.M., the mother, made $107,761. R.M., the father, had been recently involuntarily terminated from his job at a bank. He had just started a brand-new medical underwriting company. The company had one client and had invoiced that client the sum of $7,200 for a job that, the court concluded, took one month to perform.

Based on that evidence, the court simply multiplied $7,200 by 12 (months) and concluded that the father’s annual income was $86,400. As a result, the court ordered the mother to pay only $63 per month in child support.

The father argued that this was an erroneous calculation and the appeals court agreed with him. The trial court’s computation had one major problem rooted in the law. The statute, Section 61.30, says that a parent’s business’s income equals “gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.”

In R.M.’s case, the court extrapolated the underwriting company’s one month of gross receipts and multiplied it by 12. That simply produced an amount of annual gross receipts. The trial court’s computation, however, failed to account for the business’s ordinary and necessary expenses and to subtract them from the gross receipts. Without that subtraction, the income calculation was legally erroneous.

Another thing that can play an important role in supporting your child is paying medical expenses not covered by insurance. Florida law is clear that, unless there is some good basis for doing differently, “collateral” expenses like uncovered medical expenses should be assigned to each spouse according to his/her portion of child support. In other words, if the court’s calculations of each parent’s income and each parent’s timesharing led the court declare the mother 60% responsible and the father 40%, then uncovered medical expenses should also be paid by each parent on a 60-40 basis.

In R.M.’s case, the mother clearly bore the responsibility for providing more than 50% of the support of the children (even with the erroneously large calculation of the father’s income, the court still had the mother providing 53% of the support and the father 47%). So when the trial court ordered the parents to pay uncovered medical expenses on a 50-50 basis, that was legally flawed, according to the appeals court.

Child support can be complicated, legally, financially and emotionally, but it is important to fight determinedly when the court orders you to pay too much or receive too little in child support. To get the workable outcome your family deserves, retain the South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. Our attorneys have been providing clients with thoughtful advice and useful solutions for many years. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.

More blog posts:

What Happens to My Florida Child Support Obligation When One of My Children Moves in With Me?, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2018

What You Need to Prove in Order to Count Your Business Losses in Your Florida Child Support Calculation, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2018

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