Child Support Deductions in Florida
Child support, as you may have already figured out by filling out your Financial Affidavit (short form or long form), is largely based on what is determined to be your net income. Gross and net income are different. Gross income is the sum total of all of your monthly income from all revenue sources that qualify under Florida and Federal law. Net income is the amount of money you net/make after taxes and other allowable deductions, most or all of which are clearly specified on both the Affidavit and Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. Let’s delve into child support deductions in Florida including mandatory contributions and alimony.
Alimony and Child Support Deductions in Florida
One of the most significant child support deductions in Florida you may be eligible to subtract from your gross income is the court-ordered child support you pay because of another case (i.e. you have another child or children, and the court has ordered you to make monthly child support payments). Careful, if you make voluntary payments that are not the result of a court-order (many people do this because they love their children and/or because they used to have a private arrangement without court intervention or oversite), those payments generally do not qualify as one of the child support deductions in Florida. It is also important to note that if you have been ordered to pay child support as a result of a previous case, and you have not made your payments (resulting in arrearages or past due payments that must be made), those would-be payments may not qualify as a child support deduction in your present case. You only receive “credit” if you pay. Court-orders are not to be taken lightly. There are real consequences for failures of payment. This same principle applies to alimony. Alimony paid from a current or previous relationship may qualify as a deduction provided those payments are timely made.
Mandatory Union and Retirement Deductions
Recently, a client asked me if their 401K and IRA contributions qualify as standard child support deductions in Florida. Although every case is different, generally speaking, unless the retirement payments are MANDATORY (some corporate jobs and public-sector jobs require contributions toward/for retirement), they are considered voluntary and thus do not qualify as child support deductions in Florida. The same applies to union dues. If they are not MANDATORY (subtracted from your paycheck as a condition of your employment), in the eyes of the court, any payments you make to the union are voluntary and do not qualify as a deduction.