Like other states, Florida uses set Guidelines for determining child support. These Guidelines take into account each parent’s income, certain expenses and other factors when setting out the formula judges in this state use to determine the proper amount of child support.
Sometimes, such as when one or both parents each have one job with a regular paycheck and no other income, the calculation can be fairly straightforward.
High earners frequently receive income from a variety of sources
However, people who earn a lot of income and hold many and diverse assets frequently receive income from many sources outside of their full-time job, and this makes calculating child support both more difficult and more contentious.
For example, some of the wealthiest people in the Fort Meyers area will own investment real estate. Rent and other income from this real estate may be included in the court’s child support calculation.
Likewise, those with a high net worth may enjoy certain non-cash perks associated with their job, like the use of a company car or even a housing subsidy. So long as they reduce a person’s living expenses, they will also need to be counted.
Finally, those whose wealth comes from extended family may also have to include income from a trust or an estate, as well as regular cash and non-cash gifts from family.
Figuring a high earner’s income is not just about the tax return
Moreover, for a higher earner, looking at the income tax return is not going to give an accurate view of the person’s income for a number of reasons.
For one, income for child support purposes includes items that may not appear on an income tax form. Gifts, for example, can count for child support purposes.
Also, for those whose fortune comes from a business, not every business deduction that is allowed for tax purposes counts when it comes to child support.
Without sorting through a parent’s business revenue and expenses independently and carefully, it is quite possible that the court will miscalculate child support since it does not have all the information.