There are a lot of lawyers who are paid a lot of money to increase a person’s income for both child support and alimony calculations. Instead of focusing on income calculations, I want to focus on allowable deductions from gross income. The following is an explanation of allowable deductions that can be used to reduce net income for child support purposes.
Uncle Sam: Things that an employer normally automatically deducts from a paycheck are allowable deductions. These include federal, state, and local income taxes, FICA (Social Security), and Medicare taxes.
Mandatory Employer Specific Requirements: If there is a mandatory retirement contribution that is required to be deducted from your paycheck as a condition of employment, this is an allowable deduction. This is not to be confused with an IRA or 401K contribution that is withdrawn from your paycheck. This is a contribution that you cannot stop, even if you wanted to stop it. I remember when I was first employed by the State of Florida, there was no mandatory contribution to the retirement plan. Within a few years of my employment, the law changed and state employees were required to contribute 3% of their income to the retirement plan. I asked my HR director how I could opt-out of the 3% contribution and I was not allowed to opt-out because it was a mandatory contribution. I think this issue is still currently being litigated as you can imagine there were many state employees who did not want to contribute. But as it currently stands, this 3% contribution would be deductible for child support purposes. Also under this category would be mandatory union membership dues for employment.
Court-Ordered Support for Other Child(ren): This provision covers child support that is already being paid for an earlier born child or where child support was already ordered before the current case. This can get complicated if a parent is paying child support for another child but there is no court order requiring payment. In a situation without a court order, the amount paid is considered as a deviation from the guidelines but is not an allowable deduction. Also, if the parent with the support obligation is supporting other children residing with him or her, there is no income deduction that is permitted. The best way to consider this provision is will the parent be arrested (for contempt or a criminal violation) if child support is not paid. Finally, the child support must actually be paid for it to be considered.
Miscellaneous: Health insurance coverage, except for coverage paid for the child, is an allowable deduction. Spousal support (alimony) that is being paid is an allowable deduction. These are the only permitted deductions allowed under Florida Statute 61.30(3).
The easiest way to remember the items listed above would be to consider anything that can be automatically deducted for your paycheck (without you asking for it). Many employers will automatically deduct a contribution for health insurance, retirement plans, and union dues if they are mandatory. Also, income taxes, social security, and Medicare taxes are automatically deducted as well. Child support that is court-ordered as well as spousal support that is court-ordered can be automatically deducted from a paycheck so they also fit into this category. An expense that is not specifically listed in Florida Statute 61.30(3) is not an allowable deduction but may be considered for a deviation from the child support guidelines.