Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Clearwater Divorce Lawyer (Based on 36 Reviews)
727-683-1472 801 West Bay Drive, Suite 713
Largo, FL 33770
Mon - Fri 8:30 am- 5:00 pm Evening and Weekend Appts Available

When Florida Courts Will Deviate from the State’s Child Support Guidelines


Florida courts are required to strictly adhere to specific child support guidelines when determining a parent’s child support obligation. While in most cases, courts stick to the base amount provided by these guidelines (which, in turn is based on the parents’ incomes, childcare expenses, and the number of children being supported etc.), they are permitted to deviate from that standard in specific instances. Read on to learn more about Florida’s child support guidelines and when judges are willing to deviate from them.

Calculating Child Support 

Courts look at a few primary elements when they calculate child support payments, including:

  • Each parent’s income, which includes not only wages and salaries, but also bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, retirement and investment income, and certain government benefits;
  • The time-sharing schedule, with those who spend more than 20 percent of the nights in a year with their child often required to pay less;
  • The number of children being supported;
  • The cost of health insurance premiums; and
  • Child care expenses.

All of these factors go into calculating the base child support obligation that a parent will owe. This number, however, is the presumptive amount, which means that a judge can deviate from it in certain cases.

Deviations from the Child Support Guidelines 

In Florida, family law judges are permitted to deviate from the child support guidelines by five percent above or below the presumptive amount dictated by the state’s guidelines. Generally, however, a judge will only do so when:

  • The family has extraordinary medical or educational expenses;
  • The child has special needs;
  • The ages of the children justify the change, with older children often having greater financial need;
  • The nature of the time-sharing schedule requires one parent to cover high travel costs;
  • The child receives public benefits or income;
  • One parent cannot provide a home or basic necessities because of low income;
  • Either a parent or the child has sufficient assets to justify a deviation;
  • One or both parents have seasonal income;
  • One parent refuses to become involved in the child’s activities, increasing the other party’s financial expenditures; or
  • The amount calculated by the guidelines requires that a parent pay more than 55 percent of his or income in monthly child support.

If you believe that one or more of these situations applies in your own case and that your child support award should be modified as a result, you should consider reaching out to an experienced family law attorney for advice on your next steps.

Call Cairns Law to Speak with a Largo Child Support Modification Lawyer Today 

Most child support awards in Florida are calculated based on the state’s child support guidelines. It is, however, possible to step outside of this system in certain cases. If your own child support award is no longer meeting your family’s needs, please call Cairns Law at 727-683-1472 and set up a meeting with one of our experienced Largo child support modification lawyers, so we can walk you through your legal options. We are also available for evening and weekend appointments.




Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Request A

If you have any questions or comments please fill out the following form and one of our representatives will contact you as soon as possible.

protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms