Alimony and Child Support

Money that will change hands between you and your spouse, on an on-going basis, after the divorce, is often in the form of alimony or child support. Here is what you need to know about alimony and child support.

Alimony/Spousal Support.

As you discuss the provisions in your marital settlement agreement and prepare to move forward, you and your spouse may decide that alimony will be a part of your financial plan if one of you has a financial need and the other has an ability to pay.

Alimony payments may be short-term, long-term, or paid in a lump sum. If your agreement includes alimony you will also need to decide if this alimony will be modifiable or non-modifiable.  (Is the duration and/or amount of the alimony fixed or can one of you request a change later on if there is a significant change in your circumstances?)

Paying or receiving alimony can have long-term tax (and other) consequences so your mediator will encourage you to consult with a CPA or other professionals before making any decisions about alimony.  See also “Alimony/Spousal Support” in Your Marital Settlement Agreement.

Child Support.

In Florida, child support is calculated using a prescribed formula based on the parent’s net incomes and the number of overnights it is projected that the children will spend with each parent.  In order to calculate child support your mediator will want to know your incomes, the cost of each parent’s health insurance, the cost of your children’s health insurance, the cost of work related child-care, and the number of nights that your children will spend with each parent.  For purposes of child support, net income is calculated by subtracting the following from the parents’ gross incomes:

  • federal, FICA and medicare taxes
  • mandatory retirement and union dues
  • the cost of health insurance coverage – for the parent only
  • alimony payments, and
  • court ordered child support from prior cases.

The calculation of child support is outlined in Florida Statutes 61.30. Child Support.