Child Support Colorful Block With Bible And Hammer Over Wooden Desk In Courtroom, ruling payments for child support

Palm Harbor Parents: How Child Support Payments and Taxes Work

When a couple with dependent children gets a divorce in Palm Harbor, Florida, the state usually orders one parent to pay child support. If you’re a parent who’s just started paying child support, you may be wondering how these payments are going to affect your taxes.

In Florida, parents have a legal obligation to provide support for their children, even after a divorce. In short, child support is the payment one parent pays to the other parent after a divorce or separation. This financial aid is to help provide for their children’s needs, such as food, clothing, and housing. 

Calculating Florida Child Support Payments

Florida uses a formula to calculate child support payments based on the answers provided on the state’s child support guidelines worksheet. Both parents start by entering their incomes. Income is any form of legal payment including the following:

  • wages from a job
  • disability benefits
  • bonuses
  • pensions
  • rental income
  • royalties
  • social security benefits

Next, they’ll need to include all allowable deductions or exclusions. These can include federal, local, and state income taxes, health insurance payments, and retirement payments. 

It would be a good idea to consult with an experienced family law attorney to make sure you claim all the deductions and exclusions to which you are entitled. Failing to list all your deductions and exclusions could result in you paying a higher rate of child support.

The number of overnights the child spends with each party is also included in the calculations.

Child Support Is Not Considered Taxable Income 

If you’re paying child support in Florida, the main thing to remember when calculating your taxes is the fact that the IRS does not consider child support to be taxable income. The parent who receives the payments does not have to declare the payments as income. Likewise, the parent making the payments cannot claim child support payments as a deduction.

Some other tax considerations about child support:

  • For the payments to qualify as child support, they should not be lumped together with alimony as “family support”, because unlike child support, alimony is taxable.
  • Failing to make child support payments may result in wage garnishment and your tax refund may be garnished as well.
  • To claim a child as a dependent, the parent claiming the child generally must provide at least 50 percent of the child’s support during the tax year and meet all other exemption qualifications. 
  • When filling out the guidelines worksheet, the numbers can change significantly based on the IRS exemptions you claim, such as the dependent care tax credit, earned income tax credit, and the tax exemption for dependents. Claiming the child can increase your net income, meaning you’ll be paying fewer taxes.

We Can Answer Your Questions About Child Support Payments in Florida

Going through a divorce is never an easy process. The divorce attorney you choose to represent you in your divorce proceedings could be the most important decision you make for yourself and your family. He will protect your rights and see that you and your family get the justice and support they deserve.

Palm Harbor family law lawyer Paul H. Bowen, P.A. has over 30 years of experience helping individuals in Palm Harbor, FL and surrounding West Tampa Bay communities. He has helped clients successfully resolve their legal troubles, including child support issues, custody & visitation, time-sharing, and parenting plans. To learn more about how our law firm can help you with family law, civil litigation, and other legal issues, contact the Law Offices of Paul H. Bowen, P.A. to schedule your free, initial consultation today.