By Attorney Howard Iken: You hear it all the time about child support – especially from some attorneys. Child support is black and white, cut and dried, and by the numbers. The theory is that Florida child support guidelines produce a support number based on the incomes of both parents. You plug in the numbers, do the arithmetic, and out pops an accurate number. The reality is that there is a bit truth to that principle. But the real truth is that child support is the result of fictitious claims, number manipulation, posturing, and skewed number crunching. You can push, pull, drag, and cheat the number is several different directions. In fact, a good child support attorney can attempt pull the numbers in a beneficial direction for your case.
Child support guideline calculation worksheets always seem to differ in their numbers. For example, everyone has expensive child support calculation software that comes from different software publishers. The curious thing is that no two software packages seem to agree on bottom line numbers. You can have two conflicting calculations of tax and payroll deductions. You can have two conflicting tallies of your number of overnights with your child. Or two conflicting examples of how various type of support affect the net income. The factors impact the bottom line and always result in different numbers.
If you have income from another state, and that state has an income tax, very few legal practitioners will properly input the information. Business income and investment income have different tax rates. Again, unless they are entered properly, child support will be off. Also, with children, come tax deductions. Many child support calculations do not properly allocate those deductions.
The final factor, many attorneys do not properly update their software to encompass the last federal and state tax updates. This results in identical worksheets with different results.
A good practitioner updates their software and inputs all-important factors properly. That can give you a behind the scenes heads up on important bargaining points. Other practitioners do things incorrectly, do not update their software, and then come up with a random, incorrect number – a number so incorrect that the entire case can be compromised. Think about it … a difference of just $100 per month for 10 years can add up to $12,000
Child support is black and white? I think NOT.
Tampa Child Support Attorney
Howard Iken practices child support law in Tampa, Florida. He is available for consultations out of our South Tampa office.