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Understanding how child support works in Florida

Whether you are a single parent trying to get the other parent to pay child support or a parent seeking parenting time or child custody rights, having a general idea and basic understanding of how child support works in Florida may help you to figure out your legal options and next steps.

Child support issues and disputes typically arise under a couple of circumstances. First, the issue of child support is typically discussed during a divorce proceeding and comes up after a married couple with a child or children have parted ways. Child support issues also come up with unmarried couples who have a child together, and one parent, generally the one with physical custody of the child, is attempting to seek child support from the other parent to help raise the child.

In the case of an unmarried couple with a child, for a mother seeking child support, first paternity must be established. Establishing paternity is not only important to get child support but also for the father to get some custody rights. In Florida, child support payments are calculated using existing statutory child support guidelines. These guidelines consider various factors in determining how much child support a parent will be required to pay.

In some cases a couple may be able to negotiate a child support amount through what is known as a collaborative family law process or family mediation, and they may be able to draft a mutually agreeable child support agreement. In the absence of a child support agreement between two parties, a court will apply the statutory guidelines to determine the child support obligation.

For the most part, parents understand that child support is in the best interest of the child and important of the growth and development of their child. However, in some cases a parent, due to some extenuating circumstance, may not be able to meet their monthly obligation. In such cases either the parent who has not received the payment may want to consider filing a motion to seek enforcement of a child support order or the parent who is unable to pay the child support may want to file a motion for modification of their child support payment. Regardless of one's circumstance it is essential and important to understand that one has options, and a Florida family law attorney can help draft the appropriate motion and discuss legal options.

Source: For more information on child support and other family issues, visit our Family Law overview page.

Source: For more information on child support and other family issues, visit our Family Law overview page.

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