Parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially. This is true whether the parents were ever married and even if one parent does not have a relationship with their children. When parents divorce, or if they were never married to begin with, they must arrange for child support.

Whatever your situation, a Coconut Grove child support lawyer can assist. Working with a skilled family attorney can help you understand the process and ensure that you do not accidentally give up any of your child’s rights.

Ensuring an Unmarried Father Takes Financial Responsibility

Unmarried couples can complete an Acknowledgement of Paternity when a child is born. Both parents must complete and sign the form in front of a notary, which the hospital will provide. The hospital will send the form to the Bureau of Vital Statistics and the father’s name will appear on the child’s birth certificate.

If the parents do not complete the form in the hospital, they could do so anytime before the child turns 18. Establishing paternity gives the child the right to receive child support from the father and allows the father to pursue parenting time, which a court will decide based on the child’s best interests.

If a father does not admit the child is his, the mother could go to court and a Coconut Grove child support attorney can file a legal petition asking the court to declare the man as the child’s father. The court will order a genetic test which requires each party and the child to submit a cheek swab. If the test indicates the man is the father, a court will order him to pay child support.

Calculating the Correct Child Support Amount

Florida Statute § 61.30 imposes a formula to determine how much child support a parent must pay. The formula considers the combined after-tax income of each parent, with deductions for items like health insurance for the children and some childcare expenses.

Generally, the parent who earns more money and has less timesharing will pay support to the parent who earns less. However, a Judge can adjust the child-support payment to reflect how much time each parent cares for the child. If the parent who earns more is also the parent who has the child most of the time, the lower-earning parent might have to pay support.

If the parents’ combined net income is less than $800 per month, the court will set a nominal support payment and the payment will increase if the paying parent’s income increases. If the parents’ combined net income exceeds $10,000 per month, the paying parent must pay more child support than the formula requires. Courts want children to have the same lifestyle when their parents live apart as they would have if the parents lived together.

Method for Paying Child Support

When a court issues a child support order, it directs that the payments go through the State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The paying parent pays by check, credit card, or bank transfer to the SDU. The SDU confirms the payment and deposits it to the receiving parent’s bank account on file or issues the amount in a prepaid Visa card.

Paying through the SDU has several advantages. It spares the parents from interacting with each other about money, which could reduce any conflicts. The SDU keeps track of the payments, so the state knows when a parent falls behind on their support, making enforcing the child support order easier.

Parents can choose not to use the SDU and make payments directly but they must go to court to request this. The parents could set up an account with the Clerk of the Court that made the child support order. A child support attorney in Coconut Grove can help a parent set up these payments through the court.

Contact a Coconut Grove Child Support Attorney for Help Today

Every child deserves the most comfortable life their parents can provide. The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm can help you establish a child support arrangement that works for both the parents and children.

Call us today to discuss your situation with a Coconut Grove child support lawyer during a free consultation.