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Understanding the Child Support Process in Florida

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Support on Friday, May 15, 2015.

Under Florida law, every parent has a responsibility to help pay for the raising of his or her child. For noncustodial parents, -- that is, parents who don't live with their children -- this obligation has to take the form of state-administered child support payments. This system is overseen by the state's Department of Revenue, which assists families in over 1 million cases and serves nearly 1 million minor children.

There are two primary ways that the family law system in Florida helps divorcing parents establish child support obligations. Child support can be ordered through an administrative process. This begins with a notice requesting noncustodial parents provide financial information and other types of information to determine their child support obligations. Once the amount is ordered, if the noncustodial parent does not agree to the amount, additional options such as a hearing are available.

Child support orders are also issued by family courts following a hearing. However, a lot can change after a child support order is in place. For example, the child's needs may change or the noncustodial parent might suffer a job loss or other financial setback. When such things happen, either parent may request a modification of the child support order. It's important for parents to request a modification as early as they can. Falling behind on child support payments can lead to a massive load of debt. When the state enforces child support orders, it can also lead to serious penalties for parents who have failed to pay.

Understanding the family law process can help create a smoother child support process and create settlements and agreements that all parties can live with and are in the best interests of the children. Attorneys can help both custodial and noncustodial parents with their child support issues.

Source: Department of Revenue Child Support Program, "Overview," Accessed May 14, 2015

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