Figuring out who should be the one paying child support and how much they should pay can be an incredibly difficult process. Fortunately, the process is made easier for single parents in Florida by the Florida Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program.
Who Needs to Pay Child Support?
In Florida, there are several factors that are considered when determining which parent is eligible to receive child support and how much child support is owed by each parent. Those factors include:
- How much time each parent actually spends with the child
- How much income each parent makes
- Which costs each parent already covers for the child
Generally, the more time a parent has with a child, the less likely it will be that they will be required to pay child support. However, if one parent makes a significant amount more money than the other parent, the court may still order child support be paid even if the parents share time evenly.
How Can I Request Child Support?
Unless you are also currently filing for divorce or sorting out custody, in which case you should file a child support petition with the court, you can only apply for child support by filing an application with your local child support office. Any parent requesting child support in Florida is required to provide as much useful information as possible on the applications, including:
- Essential information about each parent, including their names and addresses
- The name and contact information of each parent’s current or most recent employer
- Any evidence of financial support for the child that had been paid in the past
- Current income information for both parents, such as check stubs, W-2 forms, and/or federal income tax returns for the past 3 years
- A completed Financial Affidavit
- A completed Paternity Declaration
What If I Decline to Pay Child Support?
If you refuse to pay child support, then you will face some serious punishments as a direct result. Common consequences of failing to pay child support on time include:
- Suspension of your driver’s, business, and/or recreational license(s)
- Having your failure to pay reported to credit agencies
- Liens being placed on your property
- Garnishment of your wages, your tax returns, and any Florida lottery winnings totaling more than $600
What Can the Other Parent Do If I Refuse to Pay Child Support?
Any parent who is entitled to unpaid child support payments can request the Florida Department of Revenue to pursue these delinquent payments on their behalf. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the Florida Department of Revenue may be able to use any of the aforementioned punishments to either obtain the money directly or to coerce you into paying any unpaid child support payments that you may owe. Even if you were previously unable to pay, the court may you to pay retroactive child support on top of your current child support payments.
How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?
There are a few ways that you can put an end to your child support obligations. If your financial circumstances or custody arrangements change, or if you have a reason to dispute that you are the biological father responsible for payments, you can seek a modification action or termination of child support. To do so, you will need to file a modification action to change the physical custody, modify or suspend the child support obligation, or dispute paternity. Do not stop paying child support on your own without first seeking court approval to stop. Ending child support on your own without getting the court’s approval first can lead to jail time if a court finds you in contempt of court for failing to adhere to the child support.
Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?
Determining the details of child support with the other parent can be a complicated and trying experience. If you are confused by the child support process or concerned about your rights as a single parent, contact a Florida child support lawyer to assist you with the process of establishing or altering child support.