This is the next post in my series in which I am addressing how Florida family law applies to parents who share a child but have never been married. My last post explained how Brevard County fathers can protect their custodial rights and visitation. In this post I will explain how child support is ordered for single parents.
When two people have a child, but are not married, the Florida Courts will not order child support until one parent files for a time share agreement. A time share agreement must be filed prior to a child support order because payments are partially calculated based on how much custodial time each parent shares with the child. It is important for a parent to file for a timeshare order as soon as possible once a couple has broken up. This will eliminate the possibility of disputes over whether one parent or the other was caring for the child during a particular period of time.
There are times when parents come to a financial agreement and attempt to co-parent without the involvement of the Court. This approach is not recommended for a number of reasons. One, the state of Florida has a formula that determines how much child support each parent is required to pay that is based on monthly income, how much time the child spends with each parent, and other factors such as alimony and support for other children. If two parents come to their own financial agreement then one person could end up paying more or less than they would otherwise be required to do. The second reason is that if the parent paying support stops making payments for any reason then the other parent cannot do anything about it without starting from scratch with the Courts, which can leave them in a financially vulnerable place.
If you share a child with a person you have never been married to, I strongly urge you to file a timeshare agreement with the Court and obtain a formal child support order. Having a formal financial agreement with the Court protects both parties. As a Melbourne family law attorney I ensure that my clients receive a fair order. Contact my office today for a consultation. I also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.