Procedures to establish Florida child support

Legal responsibility for financially supporting children typically resides with both parents, but a divorce and award of custody in Florida does not automatically establish the means of enforcing this financial obligation on non-custodial parents. Instead, Orlando parents must seek a child support order that states the amount per Florida guidelines. Some requirements are necessary to establish the order, and other actions are suggested to ensure fair child support payments.

In Florida, a support order can be established through administrative or judicial action. The Department of Revenue administers the streamlined administrative procedure, but the use of this path is limited to parents without prior judicial orders. If either parent fails to comply with requests for financial information, this could trigger a judicial review. The DOR process is governed by federal and state child support guidelines, and parents may opt for a judicial review during the procedure.

The fairness of a support order generally requires that both parents make a good faith effort to provide all financial information requested by the DOR or judge. Timely responses and appearances when requested also help ensure both parents have input into the final decision. National registers for employment and increasing cooperation between federal agencies and the states make it possible to establish child support on recalcitrant or hard-to-locate parents.

Custodial parents often face the dual burden of being primary caregiver and having responsibility for meeting financial needs of their children. Establishing orders to ensure monthly payments can be difficult with an absent parent in Florida or out of state. Requests to change orders to meet new circumstances can also be stressful. Besides seeking help from the state, Orlando parents can consult with an experienced attorney to protect their interests and make sure that all available resources are utilized in establishing a fair child support order.

Source: Administration for Children and Families , "Establishing the support order", October 01, 2014

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