Unknown to most people is the fact that being the biological father of a minor child in and of itself does not afford that parent enforceable rights to visit and make decisions for their child.

Simply put, if a biological father wants to ensure that he absolutely has the ability to spend time with his child and participate in decision making for that child, then his only recourse is to initiate legal proceedings to establish such rights. This makes absolutely no difference whether the biological father is listed on the birth certificate or not. This is a common misconception.

I was taken to court by my ex and she is receiving child support from me. Does that mean she has to allow me to see my child?
If the court proceedings that you were a part of were strictly related to child support and if the court order does not contain any provisions for visitation, then no, you have no legally enforceable rights to visit with your child. In fact, according to Florida Statutes 742.031, if a court judgment only contains child support with no parenting plan or timesharing schedule, then the parent who is receiving child support shall receive all of the timesharing and sole parental responsibility.

Many times, the Department of Revenue will initiate a legal proceeding on behalf of a mother to assist her in obtaining child support. These cases involving the Department of Revenue only relate to child support and the Court will not address the issues of visitation, timesharing or decision making.

My ex and I had one child together and she is not letting me see my child, what can I do?
You need to file what is a called a “paternity action”. Paternity actions in many ways operate similar to divorce cases in that the court will order a parenting plan and timesharing schedule (insert link to those subjects) and establish child support. The laws regarding parenting plans and timesharing are the same in divorce cases as they are in paternity cases.

Of utmost importance to an unmarried father is the Florida Putative Father Registry. If an unmarried male has reason to believe that he is the father of a minor child, then he should file a notarized claim of paternity form with the Florida Putative Father Registry maintained by the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health. If he does file such a claim, then he preserves his right to notice and to consent to the adoption of the minor child. The claim of paternity may be filed at any time before the child’s birth, but a claim of paternity may not be filed after the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Child Support

  • My spouse works overtime frequently, does the Court consider this overtime in determining child support?

    If the overtime is regular, continuous and likely to occur in the future, then yes, it is included in determining the amount of child support.

  • I don’t trust that my spouse is going to pay the child support , can it be taken from his paycheck?

    Yes, if you request it, the Judge will sign an Income Withholding Order which will be sent to the employer who then will garnish the wages for the child support.

  • My parents and friends often give me money, does the money that I receive count when determining child support?

    Generally no, the money you receive from third persons is not included in the child support calculation. However, there are cases that provide that regularly occurring gifts which are likely to continue in the future are counted as income for purpose of child support.

  • My employer provides me with a free company car that I used all the time. How does this impact the child support?

    The value of the personal use of the company car is included as income for purposes of child support.

  • I pay child support for children of a prior relationship, how does this affect the child support I will pay in my current divorce?

    If the child support you pay for the children of a prior relationship is actually paid, then this amount will be deducted from your income in determining your child support in your current divorce.

  • I pay for my children’s health insurance, does this factor into the child support calculation?

    Yes, the amount one parent pays for the children’s health insurance is factored into the child support calculation.

  • My children attend day care, which I pay for, how does this affect the child support?

    If the children are attending day care because you are working, looking for work or going to school, then the amount that you pay for day care is factored into the child support calculation.

  • My children are involved in extracurricular activities such as dance and football. How does this impact the child support that my spouse pays?

    Generally, the cost of extracurricular activities is not included in the child support calculation. However, often times the parties will agree or the Court will order that the parties split the costs of extracurricular activities in addition to the child support that is paid.

  • 1