Understanding a parent's obligation to pay child support

Child support is an important obligation that exists between a parent and their child. In Florida, a parent may be required to pay child support if they do not have physical custody of their child. As has been discussed previously on this blog, physical custody concerns where a child lives and which parent is responsible for the child's day-to-day needs.

In the event that a child's parents separate or divorce, a court will need to determine where that child will end up living. If the court decides that the child will split time between the households of the parents, then neither parent may be required to pay support, as each will be responsible for their child's needs when the child is in their care. It is when one parent is given physical custody and the other parent is not involved in the daily maintenance of the child's needs that child support may become relevant.

Parents who do not have physical custody, known as a "non-custodial parents," may be required to provide their children with financial assistance so that the children may have what they need. Child support payments are determined based on a number of factors and may be different for different children, depending on their unique needs.

When child support is ordered by a court it is imperative that the parent stays current on the payments. The failure of a parent to provide their child with court-ordered support can result in penalties assessed against the parent and enforcement efforts may be initiated. Parents who have questions or concerns about new or existing child support orders may need to get more information about family law options.

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