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Florida Child Custody
In Florida, if parents cannot reach a custody decision, then the judge will make a custody decision based on the best interests of the child. In most cases, Florida courts prefer to have parents share custody unless shared custody would be harmful to the child. If shared custody is not appropriate, by Florida law the court must give equal consideration to both the mother and father when deciding which parent will have primary residential custody.
Both parents are bound by the court's custody order once it has been signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk. Changing the custody order will require one or both parents to show that there has been a major change in circumstances and that it is to the child's detriment if custody is not changed.
A Florida child custody attorney can help represent you in court, help explain your legal options, and negtiate a child custody agreement.
In Florida, there are several ways to establish paternity of a child:
- Acknowledgement by the father
- Genetic testing
- Court order
- The parents marry after the child is born and update the child's birth record
Florida child support is calculated based on both parents' combined income and the number of children each parent supports. The court is allowed to deviate from the child support guidelines if the calculation is inappropriate in a particular case. Florida courts can set aside a portion of the parents' assets in a trust to pay for the child's support and education.
In Florida, child support can also be adjusted based on a change in circumstances. These would include:
- A significant change in one parent's income
- A change in which parent the child spends more time with
- A change in the child's financial needs (such as extraordinary medical or educational expenses)
Once the divorce has been granted, child support payments that are processed through the Florida State Disbursement Unit can be set up online through MyFloridaCounty.com, making the process more convenient for both parties. If payment of child support becomes a problem, the Florida Department of Revenue is responsible for child support enforcement.