Lower Child Support in Florida

by James from Orlando, Florida, Orange County

I am paying child support $450 a month and I had my son for 4 years while his mother did not give me any money or anything she use to get him on the weekends.

She took him from me in Sept 2009, she took him out of school and changed her address and phone number.

I had no way to get in contact with my son, now I am on child support. What can I do to stop the payments or lower the payments?

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear James,

I am sorry to hear of your situation.

Since you are recognized as the legal father, you have every right to have access to your son.

In theory, child support and child visitation are two separate and distinct issues.

However, as most separated parents know, the issues are often intertwined.

From the tone of your question it sounds like you would happily pay child support if only you could see your son. And, you likely have a better chance of gaining access to him than having your child support lowered or stopped.

My suggestion is that you take the necessary steps to have regular and continuing access to your son, so that you can be part of each other's life. I'm assuming that you were not married to the mother, and so you never went through a divorce.

Had you been married, then divorced, you would have been required to complete a Parenting Plan which addresses in detail parental responsibilities as well as issues of time-sharing.

As a matter of public policy, Florida courts have a bias toward shared parental responsibility so that both parents can be part of their child's life.

The couples who were never married often never go through the formal process of setting up a Parenting Plan or time-sharing schedule; and the informality damages everyone.

Forms are available on the Florida Supreme Court's website, www.flcourts.org that can help you formalize visitation with your son.

These forms are set up for pro se litigants (people that are going forward without an attorney).

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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