Child Support Florida & Georgia Laws

by Brett from Mayo, Florida, Lafayette County

I would love to pay you for this but at the moment I can't.

The mother of the child is a Georgia resident and I reside in Florida.

We were never married and my name is not on the birth certificate.

I submitted to a paternity test and I am the father however she will not put my name on the birth certificate.

It says father unknown. I have been paying $350.00 every month for 3 years. She allows my parents to see the child but does not allow me visitation. Recently, due to the economy I have lost my job. I am now 2 months behind and have never been late before.

I have asked her to work with me since I intend to pay asap and asked her if I would be able to have visitation with my son when everything has been caught up and she says no. Now she's going to get my license suspended or put me in jail. I don't think that would be of much help to my son Bradley. Can't get a job if your in jail. I need some advice.

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear Brett,

First, I can't tell from your question whether your child support order was initiated in Florida or Georgia.

It might make a difference.

In any event, try to catch up on your child support payments.

If you can make partial payments, do so.

Many people find themselves in a continuing nightmare as they fall farther and farther behind on their payments.

In theory, in America we don't put debtors in prison, but in fact, we do. Failure to pay court ordered child support payments is considered contempt of court, which is why jail can be used
as punishment.

But, if the failure to pay is not willful, then it is not contempt -- technically. Convincing a judge that your failure to pay child support is not willful is almost always an uphill battle.

If you can catch up, or at least make some type of payments, then file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Support.

This form and other family law forms can be found on the Florida Supreme Court's website,

There are other forms that must be filed along with the supplemental petition. Have a look at our web-powered instructions page for Modification of Child Support, Form 12.905(b).

A petition to modify child support must be based on changed circumstances of any of the parties. A job loss is a changed circumstances, and I am assuming you did not quit your job, but were laid off or terminated -- so the change is involuntary.

As far as changing your son's name on the birth certificate. In Florida, I believe the process is fairly straightforward. You have already been determined to be the biological and legal father of your son, so contact the Florida Department of Health and Vital Statistics to see what the exact process is for changing your son's birth certificate.

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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