Sole Custody & Child Support
by Michelle from Jacksonville, Florida, Duval County
Can I get sole custody if her father doesn't pay child support? My daughter is four years old and her father has only paid partially of his non-ordered child support for two years.
Now he is threatening to take me to court for joint custody.
Is there any way I can get sole custody before that happens?
Answer to Florida Child Custody Question
Since there is no court-ordered custody or parenting plan on file and no child support order, then either of you can petition the court for custody of your daughter.
Whether you file requesting custody or he files requesting custody, the outcome would likely be similar.
In child custody cases, the court will determine what custody situation is in the child’s best interest before allowing either parent to do anything.
If you were petitioning for sole custody, you would have to convince the court why your child would be better off if her father did not have joint custody.
This may be a difficult task as courts generally try to ensure that both parents have a role in a child’s life. What you can do to begin the case is to download, fill out, and file a Family Law Form 12.983(a)
, which is a Petition to Determine Paternity and Related Relief.
The Petition to Determine Paternity form does
not only cover paternity, but it asks the court to establish custody, visitation, and or child support. If you filed before the father then you would be petitioning the court for sole custody rather than arguing against his petition.
While the interests of the child are overseen by the court, it changes the tone of the case.
One thing that you should be aware of is the connection between custody and child support.
The fact that he is or is not paying court ordered child support does not invalidate his right to see his daughter.
Joint custody however, may reduce the amount of child support you would receive from him, so it is best to attempt to work it out prior to attending court, or the judge will have to issue a custody order that you both must abide by. 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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