Generally speaking, every biological father owes a duty of support to his biological children.  
Establishing the paternity of a child in Florida can be done in different ways depending on the your
specific situation.  If the mother is married to the father and a child is born, there is a presumption that
the husband is the father.  Note that such presumption is rebuttable.
If you are an unmarried woman and are seeking child support for your child, you have two options.  
You can either contact the father ans ask him to acknowledge paternity.  Alternatively, if you are
unsuccessful, you can take then take the father to court to establish paternity.  You can bring a  
paternity action  up to 4 years after your child has reached the age of majority.
A paternity test consists of a blood test.  If the test results show a 95% probability of paternity, that
creates a presumption that you are the biological father.  Such presumption can be rebutted if you can
show an incapacity to father children or unavailability to have been in contact with the mother.  
The support obligations continue until the child reaches the age of 18 or 19 if the child is still in high
school.  The support period can be extended if the parents agree.

The amount of child support is determined by consulting the Child Support Guidelines in Florida.  The
guidelines take into account the each parent's incomes subject to certain deductions.  The judge is
allowed to adjust the child support amount.  If the amount is more than 5% of the guideline amount,t he
judge mus make specific findings on the record.
Failure to pay child support can result in wage garnishments, seizure of property, loss of a driver's
license, loss of a professional license and even jail time.

Child support orders can be modifies if things change over time.  If you need to change your child
support order due to change in income or other circumstances, contact the Bano Law Firm P.L. to find
out how you can do so.

If the non-paying parent move to a different states, you can still have the child support orders enforced
against him.  In fact, so long as the child continues to live in the jurisdiction where the child support
order was originally entered, that states continues to have jurisdiction.

Child Custody/ Parental Responsibility
In 2008, Florida shifted away from using the terms child custody to rather using the terms parental

The courts guiding principle in deciding child custody or time sharing in Florida is the best interests of
the child.  The shared parental responsibility will provide that both parents should be informed about
the children and both should participate in decisions affecting the children.  Even the parent that does
not live with the child should be allowed to fully and equally participate in the decisions affecting the
child as the other parent who has primary responsibility over the child.  The court can, however, give
sole responsibility to one parent if it is in the best interest of the child.  
A schedule must be designed to allocate time with the child to each parent.  If one parent deprives the
other parent from seeing or having contact with the child, contact the Bano Law Firm P.L. to find out
what options are available for you.

Some of the factors that courts typically take into account in determining parental responsibilities are:
  • the desires of the child;
  • the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future;
  • the emotional and physical danger (of one parent) to the child now and in the future;
  • the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody;
  • the programs available to assist these individuals to promote the best interest of the child;
  • the plans for the child by these individuals;
  • the stability of both parties homes;
  • the acts or omissions of the parent which may indicate that the existing parent-child
    relationship        is not a proper one; and
  • any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent

After the divorce, the court must determine which parent should keep primary residential responsibility
over the child.  Both parents are entitled to equal consideration for residential responsibility.  Some of
the factors that courts typically consider include the best interests of the child, physical disabilities of
all parties, emotional and mental health of the parties, any evidence of domestic violence among other

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Child Support and Custody