Child Custody and Support

Parents have an obligation to support their children according to their means. A parent’s child support obligation arises primarily in the context of dissolution of marriage and paternity actions. Child support is based on the combined net income of the parties, and is based on the Florida Child Support Guidelines.

The term “custody” has been abolished by Florida law. However, an extended family member may still obtain temporary custody of a minor child if the child’s parents consent or the best interests of the child so requires. In the context of dissolution of marriage and paternity cases, custody has been replaced by the concepts of parental time-sharing and parental responsibility. As part of his or her right to exercise parental responsibility, a parent is entitled to participate in the major decisions that affect the welfare of the child(ren), such as decisions regarding choice of education, health care, religion, etc. These issues must be agreed upon by the parties prior to the final hearing, or will be determined by a judge at trial in a contested case to establish paternity or dissolve a marriage.


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