Raising a child can be a very rewarding experience. If you are doing it without the help of the child’s other parent, then it can also be a very challenging one. This is particularly true when it comes to finances, as everyone knows how expensive raising children can be!
If you find yourself in a situation where your son or daughter’s other parent is not helping with their financial obligations to their child, then you may be frustrated and overwhelmed.
After all, you are caring for your child day to day, and the expenses keep piling up. Childcare costs, the costs for clothing, school supplies, medical insurance — all of these really do add up over time.
What Does Raising a Child Cost?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raising a child costs approximately $250,000 to $300,000 from birth up to age 18 in a middle-income family. That is a lot of expenses, and why should you have to carry this stress all on your own? After all, your son or daughter does have two parents, even if you aren’t living together.
What Do You Do if You Need Child Support?
So if you find yourself in a situation where you need to collect child support, what do you do? First of all, know you have options, and the law is definitely on your side. And if you live in the state of Florida, there are some specific steps you can take to start collecting the financial support you need to care for your child.
Before you begin the process to start collecting child support, make sure the parentage of the child is already established. This is done easily enough, either through the birth certificate or a paternity test if the child’s father is not on the birth certificate.
File a Child Support Order
To begin enforcing child support in Florida, then next thing you need is an order for the child support, signed by a judge and filed through the court system. If there isn’t an order in place, then you will need to file the necessary paperwork to begin the process.
You can file a “Petition for Child Support” in the local courthouse or county clerk’s office in the county where you and your child reside. You can file for this petition on your own, or with the help of a family law attorney.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
Whether you decide to consult with an attorney is entirely up to you, but some circumstances may make having an attorney helping you with this process more beneficial than attempting to navigate your way through it on your own.
For instance, do you know the location of the parent who owes child support? How much support is owed? In these examples, it may be more difficult for you to try to collect the support without the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.
Consult with a Family Law Attorney
A family law attorney is well versed and experienced in matters of child support enforcement and collection. Depending on your unique situation, it may be in your best interest to speak with an attorney before beginning the process at 305-358-2330.
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