Non-Custodial Parents FAQ's
Below are the most frequently asked questions.
1. Can you locate the non-custodial parent?
We must know where to find the parent responsible for support. If this is not known, we will search for him or her through a variety of local, state, and federal location resources. We do need the Custodial-parent to provide any information they may currently know about the non-custodial parent (NCP). Their participation is important.
2. What is paternity establishment?
3. Can you help me if I have an existing child support order?
If there already is a court order for child support and medical insurance, we use the full force of the law to enforce that order. If there is no court order, we will first establish a child support and medical support obligation.
4. How do I apply for services?
If you are a parent receiving public assistance, Medicaid and/or Food Stamps, you are automatically referred to the Child Support Enforcement Division. You must cooperate with our efforts to obtain support. Failure to respond to our requests for information or missing appointments and court hearings may result in sanctions being imposed, causing your benefits to be reduced or canceled.
5. How do I obtain a child support order?
6. How long does it take to obtain an order?
If the location of the non-custodial parent is known, the case will be filed and the non-custodial parent will receive copies of the documents you signed, including your financial affidavit. If necessary, a court date is scheduled after we know that the non-custodial parent has in fact been served with the paperwork on the case. We cannot guarantee a time frame for a court date, since every case is different. Factors, such as opposing counsel, request for paternity tests, or the need for certified copies of existing support orders may delay the final results. An order may be obtained in as little as three months, or as long as one year.
7. How much child support will be ordered?
The amount ordered is based on the Florida guidelines established by law which take into account the child's needs and the income of both parents. Day care, health insurance costs and other children are also considered.
8. What happens if the non-custodial parent doesn't pay?
Our enforcement unit will work to keep the non-custodial parent paying. Some enforcement methods we use:
9. How much child support will be ordered?
Once the support order is established, it may be modified if there is a significant change to the CNP's or to your financial situation. If you request the modification, we will recalculate the guidelines based on both parties current financial status. Normally, we will only file the modification petition with the court if the formula shows the support amount should change by at least 15% or $50 monthly. Once the process is started, we are required to pursue it to completion even if it means the NCP will pay less. If this is an interstate case (involving another state), there may be additional restrictions.
10. Can you help if the non-custodial parent lives in another state?
Yes. When custodial and non-custodial parents live in different states, the State Attorney's Office works with the child support offices in those states. When the non-custodial parent lives in another state, we must allow the other state's child support enforcement office and court system to process the case within the time frames applied to their state, since they have legal jurisdiction.
11. How are support payments processed?
All child support payments must be sent to the State of Florida Disbursement Unit, PO Box 8500, Tallahassee, FL 32314-8500. Official court records of the payments and disbursements are created which enable the child support program to accurately enforce and monitor your child support case. You must not take payments directly from the NCP. If you do not receive public assistance, a check will be mailed from Tallahassee normally within two working days of receipt of the payment. If you do receive public assistance, support payments will be retained by the State of Florida as reimbursement for the public assistance money you are receiving from the State.
12. How can I find out the status of my case?
Please understand that we will use all available resources to resolve your case. You must allow us the necessary time to complete our research and case actions. Frequent calls to our office checking on the status of your case will only delay the processing of your case. However, if you have any new information about the non-custodial parent, such as location, employment, social security number, etc., please let us know. To provide new information, or inquire on your case, contact our Call Center at 305-530-2600.