How Long Does It Take to Get Child Support?
Unfortunately, there is no time frame allotted for getting child support. While the party desiring child support may feel it is an emergency, the legal system has its specified procedures which must be followed before adjudication for child support will be finalized by a judge. Taking a look at the procedures needed to obtain child support will help to show why there is no set time limit for obtaining a judgment. Too, each state has its own set of guidelines for obtaining child support and these can be found in the State Statutes. So, for this discussion, the state of Florida will be used as the example state.
It is important to note that a minor child parented by a couple be it biological or adoptive is entitled to child support even if the parents never married, Child support is mandatory in Florida and both parents are subject to an obligation, depending on the circumstances of each party. Either parent can be adjudicated to pay child support to the other or both can be adjudicated to pay child support to a third party such as a grandparent who is given the legal custody and responsibility of caring for the child.
The first thing to do when seeking child support is to locate a Family Law attorney who is experienced in helping clients obtain child support. Check with family and friends for a referral and look online at attorney websites. Most attorneys have a free, initial consultation to answer questions and share how they can help. Choose an attorney who you are comfortable with, is knowledgeable, and is interested in your particular case.
The attorney will take care of paperwork, making sure the required mandatory financial disclosure is filled out correctly, filing the petition, and helping his or her client get together the necessary proof for the need for child support. In Florida, mediation is required before a court date can be set, if the mediation is successful and there is an agreement regarding child support, depending on the court backlog, the judge will rule in a much shorter time than if the case goes to court. Also, in Florida, each parent is required to take a court approved parenting course before child support is granted.
In Florida, the motto for minor children is “In the best interest of the child”. So, whenever the legal system becomes involved with a request for child support the “whole package” of shared parenting is required. Both parents are expected to share equally in the raising of their children. A parenting plan will be developed which will include how many overnights each parent will have and where these will take place. As both parents must share equally in decision making for education, discipline, religion, and medical the parenting plan will incorporate the details of how this will be handled. Too, issues such as co-pays, special needs, life and health insurance, and how communication between parties will be handled, will be included in the parenting plan. Should the case need to go to court, it will take a lot longer and be much more expensive than when an agreement is reached during mediation.
Once the child support judgment is in place, payments must be made on time or the paying party can be taken back to court and serious disciplinary actions can be adjudicated. Retroactive child support, that is child support not adjudicated in the past, is also available (with a variety of stipulations – click here to find out more). While time is of the essence, the court allows plenty of time before making a final judgment for child support, some of it necessary, some of it “just the way it is”.