For Florida parents who are not receiving financial support from their former partner, child support collection is an essential part of providing for their children. In many cases, the first step in collecting child support is a paternity action. Establishing paternity is important and is a step that should not be put off, even for parents who anticipate an uphill battle.

According to data collected by the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of all parents who have primary custody of their children receive full child support from the other parent. In total, there was approximately $33.7 billion in unpaid child support for the year 2015. That number represents some 43.5 percent of custodial parents who are entitled to child support yet are not receiving it.

In cases where there is no clearly established paternity, custodial mothers can face an uphill battle collecting child support. The best place to begin is by creating a legal paternity status. That might be as simple as making a request, but in some cases, a court action is required to compel a paternity test.

Once paternity is established, child support is the next step. Depending on how the other parent responds, collecting child support might be simple or could become a challenge. Fortunately, Florida law requires both parents to contribute financially, so child support collections are supported by the courts. Parents who are hesitant to begin the child support collection process should try to keep the needs of their child or children at the forefront of the decision-making process.

Source: Bloomberg, “Less Than Half of U.S. Parents With Child Custody Get Funds“, Vincent Del Giudice, Jan. 30, 2018