The Other Parent Has Sole Custody. Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support?

Parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children. Courts put child support orders in place to help make sure this happens. If a parent fails to make the court-ordered child support payments, then there will be repercussions. If the other parent has sole custody and you perhaps do not get to see your child all that often, you may be wondering whether you have to still pay child support. The answer is yes, yes you do.

The Other Parent Has Sole Custody. Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support?

Custody can refer to either legal custody or physical custody. More often than not, parents share joint legal custody after a divorce. This means that they share in legal custody, which refers to the rights parents have to make decisions regarding where a child lives and other things such as education, recreation, religion and moral upbringing, among other things. Joint custody also refers to joint physical custody which can also be referred to as “timesharing.” This is the actual time that a child will spend in the care of each parent. The parent who spends more time with the child is generally considered to be the primary custodial parent.

Joint custody is not always the case in custody arrangements. There are also instances where sole custody is set based on one thing or another or a totality of the circumstances. There is not actually “sole custody” in Florida, but there is “sole parental responsibility.” In cases of sole parental responsibility, one parent is awarded exclusive physical and legal custody of a child. The other parent may still be granted visitation rights, although they may need to be court-supervised.

Regardless of the custody arrangements, however, a parent who is ordered to pay child support by a court must comply with this order. Child support can be owed in cases where there is a joint custody arrangement or a sole custody arrangement. It is based on the combined incomes of the parents and the time each parents spends with the child. Child support is awarded in most cases. Only in cases where the parents earn comparable income, pay for the same amount of child-related expenses, and have the child for the same number of days each week or month will there be no child support ordered. It is based on a state-mandated formula.

Both parents are obligated to financially support their children. As you can probably deduce based on the above information, those parents who are the noncustodial parents in a sole custody arrangement are even more likely to be ordered to pay child support as they do not care for the child on a day to day basis and, therefore, are not covering expenses related to caring for the everyday needs of the child. Should you fail to make court ordered child support payments, you face a wide range of potential penalties and enforcement mechanisms such as:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Deduction from your federal income tax refund
  • Bank account funds seizure
  • Being held in contempt of court
  • Having your driver’s license suspended

Florida Family Law Attorneys

Do you have questions about child support in Florida? At Orlando Family Team, we have answers. Contact us today.