New Law Adds Procedures to Child Support and Parental Time Sharing Agreements

In the United States, we have laws in place to help dictate the requirements, privileges, and obligations of each individual in every aspect of his or her life. Personal life is no exception, though the courts are hesitant to grapple with issues regarding how to raise a child, who one should be permitted to marry, and appropriate types of relationship and intimacy within the confines of marriage. However, there are public policy arguments to determine why the law and the government should get involved with people’s personal lives, especially when there is a third party who may be vulnerable and subject to any disruption due to a personal crisis.

There are certain limitations as to the right of intervention on behalf of the government on your personal life. If you believe that your fundamental parenting rights are being infringed upon, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney.

The Law, Marriage, Divorce, and Children

Though the courts are generally hesitant to intervene in the fundamental rights of parenting, they make exceptions when a child is at the center of the issue. The law extends into this personal matter because there is public policy to ensure that a child of a broken relationship does not become a ward of the state. A couple that enters into a relationship that results in a child has the privilege of their fundamental rights in parenting that child, but with that privilege comes the responsibilities and obligations to clothe, feed, provide basic necessities, and ensure that the child has every opportunity to be loved and cared for. When there is a divorce in the marriage or a breakup of the parents who may not be married, the court still finds that the parents must make arrangements for the child to receive the basic necessities and that both parents are responsible for the financial support of the child.

Florida’s Policy on Co-Parents

In Florida over the last few years, there has been a push to include co-parents in any arrangement, understanding that there is a rebuttable presumption that it is in the best interest of the child to have both parents in the picture, unless there is evidence to the contrary. Because of that, the law has been slowly but surely addressing this policy shift to include co-parenting plans into the divorce documents and time sharing arrangements of the child to ensure that the child has both parents in his or her life.

Senate Bill 590 and the Increased Role of the Department of Revenue

In a recent law that passed in Florida, the Florida Senate bill 590 looked to clarify more with regards to child support and parenting time plans in Florida. The Senate Bill 590 authorized that the Department of Revenue would be taking over certain responsibilities regarding child support and parenting plans within the state. The department was designated by the state to be the agency that would administer the child support enforcement program, known as Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. The department is empowered to enforce on behalf of public policy child support plans to ensure that the children are in a situation where both parents are maintaining them as best as possible.

Purpose Behind the Update in Process and Procedure

The increased role of the department was to help local programs to ensure that parents that are living far apart are continually meeting their financial obligations in the upkeep of the children. To help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the child support program, Florida, through this law and others, is affecting child support initiatives that incorporate the parenting time, visitation, and custodial plans with the child support orders so all of the information is kept together and calculated at the same time. The standardization of this process will streamline the entire divorce and child custody process.

The most significant impact of this change will be to create a process for couples who have never married to outline and align a parenting plan along with their child support obligations.

The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.