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Is It Possible to Get Child Support Without Getting a Divorce in Florida?


For a number of different reasons, a couple may decide to separate without actually getting a divorce. A husband and wife are by no means required to get divorced, even if they do not want to continue a romantic relationship. Some married couples decide to separate on a trial-basis. Other married couples agree to a long-term separation because it is simply the best option for their family.

This raises an important question for parents: Is it possible to get legally-mandated child support if you are separated but not divorced? In Florida, the law only allows a non-custodial spouse to seek child support in this situation. Here, our Tampa child support attorney provides a more in-depth overview of Florida law.

A Non-Custodial Spouse Can Ask a Court to Calculate Child Support

Under Florida’s child support guidelines, parents have a responsibility to provide financial support to their children. As a general rule, child support is sought during/after a divorce or when a paternity action is filed. However, a non-custodial parent can ask a court to determine their child support obligations even if only separated.

In this specific circumstance, a divorce filing is not required. The parent who will pay child support has  the right to ask a Florida court to make an official determination as to the appropriate amount. In some cases, it may make sense for a separated couple to resolve their support issues through this type of legal filing.

A Custodial Parent Must File for Divorce to Get Mandatory Child Support

Under Florida law, a custodial parent cannot file for child support if they are only separated from their partner. A spouse who would otherwise be eligible to request and receive child support must do so through a divorce action or a paternity action.

To be clear, this does not prevent separated parents from voluntarily coming to some type of arrangement. Still, divorce is generally the best option if the non-custodial spouse refuses to contribute the appropriate amount to support the child. Divorce allows custodial parents to assert their rights.

Parents Can Seek a Temporary Child Support Order After Filing for Divorce

It should be emphasized that custodial parents are not required to wait until a divorce is finalized to obtain child support. Once a parent files for divorce in Hillsborough County, they have the right to file a temporary petition for child support. A Florida court can set a temporary child support amount while a divorce case is still pending. A more permanent child support determination will be made when the case is finalized.

Contact Our Tampa Divorce Lawyers for Legal Assistance

At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Florida divorce attorneys are passionate, effective advocates for parents. We have deep experience handling complex child support cases. If you have questions about getting child support without getting a divorce, our law firm can help. Contact us now for a confidential family law consultation. From our Tampa legal office, we handle child support cases throughout Hillsborough County, including in Brandon and Riverview.

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