Not every Florida parent who navigates the family court system does so because of divorce. A single parent may have child custody issues to resolve, as well. For instance, if a parent who was never married to a co-parent is raising his or her child full time, it does not necessarily mean the court legally considers him or her a custodial parent.
If an unmarried co-parent is voluntarily uninvolved with his or her child, it does not necessarily mean the parent who is providing for the child is the legal custodial parent. In some situations, the court may require the parent in question to file a formal petition to legally be the custodial parent of his or her child. State laws vary, which is why it is imperative that a concerned parent seek clarification regarding the laws in his or her home state.
A custodial parent typically spends more time with his or her children than a co-parent with visitation. It is also common for custodial parents to receive child support from their co-parents. This is another issue where guidelines vary by state, and a judge overseeing such a case will take many factors into consideration before determining whether one or the other parent should pay child support, as well as the amount of such payments and how and when payments process.
Any single parent in Florida who is unsure whether he or she must file a child custody petition to legally be his or her child’s custodial parent may seek clarification by requesting a meeting with an experienced family law attorney. It is helpful to stay connected to an attorney during and after proceedings. Doing so makes it easier to reach out for additional support as needed.