Your Rights as a Custodial or Noncustodial Parent

When you get divorced, your role as a parent may change drastically. Before divorce, you were probably living with your child and it was easier to communicate on parenting styles and which parent would pay for what expenses. Now that you and your ex are moving out and splitting up, you won’t see your child as much and more responsibilities will have to be divided.


During divorce proceedings, the court will try to award joint custody, which means that both parents will be given the responsibility of caring for the child and must both make decisions about the future of the child’s health, education, and so on. They believe that involvement by both parents is what is in the best interests of the child except in very specific circumstances. For a list of the factors that Florida uses to determine the responsibilities of each parent, check out some of our past blog posts.

That being said, they will still need to name one of you the custodial parent, and the other the noncustodial parent. What do those terms mean?


Custodial Parents. A custodial parent is the parent who lives with the child (or lives with the child during the majority of the week/month/year). The custodial parent is responsible for the child’s basic needs: shelter, food, clothes, and so on. In many cases, the custodial parent will receive financial help from the noncustodial parent so he or she does not have to provide for the child or children alone.


Your Rights as the Custodial Parent:

You have the right to request a review if you have any questions or concerns about your child support payment. If your case is still active or changing, you also have the right to be updated on the case. The Department of Revenue, the state department that oversees child support enforcement, has a responsibility to you to ensure that child support is being paid on time by the noncustodial parent.


Florida Child Custody Lawyer

Noncustodial Parents. The noncustodial parent may not live with or see the child, but that does not mean this parent has no rights or responsibilities. Noncustodial parents still have a legal responsibility to the child, which includes providing financial care in the form of child support payments.


Your Rights as the Noncustodial Parent:

You have the right to request that your child support payments be altered. Changes in employment or parental responsibilities warrant a review from the state; however, there are restrictions for when you can and cannot request a review:


  • You cannot change your child support payments in the last six months you have been sentenced to pay child support.
  • If your order hasn’t been reviewed or modified in three years, you can request a review.
  • You must be able to prove that there is a legitimate reason for changing your order (change in income, change in number of children, substantial change in child’s health).


You also have the right to hire a lawyer who can represent you while discussing and heading to trial for support issues. If you want to discuss your case with Child Support eServices (CSE), your communication will go through your lawyer.


Failing to Pay Child Support


Adjusting your child support payments allows the Department of Revenue to make sure that you are able to pay your child support in full and on time. Failing to pay child support, however, will result in swift action against you. Child support may be taken from your income, your assets may be seized, or you may be arrested for contempt of court.


For any issues regarding child support or divorce proceedings, contact a Florida family lawyer today.