A paternity action is generally established in one of two ways: 1) the Department of Revenue initiates a child support proceeding, or 2) the father or the mother of a minor child files a paternity action to establish child support and/or timesharing.

Unmarried fathers should be aware that although a child support proceeding through the Department of Revenue may establish paternity and a child support obligation, it generally does not establish a parenting plan or timesharing schedule, thus the mother (in most cases) retains sole parental responsibility and exclusive timesharing with the minor child. If a father wishes to have shared parental responsibility and/or timesharing with the minor child, it is important that he contact an experienced family law attorney.

Child support is determined primarily by the income of the parties. Heath insurance and employment related childcare expenses are also factors. Often, the amount of time spent with the child is taken into consideration. In Florida, parents are obligated to support their child until the age of 18 or until the child graduates high school. Sometimes parents will agree as to college expenses, but parents are not mandated as a matter of law to support their children through college.

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