Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
As a Florida family law attorney, I often have calls from men that have been served with paternity papers who have just discovered they have a teenage child. Often, these men have already started their own family by the time they are told about the child and now they are looking to pay child support for the benefit of a kid they do not know. Florida law understands this can be an issue, so it only allows back child support only be calculated two years from the date of filing the petition for paternity. In addition, Florida case law has established that if the father did not know of the child and has children prior to finding out about the child, then child support may be calculated giving him credit for the children he presently has. The Florida child support guidelines gives credit for having a prior child support obligation, so the Florida courts have said that the father should get the same credit for kids he has in his life prior to the discovery of an unknown child.
To calculate child support for the children presently living with the father, the court may use a couple of calculations. The one that is easiest is taking the incomes of the father’s present household, as if the parents were getting divorced, and establishing what the child support obligation would be. Once that is established, then that number is put into the Florida child support calculation as a credit to the father.
It is important to present the right argument to the judge for the calculation to be done, so speak with a family law attorney if you have a paternity case.