I live in Texas, but my son was born in Florida 8 years ago while I was attending college. I was there for his birth and signed his birth certificate. After the first year his mother did not allow me to see him and has never provided me with info on his whereabouts (unknown today). She has not requested child support, but I would like to begin making child support payments. Would it be best to initiate the process with the FL DOR (sign-up for services, complete financial affidavit, complete paternity declaration) myself, or consult an attorney first. I want to begin paying child support regardless of if I see my son or not. However, I want to make sure I go about this process the correct way. (I live in Houston, Texas now; Son was born in Panama City, Florida)
Child Support Lawyer
The DOR (Department of Revenue) is usually only involved in a child support case when the mother of the child is receiving state aid of some sort (Food Stamps, WIC, etc.) You may be able to do the same thing through the Child Support Enforcement office in Panama City.
Family Law Attorney
Assuming that the mother and child still live in Florida, it would be in your best interest to consult with a private attorney regarding your specific situation. It sounds like you will need to file a paternity action. That will allow you to get a parenting plan in place and, thus, address you issues with visitation and child support. Best of luck.
Disclaimer: These questions and responses are not protected by the attorney-client privilege. Additionally, my answering your question does not make me your attorney or create an attorney-client relationship. The response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances should be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you are encouraged to consult with an attorney in your area to discuss your case in person. Roberto M. Vazquez, Esq. and the Morey Law Firm, P.A. practice law throughout the state of Florida only. Please visit our website at www.moreylawfirm.com.
Child Support Lawyer
You should definitely consult with an attorney in the area where your child is living. Then, I would assume that attorney would recommend that you file a Petition for Paternity to establish a parenting plan as well as the child support. It is often easier, in my opinion, to deal with things (modifications etc) in the court system rather than through the DOR. So, best bet is to get it in the right arena from the start.
This response is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney to fully discuss your issues.