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Fathers struggle with child support, custody

Florida parents often struggle with adjusting to the new norms laid out by their child custody agreements. However, some fathers say it is not a matter of getting used to a new life, but that of getting the short end of the stick when it comes to child support and custody. Even as parenting expectations change, many dads feel that their ability to parent is not respected after divorce.

A recent CNN report featured several fathers who say their stories are not at all unique. One man spoke of the limited access he currently has to his child. He was not married to his child's mother, and at the time of birth, his name was left off the birth certificate. Although he wants to play an active role in his son's life, he only sees him four nights per month.

Another man talked about the $680,000 in child support that he still owes. When he initially had trouble making the court-ordered payments, he was jailed and lost his job at a medical practice, where he was a pediatrician. He has since declared bankruptcy and earns only $100 in a single month, and cannot see a point in time where he will be able to pay the support he still owes.

In the United States, mothers comprise 80 percent of all custodial parents. This leaves many Florida fathers with limited access to their children, despite a deep yearning to be active fathers. When custody arrangements do not fully reflect a child's best interests to spend time with both parents, or when court-ordered child support payments exceed what a person can reasonably pay, it is important to seek a modification through the family law court in as timely a manner as possible.

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