The Florida Department of Revenue may intervene in child support cases to ensure that a minor child is receiving the care and support he or she is entitled to by law. Paternity is presumed when a husband and wife have a child within the bonds of marriage. However, if the parents are not married, the Department of Revenue may still collect child support from a father who may or may not be the actual biological father of a child.
A father may contest paternity, but the courts will always look to what is in the best interests of the child “[T]he courts require a determination of the child’s best interests. Some circumstances require specific procedures to be followed in evaluating a child’s best interests. For example, if paternity is contested, the child’s legitimacy is at issue, and the legal father has not had notice or an opportunity to be heard, the trial court is required to appoint a guardian ad litem and hear from the guardian and all the parties before proceeding.”
“A trial court may consider the child’s need for support. If the court determines that there is no compelling interest in overcoming the presumption, it must dismiss the paternity action against the putative father.”
The state has an interest in preserving parental rights, but also in ensuring that children are supported. Because of this, the court will look to the best interest of the children in any case involving minor children and family law.
See Dept. of Revenue on behalf of Garcia v. Iglesias & Garcia, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D160.
Patricia Dills is an Attorney with Martin Law Firm, P.L., whose practice
focuses in Divorce, Child Support, Family Law, and Civil Litigation. She
primarily practices in Naples, Collier County, and Fort Myers, Lee County Florida.
Does the Circuit Court have jurisdiction to modify child support payments originally established by an administrative support order?
Yes. In a recent appeal from the Circuit Court for Hamilton County, the Florida Department of Revenue challenged the Circuit Court’s order which adopted a Child Support Hearing Officer’s Report and Recommendation as the Order of the Court. The Order included a provision reducing the Appellee’s future child support payments, from $433.63 per month (as calculated by the Department of Revenue in accordance with section 409.2563, Florida Statutes) to $237.00 per month (as agreed by each parent), with the reduction to begin two years from the date of the Order.
Contrary to the Department of Revenue’s argument, the Appeals court found that section 409.2563 actually provides for the Circuit Court to have jurisdiction over a prospective modification of child support payments originally established by administrative support order.
As the Court advised, “The introductory language in section 409.2563, Florida Statutes specifically describes the legislative intent of the statute:
It is not the Legislature’s intent to limit the jurisdiction of the circuit courts to hear and determine issues regarding child support. This section is intended to provide the department with an alternative procedure for establishing child support obligations in Title IV-D cases in a fair and expeditious manner when there is no court order of support. In addition, section 409.2563(10)(c), Florida Statutes clearly recognizes the circuit court’s authority to issue an order prospectively changing the support obligation thusly: (c) A circuit court of this state, where venue is proper and the court has jurisdiction of the parties, may enter an order prospectively changing the support obligations established in an administrative support order, in which case the administrative support order is superseded and the court’s order shall govern future proceedings in the case….
See Florida Department of Revenue OBO Proveaue v. Williams, 36 Fla. L. Weekly D1955 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).
Patricia Dills is an Attorney with Martin Law Firm, P.L., whose practice focuses in Divorce, Child Support, Family Law, and Civil Litigation. She primarily practices in Naples, Collier County, and Lee County Florida.