Most Florida parents are familiar with child support cases that arise through the state’s family court system. Not as many know about cases that are filed by the Florida Department of Revenue (“DOR”). If you are a parent facing a DOR proceeding, you may have questions about the process and your legal rights. We’re here to give you answers.
DOR cases often move quickly in establishing child support orders. Parents who do not or cannot comply with those orders will find themselves confronted with enforcement actions that could further complicate their lives. You can’t afford to go it alone. Turn to the professionals at Orlando Family Team.
Overview Of Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Cases
The DOR Child Support Program partners with state and federal agencies and private companies to establish and enforce child support when one or both parents are not paying it. This is accomplished through several different services:
- Establishing and modifying child support and medical support orders
- Locating parents and assets that may be used to support a child
- Establishing paternity
- Receiving and distributing child support payments
- Monitoring child support collections
- Enforcing child support against non-compliant parents
The DOR can even assist when the parent from whom support is sought lives in a different state. What the DOR cannot do is establish child custody or time-sharing. Neither does the DOR help with divorce, spousal support, or alimony.
Why Would DOR Initiate A Child Support Action?
Although there are many reasons the Department of Revenue would seek child support, the most common one is when the custodial parent is receiving state benefits. When the non-custodial parent refuses or is unable to provide child support, the custodial parent must turn to public assistance such as Medicaid and food stamps. To alleviate the burden this places on taxpayers, the DOR pursues support actions against the non-custodial parent.
An applicant for public assistance is required to disclose whether they have a child, whether the child lives with them, and whether the other parent resides in the same household. If a parent states that the other parent lives somewhere else, DOR will go after that parent for child support.
What Procedures Are Involved With DOR Actions?
The DOR will initiate a child support action by mailing the parents a Notice of Proceeding to Establish Administrative Support Order. The parent from whom child support is requested has the option to move the case to the circuit court system. Otherwise, the proceeding will continue in administrative court. In that event, the parent will complete an information form and financial affidavit, which are used to prepare a proposed order.
You have the option to request an administrative hearing, but there are certain time limitations and procedures that must be followed. Hearing officers and DOR attorneys are well aware that most parents they deal with do not understand the ins and outs of administrative proceedings. These are different from the rules that operate in circuit court, and failure to strictly adhere to them could jeopardize your case. If you receive notice of a child support proceeding of any kind, it’s in your best interest to seek the help of a skilled family law attorney.
Are DOR Orders The Same As Court Orders?
A child support order obtained through DOR proceedings is every bit as enforceable as one issued by a circuit court. To compel compliance, the DOR may send notices to your employer obligating it to withhold monthly payments.
A parent who fails to make child support payments can be subjected to a number of different enforcement actions, including the following:
- Suspension of the parent’s driver’s license
- Suspension of the parent’s business license
- Suspension of the parent’s recreational licenses (e.g. hunting and fishing)
- Collecting money from insurance settlements, tax refunds, workers’ compensation benefits, and other sources
- Placing a lien on the parent’s motor vehicle or boat
- Garnishing bank and other financial accounts
- Reporting past due payments to credit bureaus
- Denying a passport renewal
- Court action, which may result in jail time
To put it simply, the State of Florida will do everything in its power to make you comply with its orders. If you owe child support pursuant to a DOR order, it is strongly recommended that you do not wait. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan or another way to handle past-due payments. You also may be able to modify the amount ordered so you can meet your future obligations. Having an experienced attorney is critical to protecting your rights and handling your child support responsibilities.
How Can Orlando Family Team Help Me?
Many parents want to financially support their children, but simply do not have the means to do so. Although the DOR will attempt to work with a parent to help him or her to meet this obligation, the DOR does not work for you. You cannot expect a hearing officer to explain your legal rights or the procedures you can take to defend yourself.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a DOR enforcement action, your case can quickly spiral out of control. You may start to accumulate substantial amounts of back child support that can overwhelm you. Worse, you could face a driver’s license suspension, jail time, or other enforcement actions that will only make it that much more difficult to catch up.
Contact Our Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Attorney Today!
At Orlando Family Team, we understand the procedures that govern these types of cases. You may be entitled to information from the other parent, but this takes familiarity with the discovery process. Your case will likely be better handled in circuit court, so we may be able to help move it there. Regardless, you need an advocate to help ensure the process is fair and the amount of child support is reasonable.
No matter what kind of child support case you have, let Orlando Family Team help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.