2010 Florida Statutes
Actions for support.
Actions for support.—
In each case in which regular support payments are not being made as provided herein, the department shall institute, within 30 days after determination of the obligor’s reasonable ability to pay, action as is necessary to secure the obligor’s payment of current support and any arrearage which may have accrued under an existing order of support. The department shall notify the program attorney in the judicial circuit in which the recipient resides setting forth the facts in the case, including the obligor’s address, if known, and the public assistance case number. Whenever applicable, the procedures established under the provisions of chapter 88, Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, chapter 61, Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time-sharing, chapter 39, Proceedings Relating to Children, chapter 984, Children and Families in Need of Services, and chapter 985, Delinquency; Interstate Compact on Juveniles, may govern actions instituted under the provisions of this act, except that actions for support under chapter 39, chapter 984, or chapter 985 brought pursuant to this act shall not require any additional investigation or supervision by the department.
The order for support entered pursuant to an action instituted by the department under the provisions of subsection (1) shall require that the support payments be made periodically to the department through the depository. Upon receipt of a payment made by the obligor pursuant to any order of the court, the depository shall transmit the payment to the department within 2 working days, except those payments made by personal check which shall be disbursed in accordance with s. 61.181. Upon request, the depository shall furnish to the department a certified statement of all payments made by the obligor. Such statement shall be provided by the depository at no cost to the department.
When it is no longer authorized to receive payments for the obligee, the department shall notify the depository to redirect income deduction payments to the obligee.
Whenever the Department of Revenue has undertaken an action for enforcement of support, the Department of Revenue may enter into an agreement with the obligor for the entry of a judgment determining paternity, if applicable, and for periodic child support payments based on the child support guidelines schedule in s. 61.30. Before entering into this agreement, the obligor shall be informed that a judgment will be entered based on the agreement. The clerk of the court shall file the agreement without the payment of any fees or charges, and the court, upon entry of the judgment, shall forward a copy of the judgment to the parties to the action.
Whenever the department has undertaken an action to determine paternity, to establish an obligation of support, or to enforce or modify an obligation of support, the department shall be a party to the action only for those purposes allowed under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. The program attorney shall be the attorney of record solely for the purposes of support enforcement as authorized under Title IV-D and may prosecute only those activities which are eligible for federal financial participation under Title IV-D. An attorney-client relationship exists only between the department and the legal services providers in all Title IV-D cases. The attorney shall advise the obligee in Title IV-D cases that the attorney represents the agency and not the obligee.
The department and its officers, employees, and agents and all persons and agencies acting pursuant to contract with the department are immune from liability in tort for actions taken to establish, enforce, or modify support obligations if such actions are taken in good faith, with apparent legal authority, without malicious purpose, and in a manner not exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of rights or property of another.
The director of the department, or the director’s designee, is authorized to subpoena from any person financial and other information necessary to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order.
For the purpose of establishing or modifying a child support order, or enforcing a support order, the director of the department or another state’s Title IV-D agency, or any employee designated by the director of the department or authorized under another state’s law, may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, take evidence and require the production of any matter which is relevant to the support action, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of material evidence.
Subpoenas issued by the department or another state’s Title IV-D agency may be challenged in accordance with s. 120.569(2)(k)1. While a subpoena is being challenged, the department may not impose a fine as provided for under paragraph (c) until the challenge is complete and the subpoena has been found to be valid.
The department is authorized to impose a fine for failure to comply with a subpoena. Failure to comply with the subpoena, or to challenge the subpoena as provided in paragraph (b), within 15 days after service of the subpoena may result in the agency taking the following actions:
Imposition of an administrative fine of not more than $500.
The department may seek to collect administrative fines imposed pursuant to paragraph (c) by filing a petition in the circuit court of the judicial circuit in which the person against whom the fine was imposed resides. All fines collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the Child Support Enforcement Application and Program Revenue Trust Fund.
In cases in which support is subject to an assignment as provided under 45 C.F.R. s. 301.1, the department shall, upon providing notice to the obligor and obligee, direct the obligor or other payor to change the payee to the appropriate depository.
For the purpose of securing delinquent support, the department may increase the amount of the monthly support obligation to include amounts for delinquencies, subject to such conditions or limitations as set forth in paragraph (b).
In support obligations not subject to income deduction, the department shall notify the obligor of his or her delinquency and of the department’s intent to require an additional 20 percent of the monthly obligation amount to allow for collection of the delinquency unless, within 20 days, the obligor:
Pays the delinquency in full; or
Files a petition with the circuit court to contest the delinquency action.
For the purposes of denial, revocation, or limitation of an obligor’s United States passport, consistent with 42 U.S.C. s. 652(k)(1), the department shall have procedures to certify to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that an obligor owes arrearages of support in an amount exceeding $2,500. Said procedures shall provide that the obligor be given notice of the determination and of the consequence thereof and an opportunity to contest the accuracy of the determination.
The Department of Revenue shall review child support orders in IV-D cases at least once every 3 years when requested by either party, or when support rights are assigned to the state under s. 414.095(7), and may seek modification of the order if appropriate under the child support guidelines in s. 61.30. Not less than once every 3 years the department shall provide notice to the parties subject to the order informing them of their right to request a review and, if appropriate, a modification of the child support order. The notice requirement may be met by including appropriate language in the initial support order or any subsequent orders.
If the department’s review of a support order entered by the circuit court indicates that the order should be modified, the department, through counsel, shall file a petition to modify the order with the court. Along with the petition, the department shall file a child support guideline worksheet, any financial affidavits or written declarations, pursuant to s. 61.30(15), received from the parties or completed by the department as part of the support order review, a proposed modified order that includes findings as to the source and amount of income, and a notice that informs the parties of the requirement to file an objection or a request for hearing with the court if the party wants a court hearing on the petition to modify. A copy of the petition, proposed order, and other documents shall be served by regular mail on a party who requested the support order review. A party that did not request the support order review shall be served personally in any manner authorized under chapter 48.
To obtain a court hearing on a petition to modify a support order, a party who is served by regular mail must file an objection to the proposed order or a request for hearing with the court within 30 days after the date on which the petition, proposed order, and other documents were mailed. If a party is served personally, to obtain a court hearing on a petition to modify the party must file an objection to the proposed order or a request for hearing with the court within 30 days after the date of receipt of the petition, proposed order, and other documents.
If a timely objection or request for hearing is not filed with the court, the court may modify the support order without a hearing in accordance with the terms of the proposed order.
If a support order does not provide for payment of noncovered medical expenses or require health insurance for the minor child and health insurance is accessible to the child and available at a reasonable cost, the department shall seek to have the order modified and any modification shall be made without a requirement for proof or showing of a change in circumstances.
When the department files a petition for modification of a child support order and the petition is accompanied with a verified motion signed by the department to redirect payment alleging that:
The child was formerly residing with a relative caretaker as defined in s. 414.0252, the child support payments were redirected to the relative caretaker, and the child is now residing with the original payee,
then the court shall enter a temporary order, ex parte, within 5 days that redirects the child support payments to the relative caretaker or original payee pending a final hearing and may grant such relief as the court deems proper. Upon the filing of a verified motion by the department to redirect payment, the relative caretaker is deemed a party to the proceedings.
In the event that it is subsequently determined by the court that the child support payments were improperly diverted, the department shall pay the improperly diverted child support payments to the appropriate party and shall attempt to recoup any child support improperly paid.
The department shall have the authority to adopt rules to implement this section.
s. 5, ch. 76-220; s. 143, ch. 86-220; s. 20, ch. 92-138; s. 12, ch. 95-222; s. 89, ch. 96-175; s. 48, ch. 97-170; s. 39, ch. 98-280; s. 24, ch. 98-397; ss. 12, 13, ch. 99-375; s. 54, ch. 2000-153; s. 93, ch. 2000-165; s. 31, ch. 2001-158; ss. 28, 29, ch. 2005-39; s. 1, ch. 2005-61; s. 4, ch. 2007-85; s. 22, ch. 2008-61; s. 10, ch. 2010-187.