Who begins a child support case and how? English/EspanolBy DADvocacy™ | January 8, 2013
There are four different ways a child support case begins.
- Parent –initiated private case: One parent files a lawsuit against the other, with or without a lawyer in Circuit court
- Parent-initiated State case: One parent asks the State of Florida to file a lawsuit against other parent in Circuit court. Under new legislation, the case may even begin by the parent who is NOT the custodian or primary caretaker. The State of Florida does this for any parent, regardless of income, for free.
- State-initiated State case/judicial : The State of Florida files a lawsuit against who they believe is the noncustodial parent in Circuit court. The custodial parent may or may not want this suit to take place, but has signed a contract allowing the State to do so when that parent applied for some type of governmental assistance.
- State-initiated State case/administrative: The State of Florida opens an administrative proceeding against who they believe is the noncustodial parent. This proceeding will happen on paper only, without any court hearings or testimony, and will move very quickly. The custodial parent may or may not want this suit to take place, but has signed a contract allowing the State to do so when that parent applied for some type of governmental assistance. This type of proceeding is generally considered the worst type of case to be involved in by family law practitioners. In an administrative case, child support is based on incomes only, and without regard to the custodial parent’s unique circumstances (such as daycare, or extraordinary medical expenses for a special needs child) and without regard to the noncustodial parent’s special circumstances as defenses, such as significant time sharing, other children, or direct payments to the custodial parent. At DADvocacy, we encourage our clients to get out of an administrative proceeding by timely filing their own circuit court proceeding.