Family Matters Law Group P.A.
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Reaching an Agreement in Child Support with DOR

Reaching an agreement in a DOR Child Support case is no easy task. When a person, typically, but not always a mother, obtains assistance from the State of Florida in obtaining or enforcing child support she actually assigns her right of child support to the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR). Sometimes she does this voluntarily, meaning she contacts the State in hopes of getting them to assist her, and sometimes she gets their assistance whether she wants it or not. This happens when she attempts to get food stamps or cash assistance from the State of Florida, who, in return, says we will help but only if you allow us to go after the Father of the child for child support on your behalf. Sometimes the mother is aware that she has assigned her rights of child support and sometimes she is unaware of this fact.

Regardless, once a mother has assigned her rights of child support to the State of Florida, she no longer possess the authority to negotiate child support or even back support, for that matter, on her own behalf. Accordingly, if you are trying to negotiate child support, either prospectively (meaning moving forward or in the future) or backwards you have to either a) get the DOR to approve the agreement or b) get the Mother to take back her rights to child support by requesting DOR to get off of the case. Option (a) is really only an option in theory, as DOR will NEVER agree to any settlement. They will nearly ALWAYS want to have a hearing and stick with what the Hearing Officer orders. Option (b) is sometimes an option, it depends on whether or not the mother has gotten benefits from the State of Florida, what type of benefits she received and how much they were valued at.

It is possible to take a chance on reaching an agreement with Mom and hoping for the best. For example, last year I represented a gentleman who owed $33,000 in back child support. He was able to come up with a payment of $20,000. Normally, I would not even suggest this as a settlement, because the payment plan was less than $100 / month for the $33,000 and it made more sense to pay that over time than to come up with a $20,000 lump sum, however, for him, he needed to have his passport reinstated and to do that your past due amount must be less than $2500. In this case, whether or not DOR approved the settlement (which they did not and refused to do) it would be very unlikely that a Judge would not honor the agreement as it benefited both parties and substantially complied with the outstanding amount owed. Taking this kind of a chance on making a payment and having the mother sign a statement (stating that the total outstanding amount owed has been satisfied in full and no further child support is owed) is a chance sometimes worth taking but is based on a case by case analysis. Further, it is NEVER guaranteed to be honored by a Court, because, the actual "right" to negotiate a settlement is held by DOR. In any case you should never take on negotations of support where DOR is involved without the assistance of an experiences family law attorney. 

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