Child Support Judgement Appealed in the 4th DCA of Florida

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Child Support Judgment of Delinquent Child Support for 12 Years

As previously written I have been in court for over a year trying to obtain child support enforcement. I have had to learn more about the law then I have cared. I now know how to file motions, petitions and all kinds of legal documents. I have read the law and can quote the Florida Statutes which are applicable and I have even obtain a judgment for my son’s Father to pay child support. It is amazing to me he can claim to be indigent but retained an attorney for over a year to dispute his obligations to pay the judgment. As I write this he has made the indigent claim to the 4th District Court of Appeals in Palm Beach and they are considering taking the case.

My son’s Father is on public assistance and is not disabled as determined the courts. He is almost 4 months behind in child support payments and retains his driver’s license and continues to collect public assistance. This is a person with a degree. Actually he has several and is very capable of working but is voluntarily unemployed at this time.

First and foremost I feel like this is a terrible injustice to my son and me in which this person is getting away with this but then I have to ask, “Where are the stewards of the state’s public assistance dollars?” Why should an able body person continue to draw welfare when he hasn’t paid his child support?

His attorney is playing a very unscrupulous trick in that she has filed a notice of appeal but hasn’t filed the actual appeal. Of course she has no real legal grounds in which to file the appeal. If anything the courts were very generous to my son’s biological Father.

I have countered this move with a motion to expedite the hearing if in fact the 4th DCA actually is willing to hear and appeal of a dead beat Father. But then I would have to wonder why the taxpayers along with us are being so ripped off. This person owes this money. There hasn’t been an appeal filed because there are no grounds. The notice of appeal was only to attempt to stay the judgment which was denied. If the biological Father attorney who is indigent but can afford an attorney to fight in the 4th District Court, actual filed the appeal it would be denied. She has no grounds and we have to endure yet another stall tactic, which costs the state more money and keeps my son in poverty longer.

There is a move for me to make after this and it is coming because as nasty as the biological Father and his attorney can be I can answer with motions and petitions as well. I am not an attorney but after a year of this I am starting to catch on. Time is running out for this dead beat Dad who has not shown one ounce of concern for his child or willingness to live up to his court ordered obligation but wastes his money on an attorney which can not change the DNA test or his obligation.

For anyone going through this if you have to care for your child without the financial assistance of the biological Father and therefore can’t afford an attorney to handle your case I highly recommend hanging out at the Clerk’s office. They can’t help you legally but you can file motions with them. Sometimes while I wait I listen to the motions being filed just to get ideas.

It was never my goal to put my son’s dead beat Father in jail but he is in contempt of a court order for over 4 months now. He and his lawyer have insulted the process by filing a notice of appeal but not an actual appeal. So when he is wearing strips and is behind bars for none payment I will not feel sorry for him. He owes me a great deal of money and it is time he pay or work in a prison and pay. It is his choice but my son deserves better and I will not stop until he receives it.

Advice to Dead Beat Dads

If you are a dead beat Dad and haven't paid your child support, my suggestion is to pay it all immediately. And since you know you are a dead beat Dad and haven't paid accept the judgment and do not struggle. The absolute worst thing a dead beat Dad can do is not accept responsibility as he is an inmate just waiting to be imprisoned.

And if you are a woman of a child who has a dead beat Dad, never surrender your child's rights to be reared out of poverty. Every child has a Father and if the Father can't be a decent Father the least they can do is pay their child support payments. It is your child's right. And how you handle this will make all the difference in how your child lives as an adult.

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Comments 11 comments

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Don't even let me get started on what I went through for SIX YEARS to finally collect child support from my son's father who was gainfully employed the entire time. I'm not a super-brain by any means but AM of above-average intelligence, and even then, had a hard time making sense of the laws that apply to CSE. Part of the problem was that for years, my case had been deemed a "civil action", not criminal, and things only started moving when one judge decided it WAS "criminal" after all, thanks to my son's father repeatedly being in contempt of court by never, not once, showing up at any of the hearings.

It should NOT be this difficult to force a deadbeat dad pay child support. If he CAN and DOES pay an attorney to fight it, he's NOT "indigent"! You have my sympathies.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks Jama,

Agreed. Unfortunately it is not seen as a criminal matter but a civil contempt matter. If it were considered a crime then I am certain more men would pay their child support.

I am sorry for your hardships as well.

But I have a great deal of appreciation for men who take care of their children both financially and emotionally.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Some states ARE treating non-payment as a criminal matter. It finally dawned that every dollar that goes unpaid is a dollar the mother could be using to feed and house a growing child. Expenses that might have to be paid by taxpayers in the form of food stamps, "free" school lunches, and housing vouchers. Well, duh....


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Jama,

Good to know. My son's Father is on welfare and paying his attorney and indigent???? He is already hurting the taxpayer. He has been on public assistance for the better part of the last decade.

I really do appreciate all those caring Dad's that pay for their children voluntarily. In Florida tonight they had a Mr. Mom on the news. As if all Mom's should go out and support their husbands to stay home. If they can't keep a job they definitely don't have the dedication to care for a child without pay.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

I appreciate all the dads who voluntarily pay, too. In fact, that was part of the holdup with my son's child support. My daughter's father was paying voluntarily, on time, every month. But every time I'd inquire about the status of my son's case, they'd haul my ex - who was paying faithfully - into court. Simply because he was "right there" under their noses and my son's father wasn't. The last time the County Attorney did that, though, I sat with my ex, and the judge (an old family friend I'd known all my life) had to call a recess to keep from laughing out loud when the C.A. announced he was representing ME. Hello. When the judge came back, he rescheduled the hearing for 3 months later, "time [the C.A] apparently needs to determine EXACTLY who he's representing".

Meanwhile, I had my son's case moved to a different county entirely, and that's when things finally started to happen. If memory serves, by law, every state has a central Child Support Enforcement Division charged with handling CSE cases that have, like my son's, become bogged down in a county/district court. You might look into that.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks for sharing and I will keep it in mind. The case is in another county all together since it is an appeals court so it is out of my hands right now but I will check to see if I can change the venue although it is hard given my son has medical complexities it is difficult for me to even make it to court locally. But I will keep your advice under advisement.

Thank You!!

JT


kanada 2 years ago

If anyone can offer any advise it would be greatly appreciated... I feel like I'm fighting a loosing battle :( My children's father and I have been separated for ten years. He wound up going to prison for five years. After eight years of not paying a dime, he got a very expensive attorney and for two years now we have been going through court, and it looks like he is going to prevail. He owes $160,000.00 in back child support. Although his corporate data shows he makes an average of $120,000.00 a year, he put the business in his girlfriend's name.. and filed with the court that he makes minimum wage. He's petitioned to have all of his back support recalculated according to that, although our business while we were together earned over 100 K a year. The judge is allowing him time sharing credits of 125 days a year even though he hasn't seen the oldest child in 18 months and the youngest around 45 times in the past year. The oldest child will be 18 next month and they are emancipating him, even though he is still a high school student. With the time sharing credits he will wind up paying $124.00 a month for two teenage boys. For eight years I've had to work two and three jobs to support them. Now I'm unemployed and he doesn't have to step up and help out. I feel it's very unjust. My boys are being punished because their father got himself in trouble, and is now to greedy to consider their needs!!! Because it is a Department of Revenue case I don't qualify for legal aid, and there is no way I can afford an attorney. I feel so helpless, the judge seems to ignore all the facts. My kids are honor students and star athletes, they deserve so much better!!!! It appears that the laws only protect the deadbeats!!


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 2 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Kanada,

First, it is important that you recognize what a positive influence you are on your children. They are doing exceedingly well despite their social circumstances. Two years in I would have sworn I would have never received a dime too.

The good news the department of revenue is very good about finding money. For instance, it doesn't matter that your "Ed's" business is in the girlfriend's name now. DOR is smart enough to see schemes like that and work them to your advantage.

Keep the faith a eventually you will succeed. I would 'be appealed the decision of the credit hours of shared custody credits since your ex does not really share not custody and therefore does not deserve the credits. Since that is not a pending issue infront of the hearing officer then you can appeal it or file a separate case. I actually have worked with DOR in Tallahassee and find them to be most competent but you have to get the right person on the phone.

Keep working the system and let them know you are going all the way to the top to get the child support but I agree single women are at a significant disadvantage in these hearings as they will always have their priorities straight caring for their children first before submerging their ex in extreme poverty like they have me been left in. For the men it seems to be a game in which they try to pay the least the longest. You probably have a year and a half left to go before winning. Hang in there. It is worth it in the end and besides it is all about helping your kids.

It can not give legal advice because I am not a lawyer but if I could I would!!! Best of luck to you and your family.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 2 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Kanada & et al,

I apologize for the typos I just had major surgery and I am recovering. Thank for your understanding in advance.

JT


Kanada 2 years ago

Thank you very much for the support JT Walters, I truly hope you are right, :)


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 2 years ago from Florida Author

Kanada,

I had just had major surgery when I responded to you but my advice is the same. I would add a caveat to hit food banks. Volunteer one day a week and they will not let you go hungry.

DOR has stayed on top of my son's Father each and every single month so when you win, and you will because you will not go away until you do, then I would imagine you will be able to count on those checks.

It is the old adage, "quitters never win and winners never quit" but I know how hard it is. I share in your pain and I still have a huge judgement which my son's Father pays back $25 a month and the judgement is huge. But how can I be mad? I look in my son's beautiful face and no matter how difficult or challenging it is to live in poverty, I am the luckiest Mom in the whole wide world because my son is with me. You sound just as lucky. You will win, it is just going to test you.

I have to say once I got past admitting I was poor and really need help just putting food on the table, my community (a black community which I am white) came driving up with food. They would not let us go hungry. I am so blessed to have the dear great friends I have in this community. There are people there for you too. Farmer's markets donate, churches and then there are food banks. I never understood why we had to endure but I am glad we did so I can say persist and you will succeed.

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