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Law Pro
Law Pro, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 24870
Experience:  20 years practicing family law from divorce, custody, support, alimony to equitable distribution
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My ex-husband received custody of our two children back in

Customer Question

My ex-husband received custody of our two children back in 1999. At that time, the court order stated that the courts shall not set any child support amount to be paid by me. On June 10, 2009, my ex-husband took me to court to get child support. I was not there at the hearing, I did not get a copy of the order; however, received a letter from Dept. of Revenue stating I was $13,000 in arrears. I have never been court ordered to pay child support so not sure why this is. Can I get a copy of the court order and how but can I appeal it? I have been paying voluntary child support for the last 3 years. Can I send copies of the cancelled checks if the arrearages cannot be waived?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.
What state are you in?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I live in South Carolina. The case is a Florida case.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.
What your going to have to do is file an appeal. When exactly was the order entered?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The original order where my ex-husband got custody of the children was back in 1999. It wasn't until June 10, 2009 that he went back to court to get the child support and it was awarded with arrearages???? How do I file an appeal when I do not have a copy of the order? I attempted to call the State Attorney's Office, the Dept. of Revenue, and the courthouse in Bartow, FL; however, keep running into deadends. I attempted as well to get the copy online but that document is not available online.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

Then your going to have to go to the courthouse and get a copy. Then immediately retain local counsel to file the appeal because most likely your already beyond the time within which to file such. However, that your beyond the time to appeal can be circumvented because you never recieved a copy of the order.


Yes, they can't go back further than the request - unless they go back to the original date in 1999 which states something different than what your stating.


He wasn't getting state of federal aid for the children was he?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I live in SC and the court is in Florida. Is there no other way to get a copy other than to drive to Florida to get it????? Also, can I file an appeal on my own? When I did talk to the State Attorney's office back in May when I was served to appear in court on June 10, 2009, they stated that I had 30 days to appeal so I apparently have time to file an appeal.

The original court order clearly states that no child support will be ordered at that time. It wasn't until the June 10, 2009 hearing that they imposed child support to be paid by me; however, it was entered that I was $13,000 in arrears. If no child support was ordered EVER, then how can I be in arrears when child support was just ordered on June 10, 2009?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

You can retain an attorney to get it for you and file your appeal OR you can request them to send you a copy by calling the judge's clerk who entered the order or contacting the clerk of records.


That's great your not out of time yet. However, since there is so much money at stake I would make certain that I didn't let the appeal time slip by.


Yes, you can file the appeal yourself certainly. It wouldn't be that hard to do. However, if you want to do such I would drive down to the court and get a copy of the order AND pick up their appeals procedure and forms at the same time.


Yes, if your certain that no order of support was entered way back when AND that they didn't leave it open that they could go back to that date - then the court was certainly wrong, in violation and error of the law and statute, and committed judicial misconduct even - an abuse of judicial power certainly.


It's not that hard to file an appeal but you do have to be able to cite the law and statute that the judge was in error of - that takes research and knowledge of the procedure. If you haven't done it before - I don't think I would let this be my first considering the amount of money at stake.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Before I consider hiring an attorney, I have typed "exactly" what the 1999 order states below. What does this mean?

"Based on the former's wife's current financial difficulties, the court shall not set any amount of child support for the former wife to pay to the former husband at this time. However, the court shall specifically reserve jurisdiction for the entry of further orders concerning a modification with regard to child support payable by the former wife to the former husband."

Also, I have requested copies of the order for June 10, 2009. I should have that in a few days. Is there a website where I can go to get the appeal forms????
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

That potentially could be construed to mean (on a real abstract level) that the judge could/can impose child support retroactively. However, that's against the statute and case law - they can only enter an order from the date a request was made and no further back than that.


Yes, here:


At that same site you can get the rules too for you to cite in your brief on the matter.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
So if I am understanding this right, since my ex-husband filed this year because obviously we had to go to court last month then that is what you are stating as a "request." Because my ex never asked for child support 10 years ago and this is the first time this is coming up, the courts would or could ask for retroactive child support from just this year right? It sounds like the courts retroactivated it from January 2006 based on what my ex told me.

How much would an attorney cost me? Can I get a referral for a Florida attorney?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

Yes, from just this year or when he filed the motion for the request. For example - If A files a motion for a child support hearing on September 1, 2009 and the court allows A to get the hearing - usually the hearing isn't until 3 months later or November or December 2009. The furthest back arrearages can go is back to September 1, 2009 - that's it.


Yes, it would seem they made it retroactive back to 1999 - wrongfully so.


Usually an attorney for an appeal would be from $500 to $1,000 depending on all that would have to be done. However, this should be on the lower side because the law is so clear on the issue.


Yes, you can contact the Bar Association and obtain a Florida attorney to retain certainly - that's what I would highly recommend.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much. I will contact the bar association and hire one today.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.
Sounds great. Good luck!! (not that you'll need it)
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have hired Ms. McNeilis out of Wauchula, FL
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.
That's great! Have you actually talked with her? If so, what did she state?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
She said that she could file the appeal and get all copies of documents pertaining to this case faster than I most likely could with her being there in Florida. She thinks that because I was not at the hearing, the judge gave my ex whatever he was requesting. He apparently requested retroactive child support and the judge gave him from January 2006 to the present. I can also send in with our appeal cancelled checks that my ex cashed for voluntary child support and that amount can be deducted off the arrearages if the judge accepts them. So, I feel a little more confident. Thank you so much for all your help.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

That's great that she's going to get the information and help you. However, that still doesn't sound right as to even going back to 1/2006 - there is no basis in law for that whatsoever. The judge clearly made a horrendous judicial blunder there.


Good luck!!


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The attorney that I hired in Florida unfortunately called me back today and said that she will not handle an appeals for me. She thought I was pursuing child support so I am back to square one and can't seem to find anyone (lawyer) in the Florida area that will handle a child support appeal. Any advice???