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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34993
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including family law.
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How can I get my child support case modified in Florida if I

Customer Question

How can I get my child support case modified in Florida if I live in Virginia? I have tried everything for the past 4 years and have gone no where with this state. My pay records consistently are incorrect, even after requesting audit after audit. I am
not trying to STOP paying child support, I am simply trying to lower the amount I am supposed to pay because it is based on what I was making while in the military. I don't make half of what I was making now so I can't keep up with the payments. Needless to
say that in the past 2 years, I have racked up quite a bit of arrears and they keep garnishing my taxes and with holding money from my paycheck, but I can't get anywhere with a modification nor can I get any real help with correcting my pay records. Another
thing they have been doing that I noticed was adding an additional 10$ on the court ordered increaded amount. So my order was increased in 2011 from 236$ to 471$ a month, with an additional 10$ to be withheld from my check and sent to her to cover supposed
arrears, which I had proof was incorrect from my pay stubs but they didn't accept that evidence, and also since they back dated the order back to when she filed for the modification. So they started taking 481$ from my check each month finally 6 months later.
They continued to take that amount, but they also were charging me 471$ and 10$ a month. So since then 10$ a month has been getting added to what I owe too. In reality it should only be 471$ added to my monthly payment, and I pay 481 to "catch up", even though
prior to all of this, I had a credit. They also have added mysterious arrearages onto my pay records that weren't there before, and can't explain clearly what or where is came from. So how can they add it with out any proof that I owe that amount, but can't
take my old paycheck stubs as evidence that child support was with held from my check for her? It feels very one sided, and seems to only benefit the mother, and treats me, a father that has been paying his child support on time, even giving her money on the
side, and trying to see my son but she will NOT allow me to even have a phone number to talk to him, treats me like a dead beat. I know I need an attorney, but all of the ones I call, I seem to get different answers from. They either try to discourage me from
trying to modify it, or act as though I am trying to skip out on my fatherly duties by trying to lower the amount I have to pay. I just want some one to clearly explain to me what my rights are in this situation. I know my pay records and arrears are not correct
at all. I have all of the proof, dating back to 2005 when the order was started. Tax returns that were intercepted. Everything. I just need to get this all handled so I can focus on getting some kind of visitation set up through the courts. But until I get
this child support in check, I can't afford to do anything for this child, or my 4 other children.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
My name is***** have over 16 years experience in the law. Should you like to chat on the phone I am happy to for a nominal cost. Let me know at any time during our question and answer session if you are interested I am happy to give you more details.I am sorry for this dilemma. You mention you have tried to work with the state...can you explain what that means? Are you working with the FL department of revenue? Or have you filed a motion directly with the court?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have tried to work with Florida Department of Revenue, Hillsborough County, and attempted to file the motion back in 2013 for modification, but they didn't modify anything, I honestly don't remember the exact reason, but I think they said the difference in my income didn't make a difference on what I should pay because they said I CHOSE to get out of the military...? How does one CHOOSE to separate from the military? You either retire, finish your enlistment or are forced out, which was my case.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Thank youThe problem you face is that the FL Department of Revenue has a reputation for being ruthless in pursuing fathers for support. Why? Because they can. Lets back up...Under FL law, it is the court that must order support or modifications to support. The court is part of the judicial branch in our 3 part government (judicial, legislative, executive). FL dept of revenue is part of the executive branch.The FL department of revenue can ignore your requests to modify support...frankly, they often will.If you want a change (and frankly, what you describe, you deserve to have the payment lowered significantly) you need to ask the court to make the change.There are two ways to approach this1. Have a local attorney (licensed in FL) file this with the court for you2. File it with the court yourself.The adage "a man who represents himself has a fool for a client" is often true. If you act as your own lawyer, the court will expect you to know the law/rules/procedure/evidence just as if you were admitted to the bar. They (the court) will not cut you any slack. If the goal is to win the case, if possible have a lawyer assist you. I understand it will be a financial burden, but I suspect you would recoup the cost in less than a year and would benefit thereafter. What you describe, I would fully expect the court to grant your request to lower the simply need to get the request in front of the court Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok, thank you! The first person to understand what I am asking! One more thing, once I have hired an attorney, filed the motion with the court, how can I get it back dated to when I got out of the military when I originally filed for the modification? Can the attorney also subpoena the court to obtain her income like with tax returns and paystubs? I was told yesterday from a female attorney that I have no access to that information ever, and that I should not file anything because she may make less then she was before.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also, can you recommend any attorneys that have a success rate in this type of situation that can work with me on payments?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Back dating is tough...if not impossible. The reason is tied to the laws that regulate this. The law allows you to modify effective the date you file. That means you have to file. The law does not let you go backwards.All the more reason to file asapBut you ask good questions about her pay...the attorney can absolutely gather info on her pay...that is part of the process (the judge will want to know what her income is, from all sources). If she makes less now than before? That would be a factor...though if you make less and she makes less? I suspect you will sill wind up paying lessAs for an attorney, I am not permitted to recommend one by name...but you can find one herehttp://www.avvo.comPlease let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would you know why they are adding this 10$ to what I actually owe each month? That can't be right, the order is for 471, but I am being charged 481.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
I suspect for processing...if you are paying Dept of Rev they can add a charge to process (cash the check and forward on to the mom)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They told me it was to catch up on arrears, as in an extra payment to get caught up. Prior to the increase when I paid 236 a month, that was all that accrued each month.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. $10 is a small amount for arrears. But certainly that is possible if you are in arrears.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just a little detail into that. Back when she filed for modification, Florida claimed that I was in 1200$ or so of arrears. That was of course untrue. I had the money taken from my pay before I even received it from the begining, as is custom in the military. I also brough pay records and stubs with me to my court hearing, but for some reason they wouldnt accept it at the time, so tacked on 10 extra to what I am supposed to pay her till I got caught up. Well it dawned on me after reviewing my current pay records (again) that not only am I paying this 10$ extra, but for some reason, it is being added to what I owe too. I was later able to proove I was not in arrears mid 2012, I actually had a credit at that time. When I separated service, I paid what I could, until I started working again. That is when my credit helped, and actual arrears started to pile on. Mind you I had already filed for a modification. They claimed I "quit" the Air Force. All this time too, they are taking half of my take home pay, my entire tax return (which included my spouse's return) and a mysterious 4000$ appeared on my pay record as an "adjustment" that I supposedly owed her. It was put on there for 12/21/2013, but my pay records I had didn't show that amount, so it was added after I had requested the pay records in march 2014. When I called to inquire about what this was, they told me it was something Utah sent them. (I lived in Utah for a period of time) When I called Utah, they had no record of what Florida was talking about, and Florida cutomer service could not explain what the amount really was. So how with no proof can they just add amounts? Anyways, they of course have added another mysterious amount on there too which wasn't there in April, and all the sudden my arrears is at 7000, when in April it was at (supposedly) 2700. That makes no sense.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So is that something they normally do? Add the "catch up" amount to what you owe to the custodial parent each month?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
If you are behind on child support they can force you to pay the amount you owe. This is quite common. This is why it is so important you file the request to modify the order as soon as possible. I agree with you; because your income has dropped significantly I would expect the court to reduce your obligation. However, unless or until you file this request with the court you're obliged to pay the order going forward.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** know they can force me to pay what I owe, my question is why are they adding this 10$ to what I owe, that was meant to catch me up, like I pay $10 more a month. For example, my pay records appear as such:20150724.............Amount Due: $471.00.................Balance $471.00
20150724.............Amount Due:$10.00.....................Balance:$481.00
20150731.............Paid: 471.00.................................Balance $10.00
20150731.............Paid: 10.00...................................Balance $0.00
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Does that make sense? It should look like:20150724.............Amount Due: $471.00.................Balance$500.00
20150731.............Paid: 471.00.................................Balance $29.00
20150731.............Paid: 10.00...................................Balance $9.00
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That is how prior to the modification my pay records appear.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
I do not know what accounting method this state is using. I will opt out. perhaps some other expert can help you. I wish the best of luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok thank you for your help.