Appeal Child Arrears Decision

by Jes from Miami, Florida, Miami-Dade County

I was divorced today. During this time I had to go before a General Magistrate.

The GM calculated my arrears based on my current income and that of my ex wife.

My ex wife is making $15000 more yearly now than she did previously.

I am now required to pay arrears based on current income and not from 2 years before due to the calculation from the General Magistrate.

How long do I have to appeal this after final decision and how do I appeal?

My ex wife also has no proof of day care payments since my son was born. He is 2 1/2 now. Also she never advised me of her new job until we were in front of the mediator.

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear Jes,

I have not found reliable authority to support this, but I believe that you must file a Motion to Set Aside or a Motion for Exceptions to General Magistrate's Report within 10 days.

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.490, Florida Probate Rule of Procedure 5.697 and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.490 provide that the parties have 10 days to serve exceptions to a Report.

Thus, even if the Report was signed and mailed the same day as the hearing, it can be twenty (20) days before the Circuit Judge can enter an Order or Final Judgment approving the Report.

If the parties desire to expedite the entry of an enforceable Order or Final Judgment, each party must deliver to the Magistrate an original and one (1) copy of a Notice waiving the time period to file exceptions under Rule 1.490(h), 5.697(f) or 12.490(f) and consenting to the Circuit Court taking immediate appropriate action on the Report.

According to an article, "Divorce in Florida" on Divorce.Net:

"After a regular dissolution of marriage, if you feel the judge's decision was incorrect, you may appeal that decision, provided that certain procedural steps are taken.

An appellate court does not, however, frequently reverse a trial judge's decision because the judge has broad discretion in divorce cases. Just because you do not like the judge's decision is not a reason for an appeal.

If the trial judge makes an error of law, or has abused his discretion, the decision may be reversed."

And here
is the Florida Statute regarding retroactive child support:

61.30 Child support guidelines; retroactive child support.--

(1)(a) The child support guideline amount as determined by this section presumptively establishes the amount the trier of fact shall order as child support in an initial proceeding for such support or in a proceeding for modification of an existing order for such support, whether the proceeding arises under this or another chapter.

The trier of fact may order payment of child support which varies, plus or minus 5 percent, from the guideline amount, after considering all relevant factors, including the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent.

The trier of fact may order payment of child support in an amount which varies more than 5 percent from such guideline amount only upon a written finding explaining why ordering payment of such guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate.

Notwithstanding the variance limitations of this section, the trier of fact shall order payment of child support which varies from the guideline amount as provided in paragraph (11)(b) whenever any of the children are required by court order or mediation agreement to spend a substantial amount of time with either parent...

According to an article on in determining a child support order the trier of fact takes the following into consideration:

"Both parents' net income is added together and the basic child support obligation is determined using the chart found in the Florida Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. You can access the Florida Child Support Guidelines Worksheet here (in PDF format).

Find the combined net monthly income of the parents and go across the column to find the number of minor, dependent children to find the basic child support obligation."

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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