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How Can I Get the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support to Release Hold on Tax Refund Offset for Child Support?

There is a Federal Tax Refund Offset Program that collects child support payments that are past their due date from the tax refunds of the non-custodial parent. Since its expansion in 1984, the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program works with public assistance cases and non-assistance cases. This solution is mandatory for the cases that meet the criteria. If you or your ex-spouse’s tax refunds are being intercepted and you want to change that, you will need to obtain a court order. The best way to go about this is to speak to a family law attorney.

Since every case is different, it is hard to say for certain what exactly, if anything, can be done to have the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support release the hold on a tax refund offset for child support. Here is a detailed description of the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program to help you better understand the process.

Under the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program tax refunds owed to the non-custodial parent are intercepted. They are then sent to the state child support agency through OCSE and the refund goes to paying the non-custodial parent’s past-due child support.

The only cases that are eligible to the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program are the cases that are receiving full services through the state child support agency; however, in some states the parent with custody may pay a fee, no more than $25, to have the service provided by the program.

The process begins when the state child support agencies submit, or certify, to the Department of Treasury, through OCSE, the names, Social Security Numbers, and the amount of past-due child support of people who were late on, or not paying, their payments. The non-custodial parent then receives a Pre-Offset Notice that explains the process so they are aware of what is going to happen. In this notice, the non-custodial parent will see the initial debt amount, which is the amount of past-due payments owed at the time the notice sent, information about the Administrative Offset and Passport Denial programs and other actions the state may take to ensure that the child support obligation is met.

Once the tax refunds are processed, the ones who owe child support are identified and all or part of the refund is intercepted and then they are forwarded through OCSE to the state child support agency to repay, or make a dent in, the past-due child support. The non-custodial parent will receive a Notice of Offset stating that all or part of their federal tax refund has been intercepted because of the child support debt that they owe.

This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.

Can Child Support be Paid Directly to the Child if Turning 18?

Although child support questions may seem cut and dry, they typically are much more complicated then they appear. For example, a common question is can child support be paid directly to the child if turning 18. Well, this answer is based on the specific terms of the court order, but typically the parent paying child support can stop paying child support when the child turns 18 or when they graduate high school, whichever occurs later.

Once the child graduates from high school the child support obligations will end; however, if the child enrolls in “an institution of vocational or higher education” the child support will continue. This is contingent on a few different factors: the child must be enrolled in school and complete at least 12 hours of coursework per term and they must have passing grades in at least half of their classes. If a child is working more than 15 hours a week then they are obligated to only complete nine hours of coursework each semester.

When the child turns 21 or when they complete their education, whichever comes first, then child support payments can cease. During all of this, the non-custodial parent should be paying the child support to the custodial parent. Do not take it upon yourself to start paying the child support directly to your child. This may be a possibility, but only if the parent or child asks the court’s permission and if the court orders it. If no one asks the court or if the court denies the request, then the child support payments should continue being paid to the custodial parent.

When your child turns 18 or graduates high school you may be able to have your child support modified. The best way to go about this is to treat it as any other request to modify child support. The court will consider both parents’ current incomes and the needs of any other children who are still considered minors when making their decision.

So, although the child turns 18, the child support must still be paid to the custodial parent. This may only be changed if the parent or child asks the court’s permission and if the court grants it.

This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.

Do Both Parties Have to Attend a Judge Hearing When Doing a Simplified Divorce?

Florida Statutes govern many aspects of divorce proceedings, and must be followed, even in uncontested matters. In simplified divorces, the Statutes require both parties to be present in court. This differs from other divorces (that are not labeled “simplified”), which do not require all parties to attend the final hearing.

One of the reasons for requiring everyone to be present at simplified divorce hearings is to make the proceedings, as the name describes, simple for all parties. By requiring all parties to attend the divorce hearing, the judge or magistrate is able to make sure that everyone is satisfied, understands the process, and affirms the divorce. This is much easier for everyone to get out of the way at one time, together, instead of taking up more of the judge’s time and docket by trying to coordinate separate hearings.

In a simplified divorce, both parties file jointly, both parties agree to the divorce, and so too must both show in court. Even though there isn’t anything to argue about or present to the judge in this kind of divorce matter, it is important that the judge see both parties in court to confirm that there are no issues so the divorce can be finalized.

If you are thinking about a simplified divorce, you should first consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that this is the right route for you. An attorney who regularly handles family law matters will be able to analyze your case and make sure your best interests are being achieved.

This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.

Can a Magistrate Ignore Documents You Present to Support Your Case?

In any kind of legal matter there are procedural guidelines that must be followed. Any time evidence is involved in a case, there are particular evidence rules that describe how evidence can be introduced, what kind of evidence can be produced, and what evidentiary objections can be applied. If you do not precisely follow these rules, the judge has full authority to exclude your evidence from being considered in a ruling.

The rules that govern evidentiary matters can be complicated, which is why it is best that you consult with an attorney before presenting anything to a judge. Even if you do not retain an attorney to present your case in front of a judge, consulting with an attorney on the general issues of your case is always a good idea to ensure you are as prepared as you can be for your day in court. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the process, let you know what to expect, and make recommendations on how you should present your case.

Once you lose a hearing or get an unfavorable report from a judge, you may not be able to appeal or will have to endure a complicated appeals process, which will likely require an attorney’s assistance. Make sure you do everything you can to get your case right the first time around by seeking the advice of an experienced attorney before stepping in front of a judge.

This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.

What Does “Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Act” Mean on Child Support Court Records?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act was created to provide information to courts in matters concerning children to determine if the court has appropriate jurisdiction in the case. In any Florida family law case (including issues of dissolution of marriage, paternity, guardianship, custody, child support, separate maintenance, visitation, timesharing, dependency, and child neglect) each party is required to file and serve a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Affidavit certifying information relating to the parties and the child or children involved. This affidavit includes information about each child’s name, residence at birth, date of birth, sex, present address, and residences for the past 5 years. The parties must also disclose with whom the child has lived with during the past 5 years.

Because this is an affidavit, it must be sworn to or affirmed under oath with a certification that the statements made are accurate and truthful and must be signed before a Notary Public. The punishment for knowingly making a false statement can include fines and/or imprisonment. After this affidavit is filed and has been reviewed, the court makes note of it in the case file. On child support court records, an annotation of “Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Act” is an affirmation that the affidavit has been reviewed and the residency requirement met to place the case in the court’s jurisdiction.

This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.