Florida law gives the court the authority to redirect
child support payments to the person with whom the child resides. This means that if
your child is living with a third party, such as a relative, the court
can order that payments be directed to that person rather than the non-paying
parent. The court can also order both parents to pay support to that third
person with whom the child resides.
In 2010, the First District Court of Appeal held that the court has the
authority to redirect the father's child support payments from the
mother to the grandmother with whom the child resided. See Dept. of Revenue
obo Smith v. Selles, 47 So. 3d 916, 921 (1st DCA, 2010). In Smith v. Selles,
the mother applied to the Department of Revenue for child support enforcement
services and submitted a proposed order requiring the father to pay monthly
support to the mother.
Subsequently, the father requested a hearing, which was held before the
Administrative Law Judge. Prior to the hearing, both parties submitted
financial affidavits. The father wrote on his form that the mother was
not the custodial parent and the child had been living with the grandmother.
At the hearing, the court determined that the parties virtually stipulated
that the child lived with the grandmother because neither party raised
an objection to the father's assertion that the grandmother was caring
for the child. In addition, the child's maternal grandmother, testified
that the child had been living with her for the past two years. Consequently,
the judge ordered that both parents pay child support to the grandmother.
The Department of Revenue, on behalf of the mother, appealed the court's
decision requiring both the mother and father to pay child support payments
to the child's grandmother. The appellate court held that the administrative
law judge lacked jurisdiction to order the mother to pay support, but
had the authority to redirect the father's payments to the grandmother.
Although the court in this case lacked jurisdiction to order the mother
to pay child support, the court's decision does not preclude such a ruling.