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Redirecting Child Support Payments to a Third Party

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Child custody and support are two of the most important, and often contentious, decisions that are made in a divorce. Keeping the best interests of the child in mind, Florida judges take into account a number of factors when making a decision about which parent a child should live with. However, what if neither parent can provide the necessary level of physical and financial care for their child?

In these cases, it may be beneficial for the child to live with a third party, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or another relative, either temporarily or permanently. This arrangement necessitates consideration of how child support is to be paid for the benefit of the child.

What is an Order of Redirection?

Florida law provides courts with the ability to transfer child support payments to the person with whom a child lives. In other words, if a child of divorced parents is living with a third party who is not the child’s mother or father, the court can redirect the payments to their guardian rather than to the non-paying parent. Alternatively, the court can require both parents to pay child support to the person caring for the child. This can be accomplished through an Order of Redirection. Since these matters can be complex, it is crucial to retain the services of an experienced attorney who can ensure that all of the appropriate forms are filled out and submitted in a timely manner.

An Example of Child Support Redirection

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.

Need Help Collecting Child Support Payments? Call Owenby Law, P.A.

If you are caring for a minor child and are not receiving child support payments from either of the child’s parents, contact Owenby Law, P.A. as soon as possible. As caretaker, you may be entitled to support payments to help cover the financial responsibilities of providing a safe and comfortable home for the child. Backed by decades of combined experience, our Jacksonville child support lawyers have a thorough understanding of Florida child support laws and have the specialized knowledge it takes to achieve positive resolutions for our clients.

Our Jacksonville family law attorneys are prepared to offer you a free initial consultation, so do not wait to call us at (904) 770-3141. We serve clients in Jacksonville, Orange Park, St. Augustine, and Fleming Island.