What is an Administrative Support Order?

Florida Statute 409.2563 allows the Department of Revenue to establish administrative child support orders. The Department of Revenue is a governmental agency in Florida that is set up to establish and enforce child support obligations. The Department of Revenue can use the administrative law process to establish your child support when there is no disputed facts and paternity is not an issue. The Department of Revenue administrative support procedure begins with both parents being notified that they are seeking to establish child support. If you are the noncustodial parent (the child does not live with you the majority of the time) then you will be served via process server. The Department of Revenue serves you with a notice, a blank financial affidavit, a parent information form and instructions on how to correctly fill out the forms. If you are served with these documents, it is advised that you contact yourfamily law attorney to discuss these documents you in detail. It is important that you fill out these documents correctly, as the Department of Revenue will use these documents to calculate your child support obligation. You will have 20 days to fill out the forms and return them to the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue calculates your monthly child support based upon the financial information provided by you and the other parent.

The Department of Revenue will then send both parents a proposed administrative support order that sets forth the child support amount and health care coverage for the minor child. It is important that you contact your family law attorney upon receipt of this proposed order. Once you receive the order, you have three options. One, you can agree to the order and begin paying the child support amount. Two, you can request an informal discussion with the Department of Revenue to discuss the order. Three, you can request and administrative hearing. The request for an administrative hearing must be made within 20 days of the proposed order.

It’s very important to note that if you fail to respond within the allotted time, the order will be signed by the administrative hearing office and it becomes an enforceable child support order. Additionally, the hearing officer will enter an Income Deduction Order which will garnish the child support payments directly from your pay check and you will have no say in this matter what so ever. Further, once the final administrative support order is entered, you cannot appeal it to a circuit court judge. The circuit courts do not review administrative orders. These orders are only reviewed by the appellate courts. The final administrative support order remains in effect until it is changed by the Department of Revenue, is reversed by the appellate court or is superseded by a circuit court order. The Department of Revenue has the same ability to enforce an administrative support order as it does a court order. If you fail to pay the child support ordered, the Department of Revenue can suspended your license and can report you to credit agencies. If you have been served with proceedings by the Department of Revenue, contact your family law attorney to discuss your legal rights and responsibilities. It cannot be stressed enough that deadlines are important in these matters and failing to respond will have real financial consequences.