As our children get older, their financial needs may change along with the financial circumstances of their parents. This is why Florida law allows for modification of a child support order when there has been a substantial change in circumstances that was not contemplated at the time child support was originally ordered. If increasing or decreasing support is something you need to apply for, it is not necessary for you to file your case in the same Florida court where the child support was originally ordered.
When we talk about the court where you will file your case, we are referring to something called venue. Filing your case in the appropriate venue is important to avoid delays in resolving your case and possible loss of non-refundable filing fees. The question of venue in Florida child support modification cases is controlled by section 61.14 of the Florida Statutes. This kind of case can be filed in one of the following circuit courts:
1. In the county where both or either parent resided at the date of execution of the agreement concerning the support sought to be changed (so, if the father resided in Broward County at the time the original agreement for child support was entered and the mother resided in Miami-Dade County, no matter where the original case was filed, the modification case can be filed in a Broward or Miami-Dade County circuit court);
2. The county where both or either parent resides on the date the modification action is filed (if the original order for support is from a Miami-Dade County Court, but both or one parent now resides in Palm Beach County, the case to change the support order can be filed in Palm Beach County);
3. The county in which the agreement was signed (if the original agreement for maintenance was signed in Broward County, the modification case can be filed there even if the original child support order was not issued there and neither parent now resides in Broward County); or
4. Where the original order to be modified was rendered (simply stated, if the original child support order was issued by a Miami-Dade Circuit Court, that is where the amendment to the order can be sought as well).
When more than one venue is correct, the venue chosen by the person applying for modification is presumed to be correct. If the parent against whom the modification is filed objects to the venue, it is his/her burden to show there will be sizeable inconvenience if the venue is not transferred elsewhere. For example, if most of the witnesses who will be called to testify in the case do not reside in the county of the venue chosen by the parent who filed for modification, this could be considered in transferring the case elsewhere.
Having a lawyer on your side who knows how to navigate venue issues may mean the difference between traveling hundreds of miles and a couple of miles to get to hearings in your case. When you consider the time and money involved when an inconvenient forum is chosen, you can’t afford to go without hiring a lawyer proficient in this area. Contact a Miami child support lawyer at Streets Law today to discuss how we can add value to your case.