Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Family Law Procedure

Sometimes Florida family law hearings can turn into de facto settlement conferences wherein the parties discuss their differences and come to an agreement in open court. So long as all parties agree, the agreement reached will be binding. Such was the case in the recently published appellate opinion State v. De La Begassiere, 3D18-296 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018).

In this case, the father petitioned for a modification of his child support obligation. He quit his job as a school teacher and moved back to his native France to attend school. There was a finding he was underemployed, so the court imputed income to him but his modification was granted, nonetheless.

The record showed the hearing became a settlement conference. An attorney for the Department of Revenue participated in this settlement conference and did not object to it. Despite this, the Department appealed the order, arguing it did not comply with the Florida Statutes because findings concerning child support were not made in the order.

In upholding the trial court’s order and rejecting the Department’s argument, the appellate court cited the Department’s participation in the settlement conference without objection via its attorney. Therefore, any alleged error “was not preserved” according to the appellate court. Thus, the order remained in place.

Even if your hearing turns into a settlement conference, you should have a child support attorney with you in order to object if necessary. If you are involved in a child support case in Miami, contact a Miami child support attorney to go over your best options.