A Child Support Hearing Enforcement Officer ruled on our contempt and child support modification. Can we appeal his decision?

We are in arrears and being pursued by the DOR. My husband lost his job last year and we started a business. We only made $18,000 our first year in business but they modified CS yesterday saying my husband should be making $32,000. They did this because that is what he made before he lost his job. Unfortunately, we did not have an attorney present because we have no money for one. Can we appeal his decision and how? He put off the contempt until further review in a couple of months.

Stuart, FL -

Attorney Answers (3)

Joseph Peyton Lea III

Joseph Peyton Lea III

Family Law Attorney - Orlando, FL
Answered

Rule 12.491 (f) provides that " Any party affected by the order may move to vacate the order by filing a motion to vacate within 10 days from the date of entry."
The first available remedy that you can use is a "motion to vacate the order" which shall be heard within 10 days after you apply for hearing on the motion.
This is not an appeal, however, it may allow you relief from the report and recommendation of the hearing officer.
If your Husband was fired and did not quit his job, this factor needs to be stressed in the motion to vacate. If he left voluntarily or quit then the imputation of his prior income will be upheld.
He definitely needs a lawyer to represent him in this matter!

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Family Law Attorney - Winter Park, FL
Answered

Appealing a DOR hearing officer decision can be different than a regular appeal to the DCA. There is a separate statutory process in some instances. You should have an attorney familiar with this process review your situation to determine if you even have grounds, and if so, if you have a record on which to appeal it. The hearing officer can impute income, and if he voluntarily left his job to start his own business, that may be the basis for the hearing officer's decision.

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John P Wallace

John P Wallace

Family Law Attorney - Orlando, FL
Answered

Your information is a tad scattered. How did they modify child support at a contempt hearing? Wondering if you meant to say something else. You need to get an attorney immediately.

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