If a valid Court Order for child support is presented to the judge, he/she has no choice but to honor the Order. Your only opportunity to argue/barter is BEFORE the Order is presented to the judge. For example, if you owe $20,000.00 in child support and your settlement is $20,000.00, you have no incentive to settle. If you do not settle, your ex and child get $0.00. That is why your ex may agree to $10,000.00 or $15,000.00. You are NOT eliminating the amount you may owe. Rather you are negotiating that a smaller portion of THESE funds will be attached. That is your only negotiating power and it is best left to your attorney.
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Most insurance companies will issue the settlement check within a few weeks of the order from the judge. With regard to child support, the judge will order payment of the total back child support, up to one half of your net settlement.
Florida law states that, when an employee and an employer reach an agreement for a lump-sum settlement of a w/c case, no proceeds of the settlement shall be disbursed to the employee, nor shall any attorney’s fees be disbursed, until after a judge of compensation claims reviews the proposed disbursement and enters an order finding the settlement provides for appropriate recovery of any support arrearage. The employee, or the employee’s attorney if the employee is represented, shall submit a written statement from the department that indicates whether the employee owes unpaid support and, if so, the amount owed. In addition, the judge of compensation claims may require the employee to submit a similar statement from a local depository. A sworn statement by the employee that all existing support obligations have been disclosed is also required. If the judge finds the proposed allocation of support recovery insufficient, the parties may amend the allocation of support recovery within the settlement agreement to make the allocation of proceeds sufficient. A separate rule of procedure for w/c cases says that, when more than one current support order exists, the judge may approve a proposed settlement only if it provides for an equitable share of settlement proceeds. So, you are responsible to allocate a portion of the settlement funds to the support arrearage, and you must submit your proposal for that allocation to the judge. Based on a non-binding memo issued in 2000, the Chief Judge at the time advised that an agreement had been reached with various agencies involved in child support arrearage collection (e.g. Department of Revenue, Central Depository, State Attorney, etc.) that, where the arrearage amount exceeds the settlement proceeds amount, in order to encourage settlement, the judge may accept a claimant's offer to apply 50% of the settlement proceeds to the arrearage. The judge still retains jurisdiction to disregard this policy and apply as much of the claimant's net to the arrearage as he or she feels is appropriate.