I currently have a judgement against me regarding child support arrears. Had child support trial in January. Didn’t hear or receive anything from the courts or my attorney. Come to find out in April ( upon a call to my attorney’s office ) a verdict was in and apparently both parties are required to pay each other. The court sent all documents to a name I haven’t gone by in over 5 years and to an address that I don’t live. My current info was on plenty of documents showing correct name and address. My attorney never called or sent me the final judgement either. He thought I was “mad” at him. This resulted in me not knowing I owed child support. All records had an incorrect address for me. Once I found out, I immediately paid all support to get current but now I have a judgment against me. How can I fix this? This was not my fault. This was an error in the clerks office as well as my attorney. What can I do to fix this?
In order to rectify this situation, you need to immediately file what is called a motion for relief from judgment. Three things must be alleged and proven: (a) excusable neglect; (b) meritorious defense; and (c) diligence. Either that or, another grounds which may be available, is that service was void. However, since you mention you were represented by an attorney, this may not exist. It is VERY important that you take immediate action here. There is a very recent case (within a couple of weeks) out of the Fifth DCA that says if you don't file this motion within six weeks of discovering the problem in your case, that as a matter of law you have not acted diligently and you will not be able to obtain relief from the judgment. This is also not something you should consider doing solo (pro se) as the pleading and proof aspect of this type of motion is highly technical and nuanced. Also note that if this is an administrative case being handled in the child support agency (DOR), that the same procedure applies but in a very different way. Good luck.
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I agree with the prior response. If your current counsel can't or won't fix it, get new counsel ASAP. Don't delay.
There is no substitute for the professional advice of an attorney who knows your case and represents you. My post is not, and may not be relied on as, legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Best wishes for a just and expeditious resolution.
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