An attorney appears on behalf of the Department of Revenue to obtain child support when an individual requests CSP services. Learn all about what we can do and how the process works though the following links.
- Establishing Paternity
- Getting Child Support Orders
- Enforcing Child Support Orders
- Changing Child Support Orders
- Getting Ready for and Attending your Hearing
- What happens in the hearing or trial
- What to expect after the hearing or trial
What the Legal Staff can do for you
DOR's participation and the undersigned attorney's representation are limited in scope as set forth in section 409.2564(5), Florida Statutes. Pursuant to Rule 12.040(c)(2), Florida Family Law Rules, DOR hereby notifies the parties that the DOR attorney represents only DOR, and not the recipient of DOR child support services. The DOR attorney may only address issues concerning determination of paternity, and establishment, modification, and enforcement of support obligations.
Getting Ready for and Attending your Hearing
- The address of the Manatee County Judicial Center is 1051 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton Florida 34206. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most domestic relations hearings are being held via ZOOM Video or Audio Teleconferencing until further notice.
- Map to the Judicial Center
- Parking issues - You may park at the City of Bradenton Parking Garage located at the corner of 8th Avenue and 12th Street West in downtown Bradenton. There is a charge at the garage and correct change is required.
- Please dress appropriately for court, as it is your opportunity to present yourself in the best light possible. Please do not wear shorts, t-shirts, jeans or revealing items or you may not be allowed in the courtroom.
- Attendance at hearings is important to insure that you have a voice in the outcome of the proceeding. Often, your testimony is the only evidence available to the critical issues about which the Judge will make a decision regarding your life. In addition, without your presence, we cannot respond to assertions made by the other party to the case. This failure could result in the reduction of your child's support or arrears.
- You can check your case to see if the other party has been serviced with copies of the pleadings using your party access to the clerk's electronic court records website.
- Plan to be involved in the process at least one to two hours though your matter could take less time.
- Please note that despite having verified that your attendance is necessary, unforeseen circumstances may occur which would prevent the hearing from going forward. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
- If you are concerned for your safety due to domestic violence, please tell the court deputy, who will separate the parties and do his or her best to monitor the parties.
Upon Arrival at the Courtroom
- Check in with bailiff outside of courtroom
Have a seat. The child support program office has a highly qualified team of case managers who will speak with both parties to determine what issues must be resolved as well as attempt to settle the cases prior to the scheduled hearing. You should tell the case manager all that you feel is necessary to know to resolve your case.
What happens in the hearing or trial
Each of the different types of cases involves different issues but the process in the courtroom is very similar. The court deputy will call the names of the parties from the doorway and each party present will enter the courtroom. The court deputy will instruct you where to sit. Also present in the room will be the bailiff, a Trial Clerk, an attorney for DOR and the Support Enforcement Hearing Officer, General Magistrate or Judge, depending on the type of hearing.
EVERYTHING that you say will be recorded and on the record whenever the blue light in the room is steady.
The questions should all be on topics you are well able to speak about, as they will deal with your finances and the child. The Respondent will be asked similar questions. If there are witnesses they will then be able to testify. Typical types of issues that may be addressed by additional witnesses are: cost of daycare, parenting time, direct payments, extraordinary medical costs, etc.
The Respondent will then have an opportunity to tell the hearing officer those things that he or she feels the Hearing Officer needs to know and to call witnesses, as well.
At the conclusion of the evidence (the testimony), the Hearing Officer, General Magistrate or Judge will make a decision. Typically he or she will announce the ruling from the bench though occasionally he may take the matter under advisement for additional consideration.
What to expect after the hearing or trial
Orders reflecting the Hearing Officer's ruling will be prepared as soon as possible after the hearing. When signed by the Hearing Officer, they go to the Circuit Judge who reviews and signs them. Once that process is completed, they are mailed to the parties.
For both paternity and support, there is a process to contest the ruling of the Hearing Officer/Magistrate. There are timeframes for contesting that must be met to receive a review.
If a Motion to Vacate is filed by either party, a copy of this motion must be provided to the other party and the Child Support Legal Department and the original filed with Circuit Civil in the Clerk's office. A hearing will be set once the Attorney receives the motion. The moving party must obtain and pay for a transcript of the proceeding. If an appeal is filed, we will coordinate with the Department of Revenue which determines how to proceed.
Attn: Child Support Program
P.O. Box 25400
Bradenton, FL 34206
1115 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34205