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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXX
SOCIAL WELFARE
Chapter 409
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
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F.S. 409.2563
409.2563 Administrative establishment of child support obligations.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Administrative support order” means a final order rendered by or on behalf of the department pursuant to this section establishing or modifying the obligation of a parent to contribute to the support and maintenance of his or her child or children, which may include provisions for monetary support, retroactive support, health care, and other elements of support pursuant to chapter 61.
(b) “Caregiver” means a person, other than the mother, father, or putative father, who has physical custody of the child or with whom the child primarily resides.
(c) “Filed” means a document has been received and accepted for filing at the offices of the department by the clerk or any authorized deputy clerk of the department. The date of filing must be indicated on the face of the document by the clerk or deputy clerk.
(d) “Financial affidavit” means an affidavit or written declaration as provided by s. 92.525(2) which shows an individual’s income, allowable deductions, net income, and other information needed to calculate the child support guideline amount under s. 61.30.
(e) “Rendered” means that a signed written order is filed with the clerk or any deputy clerk of the department and served on the respondent. The date of filing must be indicated on the face of the order at the time of rendition.
(f) “Title IV-D case” means a case or proceeding in which the department is providing child support services within the scope of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. ss. 651 et seq.
(g) “Retroactive support” means a child support obligation established pursuant to s. 61.30(17).

Other terms used in this section have the meanings ascribed in ss. 61.046 and 409.2554.

(2) PURPOSE AND SCOPE.
(a) It is not the Legislature’s intent to limit the jurisdiction of the circuit courts to hear and determine issues regarding child support or parenting time. This section is intended to provide the department with an alternative procedure for establishing child support obligations and establishing a parenting time plan only if the parents are in agreement, in Title IV-D cases in a fair and expeditious manner when there is no court order of support. The procedures in this section are effective throughout the state and shall be implemented statewide.
(b) If the parents do not have an existing time-sharing schedule or parenting time plan and do not agree to a parenting time plan, a plan may not be included in the initial administrative order and the order must include a statement explaining its absence.
(c) If the parents have a judicially established parenting time plan, the plan may not be included in the administrative or initial judicial order.
(d) Any notification provided by the department may not include a Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan if Florida is not the child’s home state, when one parent does not reside in Florida, if either parent has requested nondisclosure for fear of harm from the other parent, or when the parent who owes support is incarcerated.
(e) The administrative procedure set forth in this section concerns only the establishment of child support obligations and, if agreed to and signed by both parents, a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan. This section does not grant jurisdiction to the department or the Division of Administrative Hearings to hear or determine issues of dissolution of marriage, separation, alimony or spousal support, termination of parental rights, dependency, disputed paternity, except for a determination of paternity as provided in s. 409.256, or change of time-sharing. If both parents have agreed to and signed a parenting time plan before the establishment of the administrative support order, the department or the Division of Administrative Hearings shall incorporate the agreed-upon parenting time plan into the administrative support order. This paragraph notwithstanding, the department and the Division of Administrative Hearings may make findings of fact that are necessary for a proper determination of a parent’s support obligation as authorized by this section.
(f) If there is no support order for a child in a Title IV-D case whose paternity has been established or is presumed by law, or whose paternity is the subject of a proceeding under s. 409.256, the department may establish a parent’s child support obligation pursuant to this section, s. 61.30, and other relevant provisions of state law. The administrative support order must include a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan as agreed to and signed by both parents. The parent’s obligation determined by the department may include any obligation to pay retroactive support and any obligation to provide for health care for a child, whether through insurance coverage, reimbursement of expenses, or both. The department may proceed on behalf of:
1. An applicant or recipient of public assistance, as provided by ss. 409.2561 and 409.2567;
2. A former recipient of public assistance, as provided by s. 409.2569;
3. An individual who has applied for services as provided by s. 409.2567;
4. Itself or the child, as provided by s. 409.2561; or
5. A state or local government of another state, as provided by chapter 88.
(g) Either parent, or a caregiver if applicable, may at any time file a civil action in a circuit court having jurisdiction and proper venue to determine parental support obligations, if any. A support order issued by a circuit court prospectively supersedes an administrative support order rendered by the department.
(h) Pursuant to paragraph (e), neither the department nor the Division of Administrative Hearings has jurisdiction to change child custody or rights of parental contact. The department or the Division of Administrative Hearings shall incorporate a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan as agreed to and signed by both parents into the administrative support order. Either parent may at any time file a civil action in a circuit having jurisdiction and proper venue for a determination of child custody and rights of parental contact.
(i) The department shall terminate the administrative proceeding and file an action in circuit court to determine support if within 20 days after receipt of the initial notice the parent from whom support is being sought requests in writing that the department proceed in circuit court or states in writing his or her intention to address issues concerning time-sharing or rights to parental contact in court and if within 10 days after receipt of the department’s petition and waiver of service the parent from whom support is being sought signs and returns the waiver of service form to the department.
(j) The notices and orders issued by the department under this section shall be written clearly and plainly.
(3) JURISDICTION OVER NONRESIDENTS.The department may use the procedures authorized by this section to establish a child support obligation against a nonresident over whom the state may assert personal jurisdiction under chapter 48 or chapter 88.
(4) NOTICE OF PROCEEDING TO ESTABLISH ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.To commence a proceeding under this section, the department shall provide to the parent from whom support is not being sought and serve the parent from whom support is being sought with a notice of proceeding to establish administrative support order, a copy of the Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan, and a blank financial affidavit form. The notice must state:
(a) The names of both parents, the name of the caregiver, if any, and the name and date of birth of the child or children;
(b) That the department intends to establish an administrative support order as defined in this section;
(c) That the department will incorporate a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan, as agreed to and signed by both parents, into the administrative support order;
(d) That both parents must submit a completed financial affidavit to the department within 20 days after receiving the notice, as provided by paragraph (13)(a);
(e) That both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable, are required to furnish to the department information regarding their identities and locations, as provided by paragraph (13)(b);
(f) That both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable, are required to promptly notify the department of any change in their mailing addresses to ensure receipt of all subsequent pleadings, notices, and orders, as provided by paragraph (13)(c);
(g) That the department will calculate support obligations based on the child support guidelines schedule in s. 61.30 and using all available information, as provided by paragraph (5)(a), and will incorporate such obligations into a proposed administrative support order;
(h) That the department will send by regular mail to both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable, a copy of the proposed administrative support order, the department’s child support worksheet, and any financial affidavits submitted by a parent or prepared by the department;
(i) That the parent from whom support is being sought may file a request for a hearing in writing within 20 days after the date of mailing or other service of the proposed administrative support order or will be deemed to have waived the right to request a hearing;
(j) That if the parent from whom support is being sought does not file a timely request for hearing after service of the proposed administrative support order, the department will issue an administrative support order that incorporates the findings of the proposed administrative support order, and any agreed-upon parenting time plan. The department will send by regular mail a copy of the administrative support order and any incorporated parenting time plan to both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable;
(k) That after an administrative support order is rendered incorporating any agreed-upon parenting time plan, the department will file a copy of the order with the clerk of the circuit court;
(l) That after an administrative support order is rendered, the department may enforce the administrative support order by any lawful means. The department does not have jurisdiction to enforce any parenting time plan that is incorporated into an administrative support order;
(m) That either parent, or caregiver if applicable, may file at any time a civil action in a circuit court having jurisdiction and proper venue to determine parental support obligations, if any, and that a support order issued by a circuit court supersedes an administrative support order rendered by the department;
(n) That neither the department nor the Division of Administrative Hearings has jurisdiction to change child custody or rights of parental contact or time-sharing, and these issues may be addressed only in circuit court. The department or the Division of Administrative Hearings may incorporate, if agreed to and signed by both parents, a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan when the administrative support order is established.
1. The parent from whom support is being sought may request in writing that the department proceed in circuit court to determine his or her support obligations.
2. The parent from whom support is being sought may state in writing to the department his or her intention to address issues concerning custody or rights to parental contact in circuit court.
3. If the parent from whom support is being sought submits the request authorized in subparagraph 1., or the statement authorized in subparagraph 2. to the department within 20 days after the receipt of the initial notice, the department shall file a petition in circuit court for the determination of the parent’s child support obligations, and shall send to the parent from whom support is being sought a copy of its petition, a notice of commencement of action, and a request for waiver of service of process as provided in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
4. If, within 10 days after receipt of the department’s petition and waiver of service, the parent from whom support is being sought signs and returns the waiver of service form to the department, the department shall terminate the administrative proceeding without prejudice and proceed in circuit court.
5. In any circuit court action filed by the department pursuant to this paragraph or filed by a parent from whom support is being sought or other person pursuant to paragraph (m) or paragraph (o), the department shall be a party only with respect to those issues of support allowed and reimbursable under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. It is the responsibility of the parent from whom support is being sought or other person to take the necessary steps to present other issues for the court to consider;
(o) That if the parent from whom support is being sought files an action in circuit court and serves the department with a copy of the petition within 20 days after being served notice under this subsection, the administrative process ends without prejudice and the action must proceed in circuit court; and
(p) Information provided by the Office of State Courts Administrator concerning the availability and location of self-help programs for those who wish to file an action in circuit court but who cannot afford an attorney.

The department may serve the notice of proceeding to establish an administrative support order and agreed-upon parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. Alternatively, the department may serve the notice by any means permitted for service of process in a civil action. For purposes of this section, an authorized employee of the department may serve the notice and execute an affidavit of service. Service by certified mail is completed when the certified mail is received or refused by the addressee or by an authorized agent as designated by the addressee in writing. If a person other than the addressee signs the return receipt, the department shall attempt to reach the addressee by telephone to confirm whether the notice was received, and the department shall document any telephonic communications. If someone other than the addressee signs the return receipt, the addressee does not respond to the notice, and the department is unable to confirm that the addressee has received the notice, service is not completed and the department shall attempt to have the addressee served personally. The department shall provide the parent from whom support is not being sought or the caregiver with a copy of the notice by regular mail to the last known address of the parent from whom support is not being sought or caregiver.

(5) PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.
(a) After serving notice upon a parent in accordance with subsection (4), the department shall calculate that parent’s child support obligation under the child support guidelines schedule as provided by s. 61.30, based on any timely financial affidavits received and other information available to the department. If either parent fails to comply with the requirement to furnish a financial affidavit, the department may proceed on the basis of information available from any source, if such information is sufficiently reliable and detailed to allow calculation of guideline schedule amounts under s. 61.30. If a parent receives public assistance and fails to submit a financial affidavit, the department may submit a financial affidavit or written declaration for that parent pursuant to s. 61.30(15). If there is a lack of sufficient reliable information concerning a parent’s actual earnings for a current or past period, it shall be presumed for the purpose of establishing a support obligation that the parent had an earning capacity equal to the federal minimum wage during the applicable period.
(b) The department shall send by regular mail to both parents, or to a parent and caregiver if applicable, copies of the proposed administrative support order, a copy of the Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan, its completed child support worksheet, and any financial affidavits submitted by a parent or prepared by the department. The proposed administrative support order must contain the same elements as required for an administrative support order under paragraph (7)(e).
(c) The department shall provide a notice of rights with the proposed administrative support order, which notice must inform the parent from whom support is being sought that:
1. The parent from whom support is being sought may, within 20 days after the date of mailing or other service of the proposed administrative support order, request a hearing by filing a written request for hearing in a form and manner specified by the department;
2. If the parent from whom support is being sought files a timely request for a hearing, the case shall be transferred to the Division of Administrative Hearings, which shall conduct further proceedings and may enter an administrative support order;
3. A parent from whom support is being sought who fails to file a timely request for a hearing shall be deemed to have waived the right to a hearing, and the department may render an administrative support order pursuant to paragraph (7)(b);
4. The parent from whom support is being sought may consent in writing to entry of an administrative support order without a hearing;
5. The parent from whom support is being sought may, within 10 days after the date of mailing or other service of the proposed administrative support order, contact a department representative, at the address or telephone number specified in the notice, to informally discuss the proposed administrative support order and, if informal discussions are requested timely, the time for requesting a hearing will be extended until 10 days after the department notifies the parent that the informal discussions have been concluded; and
6. If an administrative support order that establishes a parent’s support obligation and incorporates either a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan agreed to and signed by both parents is rendered, whether after a hearing or without a hearing, the department may enforce the administrative support order by any lawful means. The department does not have the jurisdiction or authority to enforce a parenting time plan.
(d) If, after serving the proposed administrative support order but before a final administrative support order is rendered, the department receives additional information that makes it necessary to amend the proposed administrative support order, it shall prepare an amended proposed administrative support order, with accompanying amended child support worksheets and other material necessary to explain the changes, and follow the same procedures set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c).
(6) HEARING.If the parent from whom support is being sought files a timely request for hearing or the department determines that an evidentiary hearing is appropriate, the department shall refer the proceeding to the Division of Administrative Hearings. Unless otherwise provided by this section, chapter 120 and the Uniform Rules of Procedure shall govern the conduct of the proceedings. The administrative law judge shall consider all available and admissible information and any presumptions that apply as provided by paragraph (5)(a).
(7) ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.
(a) If a hearing is held, the administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings shall issue an administrative support order that will include a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan agreed to and signed by both parents, or a final order denying an administrative support order, which constitutes final agency action by the department. The Division of Administrative Hearings shall transmit any such order to the department for filing and rendering.
(b) If the parent from whom support is being sought does not file a timely request for a hearing, the parent will be deemed to have waived the right to request a hearing.
(c) If the parent from whom support is being sought waives the right to a hearing, or consents in writing to the entry of an order without a hearing, the department may render an administrative support order that will include a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan agreed to and signed by both parents.
(d) The department shall send by regular mail a copy of the administrative support order that will include a parenting time plan or Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan agreed to and signed by both parents, or the final order denying an administrative support order, to both parents, or a parent and caregiver if applicable. The parent from whom support is being sought shall be notified of the right to seek judicial review of the administrative support order in accordance with s. 120.68.
(e) An administrative support order must comply with ss. 61.13(1) and 61.30. The department shall develop a standard form or forms for administrative support orders. An administrative support order must provide and state findings, if applicable, concerning:
1. The full name and date of birth of the child or children;
2. The name of the parent from whom support is being sought and the other parent or caregiver;
3. The parent’s duty and ability to provide support;
4. The amount of the parent’s monthly support obligation;
5. Any obligation to pay retroactive support;
6. The parent’s obligation to provide for the health care needs of each child, whether through health insurance, contribution toward the cost of health insurance, payment or reimbursement of health care expenses for the child, or any combination thereof;
7. The beginning date of any required monthly payments and health insurance;
8. That all support payments ordered must be paid to the State Disbursement Unit as provided by s. 61.1824;
9. That the parents, or caregiver if applicable, must file with the department when the administrative support order is rendered, if they have not already done so, and update as appropriate the information required pursuant to paragraph (13)(b);
10. That both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable, are required to promptly notify the department of any change in their mailing addresses pursuant to paragraph (13)(c); and
11. That if the parent ordered to pay support receives reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation benefits, the payor shall withhold, and transmit to the department, 40 percent of the benefits for payment of support, not to exceed the amount owed.

An income deduction order as provided by s. 61.1301 must be incorporated into the administrative support order or, if not incorporated into the administrative support order, the department or the Division of Administrative Hearings shall render a separate income deduction order.

(8) FILING WITH THE CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT; OFFICIAL PAYMENT RECORD; JUDGMENT BY OPERATION OF LAW.The department shall file with the clerk of the circuit court a certified copy of an administrative support order rendered under this section. The depository operated pursuant to s. 61.181 for the county where the administrative support order has been filed shall:
(a) Act as the official recordkeeper for payments required under the administrative support order;
(b) Establish and maintain the necessary payment accounts;
(c) Upon a delinquency, initiate the judgment by operation of law procedure as provided by s. 61.14(6); and
(d) Perform all other duties required of a depository with respect to a support order entered by a court of this state.

When a proceeding to establish an administrative support order is commenced under subsection (4), the department shall file a copy of the initial notice with the depository. The depository shall assign an account number and provide the account number to the department within 4 business days after the initial notice is filed.

(9) COLLECTION ACTION; ENFORCEMENT.
(a) The department may implement an income deduction notice immediately upon rendition of an income deduction order, whether it is incorporated in the administrative support order or rendered separately.
(b) The department may initiate other collection action 15 days after the date an administrative support order is rendered under this section.
(c) In a subsequent proceeding to enforce an administrative support order, notice of the proceeding that is sent by regular mail to the person’s address of record furnished to the department constitutes adequate notice of the proceeding pursuant to paragraph (13)(c).
(d) An administrative support order rendered under this section has the same force and effect as a court order and, until modified by the department or superseded by a court order, may be enforced:
1. In any manner permitted for enforcement of a support order issued by a court of this state, except for contempt; or
2. Pursuant to s. 120.69.
(10) JUDICIAL REVIEW, ENFORCEMENT, OR COURT ORDER SUPERSEDING ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.
(a) The obligor has the right to seek judicial review of an administrative support order or a final order denying an administrative support order in accordance with s. 120.68. The department has the right to seek judicial review, in accordance with s. 120.68, of an administrative support order or a final order denying an administrative support order entered by an administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings.
(b) An administrative support order rendered under this section has the same force and effect as a court order and may be enforced by any circuit court in the same manner as a support order issued by the court, except for contempt. If the circuit court issues its own order enforcing the administrative support order, the circuit court may enforce its own order by contempt. The presumption of ability to pay and purge contempt established in s. 61.14(5)(a) applies to an administrative support order that includes a finding of present ability to pay. Enforcement by the court, without any change by the court in the support obligations established in the administrative support order, does not supersede the administrative support order or affect the department’s authority to modify the administrative support order as provided by subsection (12). An order by the court that requires a parent to make periodic payments on arrearages does not constitute a change in the support obligations established in the administrative support order and does not supersede the administrative order.
(c) A circuit court of this state, where venue is proper and the court has jurisdiction of the parties, may enter an order prospectively changing the support obligations established in an administrative support order, in which case the administrative support order is superseded and the court’s order shall govern future proceedings in the case. Any unpaid support owed under the superseded administrative support order may not be retroactively modified by the circuit court, except as provided by s. 61.14(1)(a), and remains enforceable by the department, by the obligee, or by the court. In all cases in which an administrative support order is superseded, the court shall determine the amount of any unpaid support owed under the administrative support order and shall include the amount as arrearage in its superseding order.
(11) EFFECTIVENESS OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.An administrative support order rendered under this section has the same force and effect as a court order and remains in effect until modified by the department, vacated on appeal, or superseded by a subsequent court order. If the department closes a Title IV-D case in which an administrative support order has been rendered:
(a) The department shall take no further action to enforce or modify the administrative support order;
(b) The administrative support order remains effective until superseded by a subsequent court order; and
(c) The administrative support order may be enforced by the obligee by any means provided by law.
(12) MODIFICATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.If it has not been superseded by a subsequent court order, the department may modify, suspend, or terminate an administrative support order in a Title IV-D case prospectively, subject to the requirements for modifications of judicial support orders established in chapters 61 and 409, by following the same procedures set forth in this section for establishing an administrative support order, as applicable.
(13) REQUIRED DISCLOSURES; PRESUMPTIONS; NOTICE SENT TO ADDRESS OF RECORD.In all proceedings pursuant to this section:
(a) Each parent must execute and furnish to the department, no later than 20 days after receipt of the notice of proceeding to establish administrative support order, a financial affidavit in the form prescribed by the department. An updated financial affidavit must be executed and furnished to the department at the inception of each proceeding to modify an administrative support order. A caregiver is not required to furnish a financial affidavit.
(b) Each parent and caregiver, if applicable, shall disclose to the department, no later than 20 days after receipt of the notice of proceeding to establish administrative support order, and update as appropriate, information regarding his or her identity and location, including names he or she is known by; social security number; residential and mailing addresses; telephone numbers; driver license numbers; and names, addresses, and telephone numbers of employers. Pursuant to the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each person must provide his or her social security number in accordance with this section. Disclosure of social security numbers obtained through this requirement shall be limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program for child support enforcement.
(c) Each parent and caregiver, if applicable, has a continuing obligation to promptly inform the department in writing of any change in his or her mailing address to ensure receipt of all subsequent pleadings, notices, payments, statements, and orders, and receipt is presumed if sent by regular mail to the most recent address furnished by the person.
(14) JUDICIAL PLEADINGS AND MOTIONS.A party to any subsequent judicial proceeding concerning the support of the same child or children shall affirmatively plead the existence of, and furnish the court with a correct copy of, an administrative support order rendered under this section, and shall provide the department with a copy of the initial pleading. The department may intervene as a matter of right in any such judicial proceeding involving issues within the scope of the Title IV-D case.
(15) PROVISIONS SUPPLEMENTAL TO EXISTING LAW.This section does not limit or negate the department’s authority to seek establishment of child support obligations under any other applicable law.
(16) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.The department may adopt rules to administer this section.
History.s. 30, ch. 2001-158; s. 10, ch. 2002-173; s. 3, ch. 2002-239; s. 12, ch. 2004-334; s. 65, ch. 2005-2; s. 26, ch. 2005-39; s. 21, ch. 2008-61; s. 56, ch. 2009-21; s. 6, ch. 2009-90; s. 8, ch. 2010-187; s. 62, ch. 2012-30; s. 4, ch. 2017-117.