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Florida Child Support Cases Strain Budget Strapped Court System

Parents filing to establish or modify child support has increased the burden on Florida’s marital and family law court system. Child support hearing offices have been working overtime. Unfortunately, the court system can not deal with the increased demand without more employees. However, this seems unlikely given budget cuts in the state of Florida.

A parent in Broward that is trying to establish child support may have to wait up to six months for a hearing. In addition, parents requesting a modification of child support because of wage cuts or unemployment may have to wait up to three months for a hearing. In Florida, child support modification cases, specifically downward modifications, have increased by 50% since 2006. Broward Circuit Court Judge Susan Greenhawt who hears marital and family law cases including, but not limited to, divorce and paternity, believes that these type of cases really need to be heard since generally there is a contempt motion pending at the same time.

In some cases, individuals are unable to afford to hire a child support lawyer in Fort Lauderdale and proceed on their own. They use online forms, question the clerks and often forget important documents at their hearing. At the hearing, they often ask the court to appoint a lawyer since they can not afford one. Unfortunately, they have to do the best they can and often have their cases dismissed until they can present their case properly.