Wife’s Child Support Motion Unraveled by Late Filing

A husband succeeded used a procedural basis to persaude the 4th District Court of Appeal that it should revive a reduction of his child support. The appeals court concluded that the husband was correct that the man’s ex-wife’s trial court motion, which sought to reinstated his original, higher support obligation, was filed too late and should have been rejected as untimely by the trial court.

This family law dispute arose after the husband suffered a decrease in income and asked a Palm Beach County Circuit Court to reduce his child support obligation. On Feb. 3, 2012, the court granted that request. Two and one-half weeks later, the wife asked the trial court to vacate the support modification order. The trial court initially ruled that the wife made her request too late, but ultimately decided to consider her request and vacated the previous order, thus reinstating the husband’s original child support obligation.

The husband appealed, arguing that the wife did not submit her motion in a timely manner. He also appealed the trial court’s order denying his request to disqualify the trial court judge assigned to his case. The 4th DCA agreed with the husband regarding the timeliness of the wife’s motion. The crux of the wife’s argument before the lower court was that the rules gave her an extra five days in which to file and, factoring those days in, she submitted her motion on time. The appeal court, however, determined that the wife was not entitled to the extra five days she attempted to claim. The five-additional-day rule only applied to litigants whom the court’s order demanded that they take some action within a specific period of time.

Because the court’s order reducing the husband’s child support did not require that the wife take any action, the rules did not afford her the five extra days and, without those, her motion fell outside the deadline for making a request to vacate a previous order. As a result, the appeals court ordered the trial court to reinstate the original order lowering the husband’s child support.

The husband’s request for disqualification of the trial court judge also suffered from a lateness problem. The appeals court explained that the rules of court require that a litigant submit a disqualification motion while the case is ongoing before the trial court. Because the husband did not make a request to disqualify the trial court judge until after the child support modification matter had already concluded, his motion was too late.

In order to succeed in your family law matter, it is not enough to have the facts and the law on your side. You must also make certain that, as you take steps to pursue your case, you are complying with the rules of court. The strongest case in the world will accomplish nothing if it is filed too late. Working with the right attorney can help guard you against losing your rights due to a missed deadline. To ensure that you maintain all of your options, consult the South Florida family law attorneys of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. They have the experience and the awareness of the law and court rules to give you the excellent representation you deserve.

Contact us online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Government Stipend Prevents Parent from Collecting Support for Adopted Child, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, March 19, 2014
Couple’s Agreement Didn’t Contract Away Child’s Right to Receive Support, Survives Wife’s Challenge, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Jan. 14, 2014