In Florida, the Department of Revenue Cannot Default Paternity

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Written by Whitney R. Lonker, Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
wlonker@woodatter.com

So many times I will receive a call from a man who has had a child support order issued against him by a Florida Court where the Department of Revenue, on behalf of the State of Florida, has filed a paternity action against the suspected father and has failed to effectuate proper service on the suspected father. As such, the “father” is not aware of any pending action against him. Normally, the Department will attempt to “default” the father and have the court enter a child support order against him making him obligated for the support of the child without addressing any issues of time-sharing or parental responsibility. Recently, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal and the Second District Court of Appeal have ruled that a judgment of paternity cannot be entered as a default on an unadmitted and unproven allegation of paternity. There must be competent, substantial evience in support of the paternity allegation and that must be provided to the court. (Martowski v. DOR) & (Locklear v. Sampson). If you have had a child support obligation entered against you by the Department of Revenue without a hearing, please call our firm to represent you in this matter. We look forward to helping you.