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How are support modifications and other cases heard in Texas?

In Florida, when you are going through child support and child custody issues, you might find yourself going before a hearing officer. These court-appointed people have a special role in the family law system in the state. There are several types of cases that these officers can hear. Knowing about these various types of cases might help you to be better prepared if the time comes for you to stand before one of these hearing officers.

What is a Petition for Modification?

If a child support order needs to be modified, the parent requesting the modification can file this petition. The hearing officer decides if there is sufficient information available to modify the order. If there is, the hearing officer can recommend a modification. The modification can be either for a parent to pay more in child support or less in child support, depending on the paying parent's circumstances.

What is a paternity case?

If paternity is in question for a child, the hearing officer can hear the case. This type of case usually involves the alleged father taking a DNA test or admitting that he is the father. If he is found to be the father, child support might be ordered.

What other cases are heard?

Requests for support and failure to pay child support are also heard by the hearing officer. In both cases, the hearing officer can make recommendations about child support payments. A person who doesn't pay child support can also face other penalties, such as a license suspension, jail time or bank account seizure.

It is important to note that all recommendations made by the hearing officer are sent to a circuit judge. Once this is done, the parties in the case have a short period of only 10 days during which they can file a Motion to Vacate if they don't agree with the order. Knowing how to handle those types of situations might make it easier to know how to proceed.

Source: Sixth Judicial Court, "Child Support Enforcement" Jan. 07, 2015

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