Grandmother paying child support for grandchild

A grandmother has been paying child support for her son's daughter after the 10th Circuit Judicial Court issued an order that she do so. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, she is not obligated to pay.

The 41-year-old grandmother works as a nurse's assistant in Avon Park. She first received a notice from the court in July 2013 telling her that she was required to pay $254 per month plus a retroactive payment since her son, who was then still a minor, had fathered a child who was born in December 2012. The money was deducted from her paycheck. Her son turned 18 in January, and the grandmother was still paying support garnished from her wages. She then sought help from a civil rights worker in her area.

The grandmother spoke with a Department of Revenue representative in Sebring and was told that Florida does not have statutes requiring grandparents to pay child support. However, a representative of the department's Tallahassee office said that when a minor is a parent and responsible for child support, the minor's parent might be served with a petition for support. According to the DOR records, the support order was not enforced, and the employer was not told to withhold the funds. The grandmother is trying to be reimbursed for what she has already paid.

While more grandparents are taking care of their grandchildren and assuming custody due to their children's military or job-related problems, the laws regarding child support if their sons or daughters are minors are complex and vague. An attorney who is familiar with family law could offer guidance to someone who is in this situation and file a petition with the court to change any existing orders so that the appropriate person pays child support.

Source: Highlands Today , "AP grandmother seeks reimbursement for child support ", Paul Catala, July 23, 2014

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