Sarasota & DeSoto County Child Support Hearings

Requirements and Information

Last updated: June 20, 2022

Laura Hale, Hearing Officer

Patricia, Assistant

Requirements & Information

Requirements for Scheduling Hearings

All hearings before the Child Support Hearing Officer are scheduled on the JACS solely by the Hearing Officer's office.

Attention Pro Se Self-Represented Parties: Please review “Procedures for Pro Se (Self-Represented Litigants)” section for the steps to obtain a hearing before the Child Support Hearing Officer.

Child Support: DOR Involved (Title IV-D)

If you are a private attorney representing a party in a proceeding involving the Department of Revenue/Title IV-D Child Support (Sarasota or DeSoto county), you MUST follow these procedures prior to confirming/noticing a hearing date:

Regular Docket Calendar for DOR/IV-D Cases: Hearings 60 Minutes or Less

  • Hearings 60 minutes or less in length may be scheduled on the Child Support Hearing Officer's regular IV-D/DOR docket calendar.
    • Sarasota: Every Tuesday and the first Thursday of the month
    • DeSoto: Two Wednesdays each month
  • Private attorneys seeking a hearing must first clear the hearing day and time with the Office of the Attorney General, Counsel for The Department of Revenue (DOR), before confirming/noticing the hearing (*see Notice of Hearing policies).
  • Contact informationfor the OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL is as follows:
    Phone: (727) 825-7600
    Email: Office of the Attorney General

“Specially Set” Calendar for DOR-IV-D Cases: Hearings in Excess of 60 Minutes

  • Matters requiring hearing time in excess of 60 minutes must be scheduled on a “specially set hearing day” when the Hearing Officer does not have a full IV-D docket.
  • Hearing time will be provided only after the pleading/motion at-issue has been filed in the court record.

Specially Set DOR/IV-D Hearings are to be scheduled as follows:

  • Email the Office of the Hearing Officer with the hearing time request to include: Case Number, Pleading/Motion Name and Filing Date, and total hearing time required (adequate for both parties). The email must copy the opposing party and the Office of the Attorney General via the contact person listed above.
  • Note: Hearing time will be provided only after the pleading/motion at-issue has been filed in the court record.
  • Upon receiving a hearing time request, the Office of the Hearing Officer will provide date/time options to the parties with a deadline for responding. Failure to meet this deadline will result in the release of the potential hearing dates/times and will no longer guarantee their availability.
  • Once the parties have agreed upon a date/time, the Office of the Hearing Officer will schedule the matter on JACS and the parties shall prepare the notice.
  • All of these steps must be followed prior to sending out notice (See “Notice” policies section).

Child Support: DOR Not Involved

If you are a private attorney seeking to schedule a child support matter before the Hearing Officer and the Department of Revenue is not involved in your case (Sarasota County only), you must follow these procedures:

  • No Order of Referral is required for child support hearings pursuant to local Administrative order and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.491.
  • An Order of Referral to Magistrate IS required for hearings re: attorney’s fees/costs.
  • Attorneys may request hearing time by emailing the Office of the Hearing Officer.
  • Requirements for requesting hearing time: Hearing time will be provided only after the pleading/motion at-issue has been filed in the court record. All email requests for hearing time must copy the opposing party (or counsel) and contain the following information:
    • Case Number
    • Pleading/Motion Name and Filing Date
    • Total hearing time required (adequate for both parties)
  • Upon receiving a hearing time request, the Office of the Hearing Officer will provide date/time options to the parties with a deadline for responding. Failure to meet this deadline will result in the release of the potential hearing dates/times and will no longer guarantee their availability.
  • Once the parties have agreed upon a date/time, the Office of the Hearing Officer will schedule the matter on JACS and the parties shall prepare the notice.
  • Mediation requirement: Please consult the applicable judge’s requirements to ensure you have met the Mediation Requirement prior to scheduling any matters before the Hearing Officer.
Failure to follow the requirements herein will result in the cancellation of your hearing without notice.

General Policies

Scheduling in JACS

At this time, all hearings before the Child Support Hearing Officer are scheduled on the JACS solely by the Hearing Officer's office.

Notices of Hearing/Trial in Title IV-D Cases

For all Title IV-D hearings, the notice of hearing/trial shall be provided to all parties to the child support case. This includes:

  1. The Department of Revenue (c/o Office of the Attorney General),
  2. The individual Petitioner, AND
  3. The individual Respondent.

Telephone Appearances (In-Person Hearings Only)

(See “Note On Zoom Hearings”)

  • Requests to appear by telephone are governed by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.530, Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.451, and Section 88.3161(6), Florida Statutes (UIFSA only).
  • A motion to appear by telephone must be in writing and submitted to the Hearing Officer via mail: 2071 Ringling Blvd., 6th Floor, Sarasota, FL 34237 or email as far in advance of the hearing date as possible, giving reasonable notice to all parties.
  • A copy of the request must also be sent to the opposing party/parties, including the Department of Revenue. The motion must contain: the party’s name, address, court case number, day/time of hearing, reason for the request and the phone number where the party seeking to appear by phone can be reached on the day and time of the scheduled hearing.
  • The Court will then determine whether the party will be permitted to appear by phone. This determination may depend upon the type/length of the proceeding, any objections from the opposing side, the timeliness of the request, or any other “good cause” factor in the Court’s discretion and as set forth in Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.451.
The court reserves the right to terminate a telephonic/electronic appearance of any party at any time due to the party’s inappropriate language or other disorderly conduct during the hearing.

Continuances

Pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 12.460, continuances are governed by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.545(e). A motion for continuance must be in writing except as provided in 2.545(e). If the parties enter into a written stipulation for a continuance, a signed copy of the stipulation must be emailed or mailed to the Office of the Child Support Hearing Officer prior to the scheduled hearing. The Hearing Officer will determine then if a hearing is required.

Motions to Vacate

Pursuant to Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.491(f), any party affected by an order issued in a Child Support Enforcement proceeding may move to vacate the order by filing a motion within ten (10) days from the date of entry of the order. The motion must be filed in the Clerk’s Office and a copy of the motion must be sent simultaneously to the assigned Circuit Judge and to the Child Support Hearing Officer.

Emergency Hearings

Requests for emergency hearing time must be in writing and submitted to the Hearing Officer with a copy sent to the opposing party/parties.

Local Rules

Review the Local Rules of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit's website.

Courtroom Conduct

All attorneys are expected to adhere to the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s Standards of Professionalism, located on the Circuit’s website. All parties are expected to adhere to the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Family Division Rules of Courtroom Etiquette and the Rules for Parties in Child Support Cases, posted both inside and outside the courtroom.

Failure to comply with these standards may result in the continuation of your matter.

Procedures for Pro Se (Self-Represented) Litigants

A party to a child support case who is “self-represented” (not represented by an attorney) may request a hearing before the Child Support Hearing Officer by doing the following:

  1. File a motion or petition with the Clerk of Court in the county where your child support case is located (Sarasota or DeSoto).
    Multiple child support cases If you are seeking relief for more than one child support case, a motion/petition must be filed in ALL cases where relief is being sought.
  2. Send a copy of your motion or petition to the other party and to the Department of Revenue (if DOR is involved) then provide verification that you have done so.
    Modification of child support If you are seeking to modify your child support, your petition must be served by formal service of process (by a deputy sheriff or a private process server) on the opposing party (not on DOR). Proof of service must be filed in the court file.
  3. File a “Form C” with the Clerk of Court to inform the Office of the Child Support Hearing Officer that you are requesting a hearing. Form C’s are available online on the Court's website under “Family Information & Forms” section or via direct download.
  4. You will be contacted by mail regarding your request.
Failure to follow these instructions could result in the delay or denial of your request.
Department of Revenue Addresses

Sarasota DOR Office: 100 Paramount Drive, Suite 100, Sarasota, FL 34232

DeSoto DOR Office: 10 S. DeSoto Avenue, Suite D, Arcadia, FL 34266

Statewide phone number: (850) 488-5437

Notes to Pro Se (Self-Represented) Litigants

  • Employees of the Court or the Clerk of Court’s Office are not permitted to give legal advice or help you fill out forms. (See Self-Help Center section)
  • It is your responsibility to select the right forms/motions/petitions and properly complete them so please read the instructions.
  • Family Division forms are available either online at the Twelfth Judicial Circuit website under “Family Information & Forms” section, at the Florida Courts website (under “Self-Help: Family Law Forms”, or at the “Family Court” section of the Sarasota Clerk of Circuit Court website or the “Forms” section of the DeSoto Clerk of Court website.
  • Failure to file a Form C to request a hearing on your motion or petition will likely result in a significant delay as this form serves to notify the Office of the Hearing Officer that you want a hearing. If you do not file a FORM C, the court will not know that you have filed a motion or petition.
  • Appearance by telephone (does not apply to Zoom hearings): Requests to appear by telephone are governed by Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.451 and Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.530. A request must be in writing and sent to the Office of the Child Support Hearing Officer via mail: 2071 Ringling Blvd., 6th Floor, Sarasota, FL 34237, via email, or fax: (941) 861-4873. See “Telephone Appearances” section for additional important details.
Note on zoom hearings For all hearings held on Zoom, the telephone procedure above does not apply. Please refer to your notice of hearing for specific instructions.

Contact Information