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How to Obtain Emergency Child Support Relief in Florida

How to Obtain Emergency Child Support Relief in Florida

emergency child support relief

In this article, we’ll break down:

Some child support cases are amicable with both parents easily finding a middle ground. Unfortunately, there are also many contested cases where tensions run high and the parents rarely agree. 

Contested cases regarding child support in Florida are usually handled and resolved in court. There are rare instances, however, when emergencies arise, and child support relief is needed immediately – sometimes to protect the safety and wellbeing of the child. 

In Florida, ex parte relief is an option when you need child support assistance immediately.

What is Ex Parte Child Support Relief and in Which Situations Can It Be Obtained?

Ex parte child support relief is emergency child support relief requested by the parent who receives support. Ex parte motions generally refer to civil motions that can be granted without a response or attendance from the other side. Because certain situations require child support rulings urgently, the court will consider an ex parte motion without the other parent present. The motion is then reviewed and ruled upon by the court, either without a hearing and/or without the other party present, or having had notice of the hearing.

Emergencies that warrant ex parte relief are almost always extreme or dangerous circumstances. Examples include:

  • Cases of domestic violence
  • Other abusive family situations
  • If the assets of the parent receiving support are frozen
  • If one parent flees the county with the minor child without approval from the other parent or the court

An important note about ex parte relief: it’s temporary. Why? This type of relief is meant to address an immediate need. The purpose is to protect the child from any harm while the situation continues to be resolved. 

After several weeks, you’ll have to appear in court with your child’s other parent. At that hearing, the court will look at any additional evidence, including from the other side, and decide whether the ex parte child support order should remain in effect or if the emergency is over and/or temporary child support is no longer necessary. 

Once the emergency is over, the parent receiving the support can always file for a modification to the child support order if a change to the most recent order is in the child’s best interest.

Read more about How to Successfully Modify Child Support in Florida.

How Do You Prove that Emergency Ex Parte Child Support Relief is Necessary?

As with most child support and custody cases, the burden of proof is on the Petitioner in this case, the parent requesting the ex parte child support relief.

To prove that the relief is necessary, you’ll need definitive evidence that you, your child, or both are facing a significant and immediate emergency. Be prepared to file a petition and swear under oath that the evidence you’re submitting is accurate and true.

The Respondent, or other party, will have a brief window of time to refute the court order once they’re served with the pleadings. If they don’t believe an emergency exists which warrants the relief, then they’ll need to prove their case in court.

How to Obtain Ex Parte Child Support Relief in Florida

To obtain an ex parte motion, one of the first steps is to hire an experienced family law attorney. This is not something you’ll want to do on your own. You’ll need your lawyer to certify in writing to two pieces of information: 1) any efforts made to give notice of the motion to the other parent, and 2) the reasons why giving notice shouldn’t be required. As stated above, you’ll also need to show evidence proving the validity of the emergency that is alleged to warrant the ex parte relief, and that alerting the other parent before ex parte relief is granted could cause harm to you or your child.

Despite the steps you need to take to prove that immediate relief is necessary, the good news is that ex parte child support relief cases, if submitted properly, are often pushed to the head of the line and seen by a court soon after the request is filed. Because these requests are emergencies – often emergencies like domestic violence that put the parent and child in harm’s way – Florida courts often do everything that they can to resolve the case quickly so as to protect the child.

Ex Parte Motions Involving Child Custody

Beyond child support emergencies, ex parte motions can also be filed in cases involving child custody. Most importantly, if you and your child are in imminent danger due to domestic violence or abuse and you need to immediately remove your child from the home or strip your ex-spouse of custody rights, ex parte motions are the fastest way to get the emergency support or relief that you need to protect your child.

If your child is with the abusive parent when the emergency occurs, you can also file Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.941(d) Emergency Verified Motion for Child Pick-Up Order. This motion requests the court order law enforcement to take the minor child from the abusive or otherwise dangerous parent and deliver the child back to you. This is the form to use if the other parent has a legal right to custody of your child.

When filing Form 12.941(d) the court will also require that you file these additional forms before they’ll review your request:


  • A certified copy of the court order proving you have legal custody of your child or time-sharing with your children


  • A certified copy of the child’s birth certificates, if you’re the birth mother and your child was born out of wedlock and there is no court order addressing paternity


  • A certified copy of a judgement establishing paternity, time-sharing, or custody of the minor child

Ex parte relief can also be granted in less severe custody emergencies, which don’t involve a threat of abuse. Be aware, however, that what you deem an emergency may not be viewed by the courts as an emergency. For instance, if your ex-spouse suddenly relocates your child, they may be in violation of your child custody agreement; however, if your child isn’t in imminent danger because of the relocation, then the court isn’t likely to view your case as an emergency. Therefore, your ex parte motion won’t be granted, and you’ll lose your case.

Knowing exactly what constitutes an emergency in an ex parte relief case is critical to your success. We highly recommend consulting with an experienced Florida family lawyer to make sure you’re seeking the relief you need with the proper petition.

Have an Experienced Family Law Attorney Fighting for You to Obtain Ex Parte Relief

If you’re facing a child support or custody emergency, have a family lawyer on your side. Your family law attorney will help you quickly navigate the ex parte motion process and ensure your case is reviewed by the court as soon as possible. Especially in cases involving emergency relief, being proactive and getting the help you need to win your case is crucial. Every minute counts.

RELATED: View All the Family Law Modifications We Handle

Contact us today for a free family law case evaluation. We’ll listen to your case and explain your rights. When you’re ready to work with a Florida family law and divorce lawyer to help you file an ex parte motion and fight for the relief you and your child need, fill out the form on our Contact Us page or give us a call at (954) 880-1302.