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A Trial Court May Not Adopt Or Ratify the Report And Recommendations Of A General Magistrate If The Magistrate Does Not File A Complete Record of the Evidence Before Them

August 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Uncategorized



Often times child support issues are referred by a circuit court judge to a hearing officer/general magistrate for determination.  Pursuant Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.490 a “magistrate” is responsible for ensuring that there is a full and complete record of a hearing before them.  

In the case of Garcia v. Garcia the Former Husband sought a downward modification of child support.  The evidence he presented included his own testimony and that of an accountant.  The Hearing Officer/General Magistrate ruled against the former husband stating that he had made a material and fraudulent omission in a financial affidavit and had not met his burden of showing a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a downward modification of child support.

The Former Husband took exceptions to the report and recommendations of the General Magistrate/Hearing Officer.  It was then discovered that the record from the hearings before the  General Magistrate/Hearing Officer was incomplete as it did not contain the testimony of the Former Husband or his accountant.  Regardless, the Circuit Court Judge denied the Exceptions to the Report and Recommendations of the Hearing Officer/General Magistrate and adopted the report.

The Third District Court of Appeals reversed the Circuit Court Judge’s denial of the exceptions and adoption of the Hearing Officer/General Magistrate’s report on the basis that the record was incomplete and remanded the case for further proceedings and a new hearing on the Former Husband’s Petition for a downward modification of child support.

It is important for a party seeking a modification of child support to present the right evidence to the court in support of the modification before a general magistrate/hearing officer.  It is also important to know the rules as to the exceptions and appeals process should the a trial court make the wrong decision based on the evidence and record before it.  

If you need to talk to a lawyer or attorney about a modification of child support, proceedings before a general magistrate or hearing officer, exceptions or an appeal you are welcome to contact our office to arrange a consultation on (786)539-4935

Disclaimer: The Law Offices of Robert Hanreck, P.A. is based in Miami , Florida and serves clients throughout the State including Miami-Dade and Broward counties. We are licensed to practice law in the State of Florida. This website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal advice, or solicit clients outside of the State of Florida.