Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Florida

Q: If a clerk of the court/staff liable for damages resulting from inaccurate account maintenance?

Would a clerk of court/staff be liable for monetary damages stemming from over a decade of inaccurate account maintenance?

The child support account in question was initially given a satisfaction of judgment and closed after the child reached majority. However, after a inquiry for modification, it showed that more than $20,000 was still owed on the account.

From it's registering, the only amount recorded was paid in it's entirety.

As the obligor, I attempted several times, (after emancipation of the child before mentioned) to inquire and request for account information., to no avail.

I feel, from a legal standpoint, my complaint has merit. My concern is that because it is a government entity, it may not be strong enough to pursue for damages. Any help in this area would be most appreciated.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Denise Martinez-Scanziani
Denise Martinez-Scanziani
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Coral Gables, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: It is doubtful there would be liability. You would first have to establish the clerk has a duty to maintain accurate records. It appears you’re asking about holding the clerk civilly liable for this error. I recommend you post your question to a civil lawyer since you’re not seeking to seek damages against the obligee.

From the family law standpoint, modification after emancipation is not usually permitted since the court loses jurisdiction.

Scott Michael Weiss
Scott Michael Weiss
Answered
  • Boca Raton, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If there was a mistake made by the clerk about the amount of child support owed, and you can clearly show that the clerk was in error, you can ask the Court to order the clerk to correct the child support ledger.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Florida county clerks will normally want to correct any error if brought to their attention in a professional manner. If the clerk in your county is not interested in correcting the error, hiring a local lawyer and filing an action sounding in negligence might change the clerk's mind. Forget trying to sue the clerk for "damages." Concentrate on getting the overpayment back, and then consider giving it to the child it was intended for.

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