There are sooo many family court cases. Especially child support cases.
Establishing support … Enforcing Support … Adjudicating contempt … Establishing support arrearages … Increasing support … Decreasing support … Terminating Support … etc., etc.
It would take more judges than many court systems have for a judge to personally preside over all of those support cases, in addition to all the other family court cases pending before them.
So many states’ court systems, Florida included, have developed some alternatives which conserve judicial resources.
In Missouri, the state’s social services agency has been holding its own administrative hearings, in which its own administrative hearing officers have been modifying child support determinations – determinations which were originally made by judges.
The state (quite plausibly) maintains that the administrative process is faster and cheaper … but many people, including many judges, believe it may be less accurate.
Now, a support-receiving mother has taken the Missouri agency to court for allegedly exceeding its statutory authority, by reducing the child support a judge previously awarded her.
And the Missouri Court of Appeals (and, reportedly, many Missouri judges) agree with her.
It remains to be seen whether the case will be further appealed … and how far the shockwaves may ripple.