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Plantation Family Law Blog

Charlie Sheen falls behind in child support payments

If you have been ordered to pay child support, it is crucial that you take that responsibility seriously. Failure to keep up with these payments can leave you facing some serious penalties including fines and, in some cases, even jail time.

However, situations do arise where people simply cannot make these payments despite their best efforts. This can be due to job loss, medical expenses and other significant life changes that can make it all but impossible to keep up with child support obligations. If this happens, it can be crucial that you act fast to seek a modification.

The dos and don'ts of exchanging custody of your child

Sharing custody of your child is not easy, particularly if the person with whom you share custody is someone you don't even like. When there are negative emotions between parents, even brief interactions have the potential to turn into bitter fights. This is why many parents across Florida find themselves dreading custody exchanges.

During exchanges, there are already powerful emotions you might have when it comes to seeing or saying goodbye to your child. Add to that mix the fact that you don't want to see or interact with an ex, and the exchange of custody can become a serious problem.

Penalties for unpaid support may be harsher than you think

Paying child support is an obligation that parents all across Florida must fulfill. Every month, they write checks or have money deducted from a paycheck to support a child they might not have a relationship with or see as much as they'd like to. Even more frustrating is the fact that the other parent receiving this money may be someone the paying parent hates, distrusts or resents.

Considering all the negative emotions that can come with child support obligations, it can be tempting for people in this position to just stop making payments and avoid the whole situation. However, if this sounds like something you are considering, you should be aware that doing so will only make matters worse for you and your child.

I made a mistake as a parent: Will I lose custody of my kids?

No parent is perfect. Despite the fact that there are books, blogs, online newsletters and friends that may say otherwise, there is no one way to raise a child and no formula for being a perfect parent. However, knowing this doesn't necessarily make it easier to deal with parental mistakes.

This can be especially true for Florida parents who share custody of a child with another parent. In these situations, every mistake and seemingly bad decision you make can be put under a microscope and used against you by a bitter ex. It is not unusual for people to be fearful of losing their parental rights if they slip up and make a mistake. However, you should understand that generally, losing custody of your child isn't something that happens after a simple or minor mistake.

What should we include in our parenting plan?

If you are a parent who is unmarried or divorcing your spouse, you are going to have to establish who will be taking care of your children if both parents want and/or have parental rights. This will involve creating a parenting plan with which both of you will be expected to comply.

A parenting plan is a tool used by Florida courts to specify parental rights, set rules for custody and visitation, and dictate expectations. This plan is typically developed by the parents, so it can be wise to know what you may want to include in your own parenting plan.

Understanding the 'best interests of a child'

When we talk about legal issues that involve children, we often use the phrase "best interests of the child." If you are a parent in Florida confronted with issues related child custody, child support or visitation, you are likely quite used to hearing this phrase as well.

However, there can be some confusion when it comes to the legal use of that phrase and a parent or guardian's understanding of it. In this post, we will examine this term in an effort to help you appreciate how it might be different from how you understand it.

Adoptive mother's visitation rights restored

In the past several years, the rights of same-sex couples and parents have seen some important shifts, from the legalization of same-sex marriage to changes in adoption laws. However, as promising as these developments have been for the LGBT community and supporters, there are still difficult legal obstacles to overcome.

For example, one case involving the parental rights of an adoptive mother has been making headlines in recent months. The woman, who is a lesbian and was in a committed relationship with her children's biological mother, struggled to protect her visitation rights as two state governments disagreed on the law. Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling recently restoring her rights.

Establishing paternity: do I really need to worry about it?

For many people, becoming a parent is one of the happiest days of their lives. However, this experience is not always as joyful or immediate as you may expect, particularly for men across Florida.

In the eyes of the law, becoming a father is not as predictable or straightforward as becoming a mother. Unless you are married -- and sometimes even if you are married -- you very well may have questions and concerns about the legalities of being named a father.

If time sharing disputes turn ugly, turn to your attorney

Fighting over parental rights and visitation can be an enormously upsetting situation. You can feel threatened, scared and very protective when it comes to legally defining who has rights over a child.

This is not unusual. In fact, it is quite common to have a very strong emotional response to discussions about where your child will live, who will make decisions for him or her and how much time you will be able to spend together. This is only natural for parents. Because of this, it can be crucial that you have an attorney by your side, particularly because these situations can often get quite contentious.

Tech tools could help minimize co-parenting conflicts

People all across Florida are raising children as a single parent or with another parent but separately. It is no longer uncommon for people to get divorced or have children before getting married and modern families are no longer defined strictly as one with a mom, dad and a couple kids. 

With modern families comes a need for modern approaches to problem solving and dispute resolution, even when it comes to traditional parenting issues. For example, parents who are bound by orders for child support have long run into problems when it comes to settling arguments about money. Thankfully, new tools have been designed to help parents resolve these disputes, and they can be accessed on the same device you could be using to read this blog post.

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