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Plantation Family Law Blog

Florida woman urges passage of grandparents' rights bill

Most child custody disputes are between the child's parents. But families can be much more than parents and children. Grandparents also can play an important role in children's lives. Many grandparents would do anything to avoid losing their relationship with their grandchildren. But disputes with the child's parents often cause that relationship to become disrupted.

Under current Florida law, grandparents who are being blocked from seeing their grandchildren may have little legal recourse. But one resident in that situation recently urged lawmakers to pass a grandparents' rights bill. The bill would give people the right to ask the court to order visitation time with their grandchildren in certain situations.

Child support matters more complex with disabled children

Ending a marriage or relationship that children are a part of is rarely an easy task. A complicated process is made that much more difficult when one of the children involved has a disability. In addition to more immediate issues such as the division of assets and debts, child custody and child support, parents must look far into the future to determine how they can work together to make sure their child is cared for. This is true regardless of what the disability is.

Pet custody cases have couples fighting like cats and dogs

If you are a pet owner, chances are good that your dog or cat is more than just a pet to you. For many Americans, pets are family members in much the same way as their children are. Perhaps it comes as little surprise, then, that pet custody disputes are an increasing trend in family law and are sometimes as contentious as child custody and visitation cases.

Some of the first pet custody disputes were actually argued in Florida courts in the 1990s. Since then, the number of divorce cases involving disagreements over pet custody has risen steadily. A recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that over the past five years, 27 percent of family law attorneys in the AAML have noticed an uptick in divorce cases that involve a pet custody dispute.

Thinking about child custody and tax exemption benefits

Tax season is now in full swing. Congratulations if you have already filed your taxes. But if you have not yet done so, perhaps one of the reasons you are hesitating to file is that you are unsure of whether you or your co-parent gets to claim the tax exemption for your dependent child.

The answer to the question, “Who gets to claim our child on tax forms?” is not as simple as one might think. These days, an increasing number of divorced or separated parents share child custody jointly. As a result, each may pay for a fair amount of a child’s expenses and may take care of the child for a significant amount of time.

A physicist tries to solve a common visitation-related challenge

We frequently write about the fact that co-parenting can be a challenging task to undertake. In addition to parenting your child both up-close and from afar, you must likely engage in frequent discussions, arguments and compromises with your co-parent. In addition, if you and your co-parent are both actively involved in your child’s life you may not have as predictable a schedule as you would prefer as co-parenting often requires some flexibility on the part of both parents.

Co-parenting can be unquestionably challenging even if you are only navigating this journey with one fellow co-parent. But what if you have multiple children parented by multiple former romantic partners? Chances are that your scheduling issues, communication frustrations and other co-parenting challenges are even more complex than the average co-parenting situation is.

Is favoring equal custody in the best interests of children?

Various states, including Florida, have enacted laws which favor granting parents equally shared custody after a child’s parents decide to go their separate ways. This arrangement will not generally be applied in special cases, including those involving domestic violence. However, a presumption of shared child custody arrangements is increasingly affecting a number of American families.

There are unquestionably certain benefits associated with such a presumption. Chief among them is arguably that both men and women will be consistently given an opportunity to parent their children, regardless of any gender biases that may affect family law judges. However, a number of drawbacks also impact the practical implementation of such a presumption.

Mistakes to avoid in child custody and support cases

If you are involved in a child custody case, you are likely concerned about ensuring that your children’s best interests are served and that whatever arrangement is ultimately ordered will be fair to you. If your case is relatively civil and centers on lesser matters than custody, support and visitation arrangements themselves, you may be able to resolve your disagreement with a modification to your parenting plan. However, if your disagreement with your co-parent regards the overarching matter of who gets custody of your child, then you are likely in for a more intense legal process.

If you are facing an intensely heated and high stakes child custody, visitation or support battle, it is important that you focus down on what is important to you and how to go about pursuing these important goals in healthy ways. Failure to understand what you are and are not willing to compromise on from the start can lead to an unnecessarily adversarial and drawn-out process.

Are move-away cases in children's best interests?

Family law judges are bound to settle child custody disputes with the child’s best interests in mind. When a parent is either compelled or chooses to move a significant distance away from the child’s current home, this situation is considered to be a move-away case. And whether or not child custody and visitation arrangements have been set prior to the move-away, this significant change in location can inspire questions about whether the move is in the child’s best interests.

Move-away cases can be frustrating for co-parents who need or want to move and for co-parents who are concerned that the move will harm their child in some way. After all, work, love, necessity and a host of other motivations can prompt adults to want to move. And as an adult, one can reasonably expect to move when one wishes to. However, if the move will harm the affected child’s relationship with one or both parents or will otherwise harm the child’s best interests, it may not be possible for one co-parent to move without incurring consequences from a family law judge.

Approaching child custody disputes with a peaceful mind

If you and your child's other parent do not agree on the matter of whom your child should live and/or who should be allowed to make important decisions on his or her behalf, you are navigating an unquestionably challenging situation. Not enough is said about the ways in which child custody disputes can affect both children and parents alike. As a result, others may not understand just how frustrating of a position you are currently in. Therefore, it is ultimately up to you to find the strength within yourself to approach the situation with grace, dignity and a peaceful mind.

A peaceful mind is a critical asset to have during a child custody dispute. Without a sense of peace and calm, the stress of the situation can wear on your body, your mind, your emotions, your patience and your ability to focus on how to best achieve the goal of advocating for your child's best interests.

Child custody and support issues affecting special needs kids

If you have a child with special needs and you are considering divorce, you may have numerous concerns and questions about how your child will be affected by your divorce. Each marriage is unique and each divorce is also unique. However, there are a few things you can keep in mind in order to better prepare for meeting your child's needs during and in the wake of divorce.

Family court judges are required to make child custody arrangements in the best interests of any child affected by a parental split. This is an excellent foundation by which you can approach your divorce. If you and your spouse dispute what arrangements are in the best interests of your special needs child, a judge will be compelled to decide these arrangements according to his or her judgment.

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