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Plantation Family Law Blog

How to establish paternity in Florida

Whether you're a mother in need of court-ordered child support payments, or you're a father trying to assert your right to spend time with your child, legally establishing paternity can be extremely important in child custody proceedings.

If paternity is an issue in your family law case, then it is a good idea to be represented by a family law attorney who is prepared to take the matter to court if need be, but also prepared to resolve matters in the most amicable and efficient way possible outside of court.

Florida legislators consider new alimony reform bill

In Florida there are five main kinds of spousal support. Those are:

  • Temporary alimony, which is paid during the divorce proceeding and not afterward
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony, which is paid for a maximum of two years while the receiving spouse transitions to life after divorce
  • Durational alimony, which is paid after short or moderate duration marriages. This kind of spousal support cannot be awarded for a period longer than the length of the marriage.
  • Rehabilitative alimony, which is paid to help the receiving spouse become self-supporting through education, training or work experience.
  • Permanent alimony, which is long-term financial support awarded after a long-term marriage -- 17 years or more. In some cases, permanent alimony may also be awarded after moderate-term marriages.

How can I lessen the burden on my kids during my divorce?

Different couples handle divorce in different ways. For many people, divorce is the most stressful if not devastating time in their lives, while for other spouses, putting the marriage behind them will be a great relief. For children, however, their parents' divorce is always a confusing and overwhelming time.

Children need security, and they often see their parents' divorce as a threat to that security, perhaps especially if the parents are in conflict. To help parents nurture their children through the divorce process and into life after the divorce, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) provides some tips. 

Is it possible to make post-divorce modifications to support payments?

Spousal support and child support are two common aspects of divorce decrees in Florida. Support can also be the source of a lot of frustration for both parties after the agreement is finalized. Many times the spouse who is ordered to pay support is not happy with the amount that was ordered, or the receiving spouse comes to realize that the payment needs to be higher.

Some people believe that once the court has made a support order there is no going back. However, that is not necessarily the case. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to make modifications to support payments after divorce.

Child custody doesn't always have to be a win-or-lose situation

Children want and need both of their parents, but historically child custody has been handled in the courts in such a way as to make the parents adversaries. This creates a situation in which one parent wins and the other parent loses. Despite the court's intention of protecting the child's best interests, the win-or-lose approach too often greatly limits a loving and capable parent's time with the child.

Of course, there are cases where the child should definitely be in the physical and legal custody of one parent and not the other, but that is not true in every instance. To ensure that their rights are protected and that their child's well-being overrides all other concerns, parents should have a legal representative who understands what is at stake.

Failing to pay child support not only hurts the child; parents can face serious legal consequences

In matters of child support, as in decisions related to parenting plans and child custody, the primary concern is doing what is best for the child. Sometimes the parent who receives support feels the amount being paid simply isn't enough, and sometimes the paying parent has doubts about how the money is being spent.

The best way to go about resolving a child support dispute is to go through the proper legal channels. In some cases, a modification of a child support order is appropriate. What a paying parent should never do is simply abandon his or her obligation to support the child financially.

Talking about child custody in collaborative terms

Most people think of language in terms of which words will best express what they think and feel. But the relationship goes the other way as well. Words and phrases have the power to shape how we think and feel. This is among the reasons why Florida courts prefer to use phrases like "parenting plans" and "time sharing" rather than the more traditional "child custody" and "visitation."

For decades, the custody model was often based on picking the "better parent" and awarding custody accordingly. In some parts of the United States, this is still how things are done. But family courts are increasingly realizing that frequent and continued contact with both parents is often in the best interests of children after divorce.

Knowing when divorce is the right decision

Couples who are having serious trouble with their marriage are sometimes able to work things out through counseling. Misunderstandings and confusion can take hold of a relationship in unexpected ways, and sometimes a counselor is able to help spouses carefully and calmly identify their differences and resolve them.

However, some situations are serious enough that counseling is not likely to result in conflict resolution, and divorce may be the right decision for all parties involved.

What you should know about Florida divorce law

To get divorced in Florida, you don't have to prove that your spouse is at fault, and your spouse doesn't have to agree to divorce or even participate in the process for the marriage to be legally ended. Florida law provides for no-fault divorce, and you can simply state that your marriage has undergone an irretrievable breakdown. If your spouse chooses not to participate, then it may be possible to get a default judgment in order to end the marriage.

However, to file for a divorce in Florida, you must have been a resident of the state for at least six months, and Florida residents who have filed for divorce have to wait 20 days from the date of filing before the divorce can be finalized.

How is child support calculated in a high-asset divorce?

A recent article reminds us that child support disputes can arise for divorcing parents at any income level -- even billionaires.

According to a recent article, Kenneth and Dias Griffin’s high profile and reportedly contentious divorce includes a dispute over child support for their three children, ages 2, 4 and 7. Kenneth, a hedge-fund manager, has an estimated net worth of over $5 billion. Dias also has her own assets, valued around $50 million.

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