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Plantation Family Law Blog

Divorce: Can it actually protect your kids?

There is no doubt that situations like divorce and sharing custody have the potential to take a significant toll on kids. After all, they are major changes that require considerable adjustment.

It is only natural for parents to want to avoid these areas of complication and shield children from difficult situations. However, if you think that staying in an unhappy and high-conflict marriage is accomplishing these things, you may want to reconsider.

Scott vetoes bill presuming equal parenting time is best

Child custody is one of the most complex and divisive issues in family law. Because there can be so much at stake, from parental rights to the welfare of a child, there are many laws in place that establish certain protections and direct family courts on how to resolve child custody matters lawfully and fairly.

However, these laws are always changing or being challenged. Recently, for example, a bill was proposed that would have dramatically affected the trajectory of child custody cases across the state. The bill, which was recently vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott, would have directed courts in the state to presume that equal parenting time was best for Florida children.

What you should know about your parenting plan

Courts rarely award one parent 100 percent of the parenting time. The modern trend has been to allow both parents an opportunity to spend time with the child. Florida is no different. It is a matter of public policy to ensure that a child has continuing access and contact with both parents as much as possible. The courts are instructed to encourage parents to collaborate during divorces because it's in the best interests of their child to ensure that they continue to get the love and support they need. This post will go over the factors you should consider when setting up a parenting plan.

How will moving affect custody?

Getting through the process of working out a parenting plan can be a great relief to parents who share custody of their kids. With everything laid out in that plan, parents can move forward and refocus their energy on making the most of their time with their children.

However, there are situations in which you will have to revisit and make changes to a parenting plan. For instance, if you or the other parent plans to move, it can and will affect custody arrangements.

What reduces your obligation to pay child support during college?

Child support is paid to help your child grow up, pay for expenses and get an education. Education includes primary, secondary, post-secondary and even graduate school in some cases. When your child support obligation ends depends on the expectations you, your ex-spouse and your child hold in terms of education. If you and the other parent are both professionals, then it is possible that child support could be ordered to continue until your child receives his or her graduate degree. Assuming child support has been ordered, is there any way to mitigate the support payments or do they stay the same? 

Child support payments are based on your ability to pay and your ex-partner's ability to pay. But when a child enters college, a third potential income is introduced: your child's. The more your child is able to pay for himself or herself, the less you have to pay.

Do you still owe child support if your child goes to college?

The short answer is yes. Generally you will continue to owe support while your child is in college. Most people understand that child support ends once he or she hits 18. But this rule is relaxed if your child is pursuing higher education. In some cases, the court will order continued payments to support your child through their pursuit of higher education. This article will address the general factors that the court will consider to order continued support.

Like most issues considering support, the court will take a holistic view of the situation. But it will pay special attention to the following issues:

  • Your child's academic performance and acuity. The more likely your child is to go to college, the more likely support will be ordered.
  • The financial resources of the parents, how able you are to continue paying support.
  • The standard of living your child would have enjoyed if the divorce had not occurred.
  • The financial resources of the child, how able he or she is able to support themselves.

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.

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