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Plantation Family Law Blog

Visitation and the holidays

The holiday season can be a stressful time for nearly everyone - regardless of occupation or family status. Divorced parents can face an additional burden, however, when attempting to juggle a visitation schedule around holiday festivities.

Child custody and visitation can be challenging disputes to resolve during a divorce. When other factors are included - such as relocation, modification or a holiday schedule - the dispute can reach dangerous levels. Even if a divorcing couple agrees to a visitation or parenting time schedule, they might not have considered the dramatic impact the holiday season might have.

What factors are considered when calculating Florida child support?

When using Florida's child support guidelines to calculate the amount of monthly payments, the following things are considered:

  • The number of children to be supported
  • The cost of health care for the child
  • Other child care costs (for example, food, clothing and daycare)
  • Each parent's income

The calculator uses this information to generate a basic support amount that is meant to be fair. However, depending on individual circumstances, the appropriate amount of child support may be greater or lesser than the amount generated by using the guidelines.

Holiday time-sharing tips for Florida co-parents

The holiday season is here, and while potentially wonderful, this is often a stressful time of year for parents, especially after a recent separation or divorce. But with the right mindset and planning, it is possible for parents to avoid time sharing disputes and help the kids make warm memories that last a lifetime.

If you have a parenting plan in writing, then it may include clear provisions for time sharing during the holidays. It's a good idea to review the child custody agreement well in advance to ensure that you and your co-parent are on the same page. If you don't have an agreement or yours doesn't specify holiday planning, then you should still coordinate with your co-parent about who will have the kids and when. 

Mother finally reunited with baby after 5 month custody battle

After five months, a Florida mother is finally reunited with her son. The mother re-gained custody after the allegations of her being an "unfit mother" were thrown out by a judge.

The mother, who was reported to the Seminole County Child Protective Services by a doctor, lost custody of her little boy only 12 days after the birth. The woman's doctor reported her after she refused to take the child, who was found to be 10 percent underweight, to the hospital, and instead the mother used soy formula to supplement her breast milk. The decision to use soy formula also supported the mother's vegan lifestyle.

Under what circumstances can a non-parent get custody of a child?

Florida family law presumes that a child's parents are best suited to care for the child. The law also presumes that the parents should have parental rights. In some extremely difficult cases, however, a court may require the biological parents to relinquish custody of their child. Each one of these cases is unique, and every parent facing this situation should have experienced legal counsel.

A non-parent can be given custody of a child through a number of legal channels. The least contentious route involves the biological parents' voluntarily giving consent. If the parents voluntarily sign a document terminating their parental rights, then legal custody of the child can be turned over to another family member. This is an extremely difficult decision to make, and every party involved should have a legal advocate throughout the process. 

Reduce uncertainty with a legal separation agreement

A primary objective of the divorce process is to reach a final agreement on matters such as property division, spousal support, child support and parenting time. Until that agreement is reached, however, the period of separation may be fraught with uncertainty.

To help alleviate your worries during separation, it is a good idea to establish a temporary agreement with your spouse. A long-term agreement may take some time to sort out, but you can still address any separation issues with a temporary arrangement.

Parents must use proper legal channels in child custody disputes

For many people, divorce is the most difficult experience in life, and the emotional and legal process of ending a marriage can be particularly trying if the spouses disagree over child custody. When a custody order is already in place while the divorce is being finalized, it is extremely important that parents abide by that order. Failing to do so can have negative consequences for everyone involved.

One Florida mom is having an extremely difficult time in the midst of her ongoing divorce. The former sheriff's deputy has recently been admitted twice for involuntary mental health examinations under the Florida Mental Health Act, commonly called the Baker Act, and she was arrested on Oct. 21 for allegedly interfering with a child custody order.

Tips for co-parenting this Halloween

One important aspect of co-parenting after divorce is planning for who will have the children on holidays and other special occasions throughout the year. Halloween is coming up, and with the right planning, this particularly kid-focused holiday can be positively memorable for parents and children alike. What you don't want to do as a parent is leave the planning until the last minute.

An important question to ask: does your parenting plan clearly address the holiday? If you are currently going through a divorce and don't yet have an arrangement that includes holiday provisions, then it is important to communicate with your co-parent well in advance. If you do have a child custody arrangement, then now is a good time to review it just so you're clear on the plan.

Parent coordinators help provide long-term solutions

Understandably, parents who are going through divorce often have a difficult time meeting each other on common ground in terms of child custody arrangements. If this is your situation, then it may be a good idea to make a list of things, no matter how small, that you both can agree on, and then try to build from there.

For example, maybe you and your co-parent can agree that staying with the same pediatrician is the right decision. If you both agree about your child's extracurricular activities, then maybe that can be added to the list. Really, any number of points of agreement may serve as a foundation for a long-term solution.

What are the legal requirements for custodial parents who want to relocate?

Occasionally child custody arrangements have to be modified because the custodial parent wants to relocate with the child. Sometimes both parents agree to the move; other times they don't. Here let's go over the requirements relocating parents must satisfy under Florida law.

The parent with whom the child lives most of the time must notify the other parent before moving with the child if the following statements apply:

  • The new principal residence is more than 50 miles away from the custodial parent's current residence
  • The relocation will last for at least 60 consecutive days

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