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Plantation Family Law Blog

What can prompt motions to terminate parental rights in Florida?

We have written often about the shift that has taken place in the landscape when it comes to how the Florida law approaches family law matters related to child custody and parental involvement. In recent years, especially when handling divorce cases, the focus has moved from trying to decide which parent should have the greatest control over parenting to one that seeks to keep both parents actively and equally involved.

The premise of that policy is that the parent-child relationship is of such a special nature that the child's best interest is better met if both parents remain part of the child's life through all his or her formative years.

Change in circumstances can require parenting plan modification

After you went through the process of establishing an enforceable parenting plan with your ex-spouse, you may have felt relieved that the process was finished. Matters were settled, and you could begin moving on with your life and being a loving parent without the distraction of divorce. After all, divorce decrees are supposed to be treated as permanent.

But life is full of unexpected turns, and sometimes divorce decrees and child custody arrangements have to be amended.

New custody provisions protect rights of parents in the military

Military families can face specific kinds of challenges in child custody disputes. Because service members are so often deployed and redeployed, it is possible that judges in multiple jurisdictions will have a say in divorce and child custody matters.

To provide some inter-jurisdictional uniformity and protections for military members, new rules were included in this year's defense authorization bill, which was passed by Congress in December. According to the new rules, unless a modification is needed to protect the child's best interests, child custody arrangements cannot be changed while a parent is deployed, and the custody arrangement prior to deployment will be in place after the deployed parent returns.

Divorcing parents need legal counsel with understanding and empathy

You don't have to look far to find stories of celebrities going through contentious and expensive divorces, often involving heated and public disputes over child custody and property division. The stories are so headline-grabbing that one might have the impression that every divorce has to unfold as a court battle.

While the need for litigation may be necessary in many cases, an increasing number of divorces are being settled outside of court with the help of parent coordinators and divorce attorneys with expertise in parent-child relationships. Going to court is certainly an option, but much work can be done in a more private setting, and parents who take this route often find it to be more efficient and less costly.

Your divorce agreement can protect your child with special needs

All children have a difficult time when their parents divorce, but the separation of the parents may be particularly challenging if a child has special needs. In addition to their own emotional struggles, parents of children with emotional, physical or intellectual disabilities will have to make financial and legal adjustments to provide appropriate care and accommodations.

At the Law Offices of Kelley A. Joseph, we understand the specific challenges divorcing parents face when their children need special care and education. In some cases, early court intervention is necessary to make certain that the care of a child with special needs isn't disrupted. In other cases, parents are able to develop an effective custody plan outside of court. Either way, it is a good idea to have a legal advocate on your side to protect your rights and the rights of your child.

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. 

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