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Plantation Family Law Blog

The court will listen, but children can't always have their way

Do you have children under the age of 18? If you answered, “yes,” then you are well aware of the fact that your children have opinions. They may not have stepped out into the world on their own, but they certainly have their own ideas about everything, including divorce.

Where custody and visitation is concerned, does your child have a say? The answer is “Yes, but it depends on the circumstances.” Courts determine custody using the factors enumerated under Florida Statute 61.13, which include the wishes of the child.

Child visitation laws differ from state to state

Nearly all aspects of the law are governed by a combination of local, state and federal law. But some legal fields are dominated by federal statutes, court decisions and regulations, while other times, the federal level tends to defer to the states.

Family law falls into the latter category. In general, state legislatures and courts have fairly wide latitude to decide how divorce, child custody and similar matters get decided there. This can lead to significant differences from state to state, even between states that share a border, as WKRG-TV shows.

The challenges facing family members seeking temporary custody

One of the more common child custody issues to come before the courts are petitions filed by extended family members seeking to gain temporary custody of a child.

While extended family members often take this step when there are concerns over neglect, abandonment or even abuse, they can also take it for far less serious reasons, such as a parent having financial issues, school or work-related commitments abroad, or a temporarily incapacitating illness.   

Senate committee advances bill to reform foster-care system

Nothing could possibly prove to be more traumatic for children than suddenly finding themselves removed from familiar surroundings and officially labeled wards of the state due to circumstances entirely beyond their control.

While the state has a system in place to ensure that children in these situations are properly cared for -- foster families, group homes and other placements -- the road ahead will nevertheless prove difficult for many.  

State lawmakers seeks exception to divorce requirements

When a person wants to file for divorce here in Florida, they will find that there are actually very few potential roadblocks in their way, such that the process of ending their marriage can at least be initiated rather smoothly.

Specifically, Florida, which is a no-fault divorce state, requires a person to meet three conditions in order to dissolve their marriage: they must prove the existence of a marriage, they must prove the marriage is "irretrievably broken," and they must have been a resident of the Sunshine State for the six months preceding the filing of the petition.   

Is the DCF making progress in carrying out mandated reforms?

The Florida Department of Children and Families, the agency tasked with running multiple programs designed to provide much-needed support to families throughout the Sunshine State, recently provided the state legislature with an update on its progress in implementing the extensive reforms called for in last year's child-welfare reform law.

Specifically, Secretary Mike Carroll appeared before the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee last Thursday to provide a status update, which revealed that while the agency is succeeding in carrying out these reforms, there is still much more work that needs to be done.

Are expecting parents being offered baby name incentives?

From selecting a medical facility to choosing nursery colors, expecting parents are bombarded with a battery of difficult questions in the months, weeks, days and even hours leading up to the big date.

It goes without saying, however, that perhaps the most difficult question of all for these expecting parents is what to name the newest edition to the family. Indeed, they must decide whether they want to continue a family tradition, try something unique or pick something that they feel reflects their child's personality.

How driver's license suspension can affect child support

Under Florida law, people who are convicted of drunk driving or accumulate too many points on their driving records will see their driver's license suspended. This makes sense given that these types of offenses are driving-related and pose a very real risk to public safety.

It may surprise people to learn, however, that this rather harsh punishment isn't just reserved for those guilty of otherwise questionable conduct behind the wheel. Indeed, driver license suspension is a possible punishment for everything from drug offenses and truancy to graffiti and even the failure to pay child support.

Why divorcing spouses may want to consider a parenting coordinator

Once the reality sets in that your marriage is ending, don't be surprised if you experience a range of seemingly conflicting emotions. On the one hand, you may feel a sense of great relief about finally ending a bad marriage and even a bit of excitement about the road ahead. On the other hand, you may feel anger about everything that transpired and some trepidation about the unknown.

Indeed, while some of this trepidation will relate to things like where you are going to live, how much support you will either pay or receive, or how marital assets are going to be divided, the majority of it will center on your children.

What happens when a parent falls behind on child support? - III

In a series of ongoing posts, we've been discussing how the Florida Department of Revenue's Child Support Program can take a variety of enforcement actions to collect past due payments. In particular, we've discussed everything from wage garnishment to driver's license suspension.

In today's post, we'll conclude this discussion by examining some of the more noteworthy -- and what some might classify as draconian -- enforcement actions that can be deployed by the agency and which frequently facilitate compliance by otherwise delinquent parents.

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