Archive for the ‘ Family Law ’ Category

What Happens When A Parent Violates the Child Custody Order

Posted on: September 26, 2018 by in Family Law
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Parent Violates the Child Custody Order

Everyone knows that there’s nothing easy about family separations. Divorce is difficult on its own, but when children are involved, it can become much more painful. Suddenly, you have boundaries where they didn’t exist before. Schedules are different, communication can be inconsistent, and it can be difficult to understand what you can and cannot lawfully do as a parent with shared custody. When a parent violates the child custody order, it can bring on more confusion and conflict. That’s why it’s so important to understand every detail of a child custody order and follow it appropriately. Below we discuss the purpose of custody orders, what constitutes a violation, and what to do if a violation occurs.


Purpose of a Child Custody Order


When a couple goes through a divorce and parents separate, they need a structured plan for visitation and communication with the children. In some cases, a divorcing couple can come to an agreement on these details. Typically through mediation, they can create their own shared calendar and set their own terms on child custody. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. When tensions are high and a couple can’t agree on the terms of custody, the courts will have to decide for them. This is a very unnatural feeling for most parents who are used to seeing their children every day.

The purpose of a child custody order is to make sure that both parents understand who the child should be with on any given day. Since it’s enforced by law, the schedule is protected and everyone involved is responsible for following the order. When a parent violates the child custody order, it’s considered breaking the law.


Determining Who Gets Custody


Traditionally, the courts were more likely to give physical custody to the mother. This is due to historical and conventional ideas of mothers being more influential on development. However, modern courts don’t automatically assume these roles anymore. There are a lot of variables that go into determining who gets custody of a child, but overall, the common mantra is always in the best interest of the child. Some of the elements that judges will consider before making custody arrangements are:


  • What the child wants
  • The age of the child
  • The relationship between the child and both parents
  • The parent’s ability to take care of the child and provide
  • The child’s relationship to their school and community
  • The willingness of the parent


If a parent is upset about the terms of the child custody arrangement, they’re more likely to violate them. When a parent violates the child custody order, it can lead to much bigger problems for the family as a whole.


What Is Considered a Violation?


Basically, anything that falls outside of the details in your child custody order can result in a violation. Many times, these are simple accidents. If a parent picks up a child from school on the wrong day, that could be a violation. Normally, these situations can easily be resolved with your ex-spouse and the family attorney. In other circumstances, the violations can be much more severe. For instance, if one parent refuses to give the child back to the other parent, or if one parent takes the child out of state, the consequences can be much more severe. It’s important to understand all of the terms of the order and always consult with your attorney if changes need to be made.

When a Parent Violates the Child Custody Order


There are a number of different consequences that a parent can face for violating a child custody order. This can vary by state, but overall parents have to understand that a child custody order is enforceable by law and it can be very serious if these orders are violated. If a parent violates the child custody order, here are some of the possible results:


  • the violating parent is immediately at risk of losing the rights that have already been set in place by the courts.
  • The violating parent could do jail time, since he or she could be considered in contempt of court.
  • Violating parent could have to appear in court to explain why the violation happened.
  • The non-violating parent has the rights to call law enforcement and/or petition the court for enforcement of the order.


If you or your ex-spouse has violated the child custody order, it’s important to contact a family law attorney as soon as possible. Experts in family law understand how difficult this time is for you and your family. They can offer support and guidance to get you and your family back on track. Before more conflicts arise from violations of child custody orders, contact your family law attorney to help you settle any disputes.


5 Tips on Establishing Visitation Rights in Florida

Posted on: July 26, 2018 by in Family Law
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Visitation rights in florida

A legal separation or divorce can be incredibly taxing on both individuals. There are waves of aggressive emotions, unexpected stressful situations, and sometimes even financial hardship. All of these factors become even more overwhelming when there are children involved. No matter their ages, children should be considered first when it comes to making decisions for the family. Of course, it can be hard to prioritize or make arrangements when you’re unfamiliar with the rules and regulations set by the state in cases of divorce or visitation rights. These guidelines can be confusing and the process can become frustrating when you’re dealing with the emotional burden of a separation at the same time. However, the more you know about these procedures, the easier it can be for you to form a plan. Below are five important pieces of advice that can help guide you through the process of establishing visitation rights in the state of Florida.

State of Florida Terminology

First and foremost, it’s important to take note that the state of Florida does not use the terms “custody” or “visitation” anymore. Judges, lawyers, and mediators now refer to it as “time-sharing” and “co-parenting”. It’s always helpful to use your state’s proper terminology when creating official documents, appearing in a courtroom, or negotiating with lawyers or mediators. This helps the courts to know that you’ve done your homework and you’re on top of the current guidelines and procedures.

Awareness of Your Words with Your Children

Sometimes parents have a hard time with this new terminology, or with the language, they use during a divorce. This may seem like silly semantics. Or, you may feel that the words you use to describe these visitations don’t matter. However, the language you use, especially during a divorce, can carry more weight than you think. When children hear words like “custody battle” from family members they can start to associate conflict with these terms, even if it doesn’t exist. There’s a good chance they’ve heard these terms used on TV or in films and they can draw their own conclusions about the situation. It’s very important to be aware of the way you speak with your ex, about your ex, or about parental rights in front of your children. Using more neutral and nonpartisan language can help set a comforting tone during this stressful time in their lives. Plus, any harsh words exchanged can possibly be used against you in later proceedings.

Choose a Negotiating Style

Every single decision that the courts make will be based on your child’s best interest. With that in mind, the state of Florida allows you to design your own visitation schedule that works for everyone in the family. However, more often than not, this is easier said than done. There are dozens of different scenarios of divorce that can dictate how your visitation rights will be divided. If you and your ex can negotiate and formulate this type of schedule together, then you’re ahead of the game. This is always the best case scenario when it comes to time-sharing. Unfortunately, when parents can’t compromise or negotiate on time-sharing, the courts will have to decide for them. This can leave a bitter taste in a mother’s or father’s mouth when it comes to a third party deciding how and when they will see their own children. It’s always better if you can place conflict aside and do your very best to communicate clearly, coordinate peacefully, and compromise when necessary. If you and your ex are not yet on speaking terms and you need time to be able to cooperate, your best bet is to contact a lawyer or mediator who can negotiate on your behalf.

Formulating a Parental Agreement

As stated above, Florida law allows parents to create their own time-sharing schedule with their children’s best interest in mind. If you and your ex have the ability to peacefully sit down and devise a co-parenting plan, there are a lot of different variables to consider before you put this down on paper and officially present it to the courts. You need to consider the age and developmental stage of your child. You need to discuss who will handle their doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities, summer vacation plans, holiday schedules, and any extension of rights to other family members.

Revisions of Parental Agreements

It may seem almost impossible to spend one afternoon devising a co-parenting schedule that will stick over time, and that’s because it is. Life happens! What may appear to be in your child’s best interest one day, might seem inadequate the next. Your children will grow and develop in different ways. They may change schools. One parent might move to another city. There are endless variables that can affect the parental agreement. These changes are completely normal and acceptable in the courts. However, sometimes officially implementing these adjustments on paper can be confusing. It’s always best to get support from your lawyer if you need to modify a parental agreement.

Biological Dads Now Have More Rights To Their Children

Posted on: July 18, 2018 by in Family Law
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Biological Dads

Pretty much everyone assumes that in child custody matters, the mom gets the full custody of the children while the dad is left with nothing. Biological dads are often given the short straw when a relationship breaks apart, and the pieces have to be picked up. Many dads can feel helpless when it comes to going to court because of this historical trend in granting moms more rights. However, things are changing in the world. The way that people look at gender and gender roles are evolving. The way that people are looking at marriage is also changing. These changes can have a huge impact on the laws, including family law and the rights of biological dads.

What Is the Antiquated Law That Put a Child’s Legitimacy Before a Biological Father’s Rights?

A child’s legitimacy is based on the child’s parents being married. In the past, a child that was born to parents that weren’t married was stigmatized. These children received a label of being illegitimate. The way that marriage is looked at in this country has changed. More people are opting to not get married before having a child. Others are married to someone else, and end up having a child with someone else. Relationships are not very black and white.

The problem with keeping this antiquated scenario is that there are many situations where the baby is born to a mother that’s married to a man that’s not the biological father. In the eyes of the court in the past, the child is considered the legitimate child of the wife and the husband, even if the husband is not the biological dad. In the case that was decided, the mother was married but told the biological father that her marriage was for legal purposes. The biological father was very involved, and even attended the birth of the child, but had to fight for his parental rights. This antiquated law needs to change.

What Are the Cases That Brought This Scenario to the Supreme Court?

The case that brought this scenario to the Supreme Court is a perfect example of how relationships are different and have evolved into many gray areas. The biological father entered into a relationship with the mother. He was not aware that she was married to another man in the beginning. Once he found out, she explained that her marriage was for the purpose of immigration. The couple was together for three years, and they had a baby together.

This biological father remained very involved. As mentioned, he was at the hospital when the baby girl was born. The birth certificate has the name of the man rather than the woman’s husband. He paid child support for his daughter. He was involved with taking her on errands, such as going to the doctor or dropping her off at daycare.

The problem came when he wanted to legally declared the father by the courts so that he could earn visitation. The judge stated that because of these antiquated laws her husband should be considered the legal father. This ruling stopped the biological dad from being able to be with his daughter.

Thanks to the history between the man and his daughter, the appeals court reversed this ruling. The Supreme Court agreed with the appeals court and allowed that decision to stand.

How Does This Benefit Biological Dads and Families?

The key benefit that this case offers to biological dads is that it has set a new precedent. It gives biological fathers the opportunity to use this case’s decision to help them in their decision. Ultimately, the benefit is that it may allow biological fathers that are in a tricky situation because of not being considered the father due to a husband being involved to have more of a chance to be involved with their child. Fathers that are involved in their children’s lives make a difference.

How Can A Lawyer Help?

An experienced lawyer that’s familiar with helping biological dads gaining custody and establishing their rights can help. A legal professional that’s familiar with how changes have been made based on these Supreme Court cases can help in restoring rights that had been taken away. Fighting for your rights is important, but not always easy. It can be hard to handle dealing with the questions of legitimacy versus biology.

Seeking professional help is one of the best ways to protect your rights as the biological father. Biological dads are just as important to the upbringing of a child as the mother, and as time goes by, society is changing their views on gender roles. This change in society has resulted in changes in how family law is delivered. Contact our law firm to learn more about how these cases may offer some insights into your particular situation. Our professional staff is experienced with handling family law custody cases and can speak with you about your case. Do what’s best for you and your child by allowing the law to work for you.



How Do Florida Courts Determine Child Support

Posted on: July 5, 2018 by in Family Law
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child support

There are few things that can complicate a relationship more than money and children. On their own, these issues can be hard to handle after a relationship is over. However, putting them together it can be even worse. It can be confusing when it comes to trying to figure out why one parent ends up paying a set amount of money while another parent in a similar situation ends up paying a completely different amount. There are actually a few factors that the court uses when it comes to determining the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent will pay out to the parent with custody.  

What Do Families Need to Know About Child Support?

Child support is going to differ based on the family. A person may hear that someone they know was ordered to pay a particular amount of money for child support. This fact may make them think that they have to pay the same amount. They may think that it’s low enough that they don’t have to worry. Or they may worry that they won’t be able to afford it. The truth is that you can’t base what your child support order will be on other people’s experience. In some cases, a parent with four children could end up paying less than another parent with two children.

How Are Amounts Determined?

Child support amounts are determined on two main factors. The first is the number of children. The second is how much money is made by the parents. In Florida, the courts use a model known as the income shares model. This model has the theory that the parents will continue to spend the same amount of money on the children that they did before they separated. The courts will estimate the amount each partner would spend on the children if the couple were still together. This amount is divided between the two parents using their income. This calculation determines the obligation of each parent.

What Happens If You Quit Your Job or Reduce Your Hours?

The Florida courts are familiar with some parents that will deliberately try to impact the amount of income they have coming in to influence the amount of child support. Some parents will deliberately quit their job or ask their employer to reduce the number of hours that they work. The courts are legally able to assume that the individual has the same income when it comes to child support even if they have made these changes. This measure acts as a deterrent. However, this action can only be taken if the reduction in hours or job loss was voluntary and beyond their control.

Can Child Support Be Modified in Florida?

The courts in Florida can modify child support payments, but only in cases when there has been a significant change in the amount of money they make. This may be from a loss of income, such as losing a job or making a career change. However, this can also be from circumstances where income is higher than before, such as a raise or promotion. In addition, if there are changes in parenting that go against the parenting plan, such as not having as many overnight visits with the child can result in modifications.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support?

The first thing that happens if you don’t make your payment is that you’ll receive a late notice. After this late notice, other actions may occur. These actions may include withholding your income to cover the payments. They may also suspend your driver’s license and any business licenses that are in your name. In addition, the state may take any refunds you receive from the federal government for your taxes, any worker’s compensation payments, and any lottery winnings from the state lottery. If you apply for a passport, it could be denied. Finally, it can show on your credit report and negatively impact your credit score.

Getting Professional Assistance

Most parents, even if they aren’t happy with the other parent, want what is best for their kids. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll agree on the amount of child support the court orders. It can be beneficial for all parties to have a professional to help in going through this process. A lot of time and attention to detail can be needed when handling child support orders, and disputes can often come up in these cases. An experienced attorney can be beneficial to have on your side.

Are you dealing with a family law situation and have a concern about child support? It can often be a tricky situation that’s not easy to handle. Contact Lewert Law today to discuss your case. As a parent, taking this step to receive help is one of the best ways you can protect yourself and your child.  

Palimony: What You Need To Know

Posted on: June 29, 2018 by in Family Law
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Palimony divides real property and assets between unmarried, cohabitating partners who have shared financial interests. Couples who live together for long periods of time but never get married still form close bonds and financial ties. In many cases, domestic partners behave just like married couples, with the same commitments. When a long-term, live-in relationship ends, each partner often goes through the same emotional and financial troubles as with a divorce.

What is Palimony?

Palimony is similar to alimony in that one member of a separating couple pays support payments to the former partner. The term became popular when actor Lee Marvin separated from his long-time partner, Michelle Triola, in 1977. Famed attorney, Marvin Mitchelson, Triola’s lawyer, came up with the term when Triola filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against Marvin. It is a combination of the word “pal” with the word “alimony.” Ms. Triola claimed that she had given up her career to care for Mr. Marvin. Thus, she felt she deserved support payments so she could carry on with her life in the same style. She also said that there was a verbal agreement that Marvin would take care of her financially. Although she was awarded over $100,000, the case was later appealed, overturning the judgment.

Cohabitation is currently a popular lifestyle alternative to traditional, legal marriage. It is wise for both parties in the relationship to sign a formal cohabitation agreement before moving in together. The paperwork should clearly explain the financial responsibilities of both parties when the relationship ends. Like prenups, most people don’t like to sign cohabitation agreements. People in love tend to think of them as pessimistic. But judges are less likely to award support payments if the living arrangement does not involve a legal framework.

How is Palimony Different from Alimony?

Palimony differs from alimony in that palimony is only recognized in a few states. The court considers alimony as spousal support and division of property between a married couple, either during marriage separation or divorce. There could be no alimony if there were no marriage. All 50 states have provisions to award alimony. Different types of spousal support include permanent, temporary, and duration (lasts as many years as the marriage lasted) alimony, to name a few.

Judges typically award alimony as a monthly support payment. A judge will usually award palimony as a one-time lump sum.

The majority of states don’t recognize or have laws in place for support payments between unmarried couples. Cohabitation laws vary from state to state. Living together under specific circumstances results in what is known as “common law marriage.” Only a small percentage of states recognize such marriages.

What States Allow Palimony Requests?

Generally, most states will hear palimony cases if the relationship was a common law marriage established in a state where common law marriages are recognized. Except in Iowa, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia, same-sex couples do not qualify for common law marriages.  The states that have common law marriage are:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia (if formed before 1/1/1997)
  • Idaho (if formed before 1/1/1996)
  • Iowa
  • Kansas (If both partners are over 18)
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire (recognized only after the death of a partner)
  • Ohio (if formed before 10/10/1991)
  • Oklahoma (if formed before 11/1/1998)
  • Pennsylvania (if formed on or before 1/1/2005)
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas (with specific rules)
  • Utah (with specific rules)

What are the Conditions for Receiving or Giving Palimony?

There are no set-in-stone rules for palimony support. However, each state that recognizes common law marriage has its specific guidelines. Contrary to common belief, a man and woman who live together for 7 years or more are not automatically in a common law marriage.

A couple that lives together for a long period (several years) and presents themselves to the community as a “married couple” will likely be regarded as being in a common law marriage. Of course, this only applies to the states mentioned above that recognize common law marriage.

Considerations in a palimony case would likely include if the couple:

  • Shared a dwelling
  • If the woman uses the man’s last name
  • Signed contracts or made large purchases together ( or home)
  • Filed joint tax returns
  • Had a shared bank account
  • Call each other as husband and wife
  • Shared expenses
  • Raised children together

Palimony in the State of Florida

Florida is not a state that recognizes common law marriage. The courts in Florida do not regularly hear palimony cases or award palimony in the event of a terminated cohabitation. However, if the common law marriage was formed in a state where it is legal, the palimony case may be heard in a Florida court.

If you need to learn more about palimony in Florida, contact the Lewert Law, L.L.C. family law attorney Tina L. Lewert is board certified in marital and family lawyer who can guide you through the upheaval that comes with the end of a long-term relationship. Call today for a private, free consultation at 561-220-0123.

Florida Parental Responsibility Vs. Child Custody

Posted on: January 18, 2018 by in Family Law
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Florida parental responsibility

Child custody is usually a major point of disagreement in divorce cases. In most situations, two parents can’t come to an agreement regarding issues like child visitation and day-to-day care. They leave the decision up to a judge. In Florida, the court bases that decision on shared parental responsibility. Florida parental responsibility means that a court will handle your child custody issues different than other states. Find out what this means to you and your children.

What Is Florida Parental Responsibility?

In most states, child custody cases rely mostly on a judge’s decision. If the court feels that a child would be better off with one parent getting sole custody, then the judge will decide accordingly. Although many states are moving towards joint custody, sole custody is still a reality. Whether a parent gets sole custody is very much up to the judge.

However, Florida parental responsibility changes things for Florida custody cases. In Florida, parental responsibility replaced child custody. In all child custody cases, a judge needs to consider parental responsibility.

Florida parental responsibility refers to a shared responsibility of both parents to raise a child. Both parents need to work together to parent the minor. For example, both parents need to discuss any big decisions. If the decision affects the child’s welfare, then the parents need to discuss it together. Each individual keeps full parental rights. Additionally, each individual shares the parenting workload.

Which Decisions Are Part of Shared Responsibility?

When you have a court-ordered custody agreement, one parent could be the primary caregiver. That parent is responsible for making all day-to-day decisions. However, any more long-term decisions fall under the issue of Florida parental responsibility. Generally speaking, shared responsibility involves any decisions that involve your child’s welfare. However, there are a few specific issues that usually fall under Florida parental responsibility. Here are a few of them:

  • The religious upbringing of a child
  • Any moral beliefs you teach a child
  • The type of discipline that a child receives
  • Recreational activities in which a child participates
  • Any legal matters that involve your child’s welfare
  • The type of schooling a child gets
  • Which school a child attends
  • Any changes in the child’s social environment

To help you understand how Florida parental responsibility works, here is an example. If you and your partner have shared responsibility, your son might live with you. However, you need to tell your ex-partner about your child’s illness or accident. Your ex-partner needs to have access to your son’s medical records at any time. If you want your son to change schools, you also need to discuss the issue with your ex-partner. He needs to agree with you before you switch schools. Additionally, he needs access to those school records.

Other Requirements

On top of discussing the above issues, each parent needs to be an active caregiver. As such, he or she needs to provide a moral, educations, and socioeconomic setting for the child. Any decision needs to be in the best interest of the child. Additionally, any arguments need to end in an amicable manner. During discussions, each parent needs to behave properly. Everything should be in the best interest of the child.

When it comes to visitation, each parent need to allow easy access and contact to the other parent. Mail, phone, and other types of communication should be allowed. If one discourages the child from seeing or talking to the other parent, then the court could hold that against him. The court wants to see that the child is taught to love and respect the other parent. Therefore, neither parent should speak badly about the other.

The Penalties

If you fail to meet the requirements of shared responsibility, then the court can take action. The penalties are quite severe. You could be found in contempt of the court. In some cases, you could get jail time or lose residential custody.

Is Shared Parental Responsibility Always the Outcome?

In Florida, courts prefer to use shared parental responsibility in custody cases. A judge needs to consider awarding shared responsibility. However, he can choose to do otherwise. There are many factors that a judge considers before he awards custody. However, all of those factors contribute to one detail – the best interest of the child. If a judge believes that a child’s best interest is not parental responsibility, then he can issue another decision. As long as that decision is in the best interest of the child, the court will uphold it.

For this reason, you need a great child custody lawyer. You can’t be certain what type of outcome your case will get. With the right lawyer, you may be able to get the outcome that you want. Before you go to court, contact a lawyer to learn about your options. Shared responsibility is preferred, but it might not be your outcome.

Florida Child Custody Laws: Time Sharing

Posted on: January 9, 2018 by in Family Law
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child custody

Child custody is a process that never goes easy. You will never be able to keep all parties happy, at all times. It is a long process that can become draining physically, emotionally and financially. The divorce is already hard enough on the child, the court wants to make sure that they don’t have to suffer more. The parents are old enough and resilient enough to overcome these problems. But, issues stemming from divorce can have a huge impact on children. This is especially true for those who are very young and still developing. There are more factors to think about, also. You can read about some of them here.

Florida Child Custody Laws: The Factors

The court will take several things into consideration when deciding child custody. Some such factors include things like history. If you have a criminal history, a history of drug issues or mental stability issues; there is a possibility that custody will not work in your favor. There is also the ability of the parent to provide for the child. A stay at home mom might have the time to devote to a child, but now they have to find a job. And if they don’t have the skills to do so, there is a chance that they will lose custody. There is the ability to petition for custody later, but you have to be able to support yourself and the child before you can. They also consider who the child favors. This is because in many cases if the child favors one parent over another it is because they find the support and care they want in that parent. Everyone wants what is best for the child, but the court also wants to make sure that they have requirements that can be met consistently. This is one of the things they look for in negotiation of child custody cases.

Florida Child Custody Laws: Time Sharing

The state of Florida tends to lean towards time sharing when it comes to custody of children. They try to work out a schedule that works for both parties and still benefits the child. They like to keep the child’s schedule as normal as possible while making sure that both parents feel the agreement is fair. Sometimes this can mean that one parent gets every other weekend and holidays or summers. They tend to ask both parents about their schedules and living arrangements. From there, they decide what is best for the child and try to work out something that will keep them in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. The process will extend the divorce, but having a skilled attorney will ensure that it is as quick as possible. They will be able to minimize the damage and negotiate a compromise that will be in your best interest.

Florida Child Custody Laws: Your Attorney

Because your attorney is your voice to the court, you need one you can depend on. They need to be able to represent you well and within the limits of the law. They will know what you can and cannot achieve, which will make the process a little easier. Their experience in this field is essential, so you want to make sure that you find someone with a good reputation, who can get you the best possible outcome. Tensions will already be running high from the dissolution of your union, the easier the child custody discussions can go; the better. You don’t want to compromise your rights or what is best for your child. But, you don’t want to traumatize them, either. Have someone represent you who truly stands for what you want and what your child needs. That is why you need to find someone you trust and who knows the laws very well. Then they will be able to make a case for you and give you a better advantage in court. This is important because that is how the judge will decide who gets child custody and how it is divided.

The more experience your attorney has in child custody cases, the better. But, they will also need a deep understanding of the local laws at hand. This will give you an advantage that other attorneys cannot offer. Be honest and open about everything, so they can play for your strengths and prepare for the downfalls. They will be able to use their experience and insight into the law to advise you on the strategies that will work best. This means they will also know what will fail, having seen it before. You want to make sure that they know all of the details of your case so that they are ready for anything that comes. They need to know if there will be any problems so that they can recover from them. That is the benefit of having a good attorney. You can start your search for one here.



Types of Paternity Testing

Posted on: December 27, 2017 by in Family Law
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paternity testing

Paternity testing has become more and more popular in recent years. In the past, courts couldn’t rely on paternity tests because of their accuracy. However, they are now commonplace in many different court proceedings. Especially where custody and financial support issues are tried. They are something that doesn’t even necessarily have to play into a court case. There are plenty of people who are requesting them personally. Sometimes because of a question of infidelity between a couple.

Types of Paternity Testing

While DNA is the best way to establish paternity of a child, there are different ways of establishing and eliminating matches. Whether the DNA sample is taken from an umbilical cord, saliva swab or blood sample; there are many ways to test an actual sample itself. One fast and easy way is by blood type. This is used as a way to exclude someone, rather than confirm that someone is a parent. The most accepted and used method is DNA testing to confirm matching markers in the samples. This is commonly what we think of when we hear about paternity testing as though it has been the most accurate method so far. However, how accurate it depends on markers tested and the laboratory doing the testing.

False Inclusions of a DNA Paternity Testing

Paternity tests that use DNA work by identifying specific pieces of DNA that fathers share with their children. If the DNA in the samples match in size, he might be the father. However, these may also match other men in the population. This is why there needs to be more locations tested, called genetic markers. The more markers there are tested, the rarer the pattern and the more exclusions from the test. If the testing is stopped too soon and the model is a common one, there is a higher chance that the testing will be false. This tends to be the case with false inclusions. This is the reason that the test will always state probability of accuracy.

False Exclusions

Another large reason for the error is exclusions. It happens when the lab mixes up labels or envelopes. This means that they may test the mother’s DNA as the child’s or the child’s as the father’s. There would be a mistake regardless of how many genetic markers the test covers. There are plenty of different ways that these errors can play out. This is why there are more and more laboratories that are examining all of the samples against each other. There are also examples of parents sending in samples that they didn’t give. If this is the case, the father must give the sample himself. Another problem tends to be that there isn’t enough DNA in a given sample. This is part of the reason that more of the necessary sample is taken than usual.

Paternity Testing: Court

While courts are familiar with the fact that not all paternity test is entirely accurate, they still need to let the case be presented. This means that if your attorney isn’t familiar with this focus of the law, you can lose the case. Sure, they know that there can be errors in the testing. But, your attorney needs to show the court that this is what happened and give a strong representation of that to the judge. This is why having a competent attorney who is familiar with these cases is so important. This means they will miss details that could b the difference between winning your case and mistaken paternity. This isn’t something you want to take a chance with. It isn’t just a matter of paying an attorney that isn’t going to give you a solid case. It is also a matter of family and knowing the truth. And that is what is most important, overall.

If you have to take a paternity test or are pending one, you might need an attorney on your side. You will likely need one after, you might as well have one now and acquire some guidance for the test. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about liability and how the case will play out. You want to make sure that you have someone with experience and knowledge in this field since it isn’t a typical focus. Having seen cases like yours and how different strategies can play out is an essential asset. It will be a powerful tool in your case and could make the difference between dismissal and conviction. This isn’t something that you want to take a chance on. It could turn out incredibly expensive and lengthy. These cases are never short and sweet.

Child Time-Sharing Custody in Florida FAQs

Posted on: December 11, 2017 by in Divorce, Family Law
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child time-sharing

Custody agreements are complicated. Before you and your partner make a child time-sharing agreement, there are a few things that you should know. Find out everything that you should know about child time-sharing custody in Florida.

1. What is the Goal of Child Time-Sharing Custody?

One of the most important things to understand is the purpose of this type of agreement. A time-sharing agreement refers to the amount of time a child spends with each parent. When you create a time share agreement, it specifies how much time the child will spend with each parent. The goal is to create a legal document that awards each parent (or only one parent) a certain amount of time.

Another goal is to create an agreement that has the child’s best interest at heart. When it comes to child custody, the court cares mostly about the child. They want to do whatever is best for the child.

2. What is the Difference Between Time-Sharing and Parental Responsibility?

While time sharing refers to the amount of time a parent spends with a child, parental responsibility is quite different. The term refers to decision-making for the child. For example, it could involve deciding which school a child attends, her medical care, or her religion. In some agreements, one parent could get equal time with a child but less parental responsibility. Like other issues in child custody cases, the decision depends on a variety of other factors.

3. What is the Most Common Result in a Child Time-Sharing Agreement?

Every custody court case varies. With so many factors affecting the outcome of the case, it is difficult to say how your case will turn out. However, there is a general trend in Florida of which you should be aware. The state tends to favor equal parenting and equal time share custody decisions. Therefore, you need to fight hard if you want another outcome.

4. Can a Parent Get Sole Custody?

Although the court does favor an equal time share, it is possible to seek and get sole custody. However, this can take some effort. Your lawyer needs to prove that being with you and you alone is in the best interest of the child. If he can prove this, then you still won’t be able to end the child’s relationship with the other parent. The only situation that warrants that is an extreme situation. For example, contact with that parent could be unsafe. In this situation, the court might agree that the child should have no contact with the father.

Often, the court will allow a non-custodial parent to visit his child. In fact, he can usually have overnight visits. However, the court could require supervised visitations. Under these circumstances, the parent can only visit the child when a third-party supervises the visit.

5. What Factors Affect the Time Share?

There are several factors that a judge considers before she decides on a time share agreement. Although there are other factors that she could consider, here are a few common ones:

  • The willingness of a parent to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent
  • A parent’s willingness to honor the time sharing schedule
  • The ability of each parent to put their own needs after the child’s needs
  • Whether the home environment provides stability for the child
  • The physical, emotional, and mental health of each parent
  • Any past troubles, like child abuse, domestic violence, or child endangerment
  • The desire of the child, if the child is old enough to decide (usually at the age of 12)
  • A parent’s willingness and ability to participate in a child’s education and other activities

6. Can You Change Your Time Share Agreement?

When you create a time share agreement, it is a legal document. As such, you cannot change it without going back to court. If you want to make changes to it, then you need to go to court. In order to gain approval, you need to show that there has been a major change in the circumstances. Changing the agreement needs to be in the child’s best interest.

However, you and your ex-partner can change the agreement on your own. It won’t be legally binding, but you are free to make your own decisions. The agreement will only be enforced if you or your partner go to court and complain that the other parent violated the agreement. For this reason, you should be cautious about modifying the agreement. If possible, you should do it through the court.

7. Do You Need a Lawyer?

The court does not require you to have a lawyer in your child custody case. However, you leave a lot at risk without a lawyer. Your child time-sharing agreement tells you how much time you can spend with your child. If you don’t have a lawyer, you could end up with less time than you deserve. It’s best to prepare yourself and go to court with a lawyer who has experience.

Factors That Influence Child Relocation Decisions in Florida

Posted on: November 28, 2017 by in Divorce, Family Law
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Child Relocation

The dissolution of marriage is a hard enough process, but child relocation discussions can magnify them exponentially. Sure, the divorce will be hard for the child either way; but having to decide where they will live makes things so much harder. Custody is one issue, child relocation is another. There are plenty of factors that can determine the outcome of this negotiation. Both the parents and the child are traumatized by the entire ordeal, so it is best to keep it as simple as possible. There is always a possibility to make it a little smoother, and that is what is best for the child. But, it all boils down to one parent proving that it is in the best interest of the child. You can read more about it here, but this is a quick rundown:

The reasons each parent gives for their cases, whether it is for the stay or child relocation.

The judge will hear all of the reasoning given and that tends to lay the groundwork for support of the parent’s argument.


Whether good faith backs the relocation.

This often means the non-relocating parent and their financial support or keeping to scheduled visits.


The career that the objecting parent is in and what their prospects may be in the area sought for the child relocation.

If the relocation could be handled by both parents relocating, that may be a consideration for the court.


History of both parents.

The court will likely consider any history of domestic abuse, drug abuse, rehabilitation, counseling, run-ins with the law and financial support problems.


The child’s relationship with a relocating parent and the non-relocating parent are big factors in this decision.

Courts always want children to have the benefit of both parents, but that isn’t necessarily something that is always achievable. The consideration for proposed methods of attaining that shared goal is almost a guarantee.


The child’s age and needs.

There is always consideration given to how a move will affect their development. If it is considered something that could be negative; it is likely they will have the child stay with the non-relocating parent.


The court’s ability to maintain the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent is something that belongs under advisement.

If there is a compromise that will keep the integrity of the relationship and consistently, there is no reason that the child should have to stay.


The child’s preference is another consideration.

If the child feels more connected to one parent than the other, it could be traumatic to keep them apart. This is something that no court would inflict on a child, especially since it will affect them in the long run.


How the child relocation will affect the life of the parents, as well as the child.

If the is belief that relocation can contribute to the wellness or enhancement of the child’s life, the court may acquiesce. The child is the most important focus in these cases and what is best for them tends to be the ruling of the court.


The current financial situation of each parent and how the child relocation would correlate with them.

In some cases, if the parent that the court would prefer to keep the child feels that they could improve their financial situation because of a job offer in another city or stay with a parent, that might be considered.


Any other factor regarding the best interest of the child.

It can be hard to list every possible influence. But, anything that is an influence on the child’s well-being and happiness is taken into consideration, no matter how small or great.

Child relocation is a very complex process that is hard for everyone.  Tensions will already be running high from the dissolution of the marriage, the easier the child relocation discussions can go; the better. Naturally, that process will extend the divorce; but it doesn’t have to be as painful and lengthy as it can be. You need someone who has experience in this focus of the law, to keep the damage and time to a minimum. They will be able to find a great compromise that works for everyone and as quickly as possible. You don’t want to compromise your rights or what is best for your child. But, you don’t want to traumatize them, either. Have someone represent you who truly stands for what you want and what your child needs. The more experience they have, the better. But, they will also need a deep understanding of the laws at play. That will give you an advantage that other attorneys cannot offer. Be honest and open about everything, so they can play for your strengths and prepare for the downfalls.  You can start your research here.


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