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Family Law

All about family law to help you

Family Law 

 Family law consists on all the issues that can arise in a family environment. Some are: marriage, divorce, adoption, child support, guardianship, and child custody. They also include topics as child abuse, annulment, domestic abuse, and protective orders. Some of the topics are described below

You can contact our office for a free consultation at (813)908-1313.

What is Time Sharing? (Custody)

(Time-Sharing) 

 

Florida has removed the term of custody and now uses the term “time-sharing”. The “time-sharing” will be determined by the best interest of the children and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, rather than what a parent wants. The court will follow a detailed list of factors that it will use to determine the time each parent is entitled with their children. It will work to create a parenting plan that will detail things like: the time each parent will have with the children and the responsibilities they will have. Remember that in the end the court wants what is best for the children.  

Even though many of the factors are simple to comply with you must understand that the safety of the children is the most important and that a strategy to protect them must be made. Your attorney can always help you with the compilation of important information. If you would like to read the list of factors you can go to Florida Statutes 61.13. 

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Relocation

Sometimes after divorce or separation, one of the parties wants to move more than a 50-mile radius. When the relocation is agreed by both parents a motion must be filed with the court, but if there is no agreement a petition to relocate must be filed and served to the non-relocating parent. The petition will take more time because one of the parents doesn’t agree and the court will have to evaluate the case. The parent wanting to relocate must provide a justified reason for relocation.

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Child Support and child support modification

Modification to child support can be requested by a Supplemental Petition when a substantial change has happened in your circumstances. If you have a decrease in income or have lost your job, the Petition must be filed as soon as possible as the filing date will determine the date of change of income. The court order will be retroactive to that date.

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Adoption  

Adoptions can bring happiness to a family; it can give joy and it can unite families. Adoptions have a process that can be easier when every party has agreed to it but can be very stressful when not agreed upon or when some paperwork is not complete. Your attorney can help you being the third party that communicates with agencies or other parties to facilitate the adoption.  

Adoption can be done by Independent Adoption or through an agency. It can be local or international. An Independent Adoption occurs when the birth parent and the adoptive parents have an agreement. They don’t have to have direct contact but sometimes they agree to keep an open adoption with some contact. Agency Adoptions are those done by a public or private agency. Normally these agencies place the child with the adoptive parents. International Adoptions occurs when the child is a foreigner. When adopting a foreigner some additional requirements are needed, such as applying for a VISA for the child, complying with both the foreign country and the U.S. laws and other considerations. 

Adoption can happen when you are a stepparent, when you are a same-sex marriage, the child is a relative or you have cared for a person for so long and now that he is an adult you feel like there is no reason not to adopt him. The adult adoptions are mainly done because the adult is a stepparent and for estate or inheritance purposes. The court has some measures put in place to protect the elderly from losing everything. To adopt an adult, you as an adopter must be over 18 years old, both must consent to the adoption and if the adoptee is married, the spouse should consent, but the court will evaluate reasonable factors to excuse the spouse consent.  

Stepparent Adoption is a process that can be done with the consent of parent who is not present in the minor’s life, but even if the other parent doesn’t allow it there are some factors that could allow the adoption. When there is no consent from the parent the adoption can be complicated and hard. The burden of proof is very high because if granted this will mean that the parental rights of that parent will be terminated and he will have no rights, he will not be able to make decisions in regards to his future or even visitation rights.  Same Sex Adoption is now allowed in Florida. Your adoption will be just like one of a Stepparent.

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Married and Unmarried Partners Rights

Although Florida’s Statute 741.212 has not been amended and it still states that marriage between same sex is not acknowledge, this statute is unconstitutional. When the case Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) was brought to the Supreme Court of the United States, the court ruled that the right to marry is a fundamental right and therefore was guaranteed to same sex marriage through the Constitution of the U.S. (Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment).  

When talking about Unmarried Partners and their rights, Schiller v. Miller (1993) confirmed that although marriage at the time was not recognize to same sex couples in Florida, that doesn’t preclude using the term “marital home” to comply with temporary orders from the court granting other marital home securities such as support orders or injunctions.  

Agreements by unmarried couples also apply.

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Agreements by unmarried couples (Written and Oral)

Agreements by unmarried couples are recognized. Written agreements are the type made by privately committing through a contract which establishes how they will spend their money, their rights and responsibilities towards each other. The agreement has to have a valid consideration that cannot be regarding sexual relations. In other words, one has to give something other than sexual relations to receive anything back.  

Oral agreements are difficult to prove. Florida doesn’t recognize common law marriages or quasi-spouses, therefore, if there is no written agreement the courts will have to decide what rights you have and the results can be unfair and unjust. Constructive Trust or equity agreements can be created orally when a promise is made and enough proof is presented that a valid consideration was present. In other words, evidence is seen if you fixed your partners house, helped on his business and/or your money was going towards improving the business or the household.

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Marital Agreements

Written agreements can create emotional distress. The reason is because a marital agreement establishes the results of dissolution of marriage. The agreements will cover everything from parental responsibility, equitable distribution, alimony, child support and everything else that can be covered within the law. We understand emotions fluctuate in the process but remember the end goal can be to give a peace of mind and have a secured future.

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Parenting Plan Implementation (Fathers and Mothers rights)

Florida has granted not only mothers the right to have their children but also fathers. To determine when the child will be with father and mother it will require a written parenting plan. This plan must include how the parents plan to share responsibilities, who will be responsible for school related matters and healthcare, a schedule, communication methods, address for school and extracurriculars. Although these are very important there are more areas to be covered. The best way to implement the plan is to talk, when things are difficult and you can’t agree or you need help thinking of possible scenarios that need to be covered, or you want someone to explain and help find parameters that both parents agree, an attorney can help you. Remember, the court has in mind the best interest of the child.  If you cannot agree on a Parenting Plan, the court will intervene and it might decide on parameters that will make you both unhappy.

Contact us today, for a free consultation at (813) 908-1313.

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