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30 YEARS of family law experience

board certified as a marital
& family law specialist

Broward County Family Law Blog

Knowing what rights grandparents may have

Grandparents' rights can be a sensitive issue for many families. It can also be an extremely important issue for many grandparents. It is helpful to understand what rights to visitation and custody of their grandchildren, if any, grandparents may have and that those considerations are influenced by state laws. In addition, because what is in the best interests of the child is always considered, courts may have some discretion concerning grandparents' rights and what is best for the children.

What should I know about adoption?

This blog recently discussed the benefits of adoption and if you are considering adoption to grow or start your family, you may have questions concerning the basics of adoption such as who may adopt and who may be adopted. When making the decision to adopt, there are different options available to consider. Adoptions can be done through adoption agencies or can be done independently through an independent adoption.

The benefits of adoption

With a variety of different types of families today, there are a number of different adults that may be important in a child's life including step parents or family members such as aunts and uncles or others. The bond that develops may even be similar to that of a child and its birth parent. The family law adoption process provides a resource for families to give legal recognition to these important relationships.

How long is my divorce likely to take?

The divorce process can seem complicated and uncertain after a couple has made the difficult decision to divorce. The length of a divorce can depend on a number of different factors, including the ability of the couple to work together to resolve divorce-related issues. The more the divorcing couple understands the divorce process, the more likely the process is to resolve more quickly, more amicably and at less cost to the couple. Knowing the different phases of the process can be helpful.

Tips for holiday co-parenting success

Divorce can be challenging for the entire family and the holidays following a divorce can be particularly challenging, overwhelming and emotional. Though there are many changes to adjust to following divorce, and holidays may be among them, it is still possible to enjoy the holidays and create meaningful new traditions for the children when old traditions cannot be celebrated.

Co-parenting following a divorce can be challenging but there are tips and resources in place through the family law system that can help address concerns parents may have. Putting the children first and remaining focused on what is in their best interests can help the holiday season and overall future following a divorce proceed more smoothly. During the holidays, it may not always be possible to adhere to all the same rituals following the divorce as before the divorce but new rituals can be created and the children can be involved in the process.

Child custody mediation may be beneficial for parents to consider

This blog recently discussed developing a child custody agreement. One way to develop a child custody agreement is through the mediation process. Because child custody decisions are based on what is in the best interests of the child, child custody mediation is an option that can help keep parents focused on that goal during what can be a long and challenging process associated with the divorce process or otherwise. When parents are able to work together on some child custody concerns but maybe not all, child custody mediation may be an option to consider.

The court can step in and help regarding child custody or other divorce-related issues that the couple is unable to resolve but couples, and parents, are encouraged to reach as many shared solutions as possible. Parents are in the best position to know what is best for their children and their family and the divorce mediation process can help guide those resolutions. Mediation is a non-binding process and the neutral mediator does not have authority to impose decisions which allows the parties to work together more readily.

The process for developing a child custody agreement

Developing a parenting plan that works for the family and is in the best interests of the child is an important and primary concern for most couples facing child custody concerns or divorce proceedings. Child custody agreements can be worked out in a variety of different ways, including through negotiation between the parents; alternative dispute resolution, such as the mediation process; or by going to court. In general, divorcing couples are always encouraged to resolve as many divorce-related concerns as possible without the need for the litigation of disputes so whenever that is possible it is desirable.

The divorce settlement includes a parenting or custody agreement that will govern child custody issues. Agreements reached by the parents are included in the final child custody agreement. Child custody agreements commonly include where the child will live; schedules for visitation; who will be involved in making significant decisions for the child such as their education, healthcare and religious upbringing; schedules for holidays, birthdays and vacations; how contact with extended family members and others will be handled; and how any disputes or modifications to the agreement will be addressed.

Child support modifications may be a help parents

Life naturally changes following a divorce which may occasion the need for a child support modification or other modification of a divorce-related order. Once child support has been established through a settlement agreement or court order, it may be necessary to seek a child support modification based on a change in circumstances. In general, it may be possible to modify a child support order based on a significant change in circumstances in the lives of either the parent or the child.

It is important that parents who are seeking to modify a child support order, or contesting a requested modification of a child support order, understand how the family law process can help them. A significant change in circumstances could include a change to a job or income, marital status or healthcare benefits. The court also always considers what is in the best interests of the child when making any determination that impacts a child such as a request to modify child support.

Paternity action involving football player brought in Florida

Paternity is an important issue for children and families. A Florida woman has brought a paternity suit against professional football player Reggie Bush. The woman clams that the NFL running back fathered her unborn child and a long-term affair between the two has been speculated. The woman plans to pursue child support payments for the child from the football player. It has also been reported that the football player has been paying for the woman's living expenses and that she will be having a baby shower in Florida where the running back used to play football.

There are a number of important reasons to determine paternity of a child and child support and child custody considerations are among them. The child will also have access to family and medical history and may be eligible to receive certain benefits or inheritances because paternity was established.

What are the consequences for failing to pay child support?

It is important to understand that the consequences for failure to pay child support are significant but parents may wonder what they are. Under Florida law, every child has the right to financial support from both of their parents until the age of 18. There are many important aspects of the child support process, including locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity, obtaining support orders and enforcing support orders. The Florida Department of Revenue works with the family law courts, law enforcement and additional agencies concerning child support enforcement.

There are a variety of enforcement tools available to ensure that child support payments are paid in a timely fashion. Tools that are available include income deduction, interception of tax returns and other payments, liens placed on property owned by the non-paying parent, a contempt of court order, which may result in fines or jail time may be issued and the issuance of an arrest warrant against the non-paying parent. In addition, suspension of a hunting or fishing license, driver's license or business or occupational license is also possible, as well as the denial of a passport. Negative credit reporting is also a possible consequence for failure to pay child support.