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Broward County Family Law Blog

Florida judge grants full custody of children to rocker's wife

To help mitigate some of the understandable emotions associated with the child custody process, it is useful to understand how child custody decisions are made. A Florida judge recently granted full custody of the couple's three children to the estranged wife of rocker Scott Stapp from the band Creed. The mother of the three children, ages 16, 7 and 4, was granted sole physical and legal custody of the children; visitation rights were not mentioned. The family home was also declared the sole residence of the mother and three children by the Florida judge. Stapp has been accused of strange and erratic behavior as well as drug addiction. Stapp was recently committed and his oldest child recently took to social media to urge his father to get help.

Child custody situations can be difficult and complex. To help focus the sometimes emotional process, courts seek to determine what is in the best interests of the children when arriving at child custody determinations. To make this important determination, the court may consider a variety of factors. The court will look at the physical, mental and emotional health of the parents and their ability to parent. Keeping in mind the health, safety and well being of the children, the court will consider a number of other important factors.

What is divorce mediation and is it right for me?

Divorce typically involves a predictable set of issues but if you are unfamiliar with the process, it can be overwhelming during an already emotional and difficult time. You may have heard others use the term mediation in the context of divorce and wondered about the process of divorce mediation. During the divorce process, divorcing spouses are permitted to resolve many important considerations as a couple. Sometimes during the process, however, disputes arise.

As many people know, divorce disputes can be emotionally and financially draining and consume an extensive amount of time as well. If you are in the entering the divorce process, you may wonder if divorce mediation is a good idea for you. The answer may depend on a variety of factors. In general, the mediation process can help ensure the couple remains focused on resolving outstanding divorce-related issues.

Prenuptial agreements have important uses

Prenuptial agreements can be a handy tool for couples entering a marriage to determine how to divide property in the event the couple ever divorces. Though it is not always the way prenuptial agreements are viewed, it is important to keep in mind that all couples, either through a prenuptial agreement or allowing the legal system to determine for them, make some kind of decision concerning how property will be divided in the event of divorce.

In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, state law will determine how property is divided in the event of a divorce. In Florida, equitable division rules are followed when property is divided at the end of a marriage absent a valid prenuptial agreement. Though it may not be as romantic as some of the other marriage planning a couple does, a prenuptial agreement can have a variety of important uses.

Understanding restraining orders in Florida

Prominent in the media recently has been the serious issue of domestic violence. As part of the national discussion centered around family violence, it is important that if you are a victim of domestic violence, you understand options and resources through the family law legal process that may be available to help.

Domestic violence has health, safety and family law implications. Family violence and accusations of family violence can impact multiple members of a family. Individuals who are victims of domestic violence may need to seek a restraining order to protect them from harm and threats of harm they have received. Alternately, individuals accused of domestic violence may need to understand resources available to allow them to see family and loved ones they are prevented from seeing because of a restraining order again.

How is child support calculated in Florida?

In general, child support orders define obligations that parents have with regard to supporting their children. While many parents may be familiar with child support, they may also wonder how child support is calculated. In Florida, child support amounts are calculated based on child support guidelines. These guidelines seek to determine the amount of support a child needs and the amount of support a parent is required to pay.

While some parents may experience frustration with the child support system, the intention is to ensure that the children are properly cared for and that all required child support amounts are fair. Child support guidelines are not only utilized to determine the amount of support required by the initial child support order, but are also utilized to determine any changes that are necessary to the child support order based on a request by one of the parents for a child support modification. By utilizing child support guidelines, every effort is made to ensure fairness.

Child custody options can help children and families

The options available through the child custody process can help ensure child custody disputes are sorted out in a way that fulfills the best interests of the children and the family. Though everyone's circumstances are unique, some spouses may remain in a marriage for the benefit of the children. In some circumstances, however, this situation does not benefit the children. Children are often more aware of the family dynamics than their parents realize. It is important that spouses continue to communicate about the status of their relationship, even when things are going badly.

When parents have decided to end a marriage, there may be many concerns about child custody issues. Parents may fear that they will be unable to spend as much time with their children as they would like following the end of the marriage. It is important for divorcing spouses to keep in mind that, while child custody determinations are always made in the best interests of the children, by demonstrating a willingness to work together, parents can secure child custody arrangements that all parties can reasonably live with.

Guidelines for going through the Florida divorce process

Florida couples going through the divorce process can follow some general guidelines to produce amicable outcomes that all parties can live with. While no two relationships, marriages or divorces are exactly the same, divorces share in common that they do not necessarily have to be contentious. To better help the divorce process proceed smoothly, couples can avoid certain pitfalls.

Division of property is a significant aspect of any divorce. Child support and spousal support may also be significant considerations. This places finances in a critical position in the divorce process. Failing to produce accurate financial records can serve as a hindrance to a smooth and amicable process that likely includes property division and may also include other financial considerations. Tax considerations and other longer-term consequences can be implicated in any property division agreement so it is important to also keep tax considerations in mind.

What child visitation rights do grandparents have in Florida?

As society changes, grandparents may find themselves in unanticipated circumstances with their grandchildren. This may cause grandparents in Florida to wonder what their legal rights are in regards to visitation. Grandparents can petition the court for visitation rights of grandchildren and, in certain circumstances, courts will award reasonable visitation to grandparents when it is in the best interest of the child to do so.

Parents should work toward child custody agreements, if possible

During child custody determinations, parents can sometimes spend a significant amount of time battling over what is in the best interests of the children. Different considerations and strategies may factor into a child custody dispute. Many times, determining what considerations parents can agree on is a good strategy to achieve positive outcomes that may build on one another during the process of negotiating a parenting agreement.

When parents have an acrimonious relationship, and are having difficulty agreeing on anything, they may want to consider bringing on a party that can provide a neutral evaluation as to what would be best for the children. Other qualified professionals' help, including a mediator, may be available to assist parents to reach agreements that are in the best interests of the children.

What can be included in a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements sometimes have negative connotations. The reality is, however, that prenuptial agreements merely allow couples to decide for themselves, in advance, how divorce-related issues should be determined if the couple ends up divorcing. Because there are a variety of benefits to having a prenuptial agreement, individuals planning on marrying may wonder what can be included in a prenuptial agreement. A variety of important topics and considerations may be covered by a prenuptial agreement.

Just as it is important to plan in advance for the wedding and make necessary arrangements before the big day, it is also important to address a prenuptial agreement well in advance of the marriage. To begin with, it is important to list all assets and debts. The couple will need to determine how to characterize their property, so as to determine if it will remain separate or be treated as marital property in the event of divorce. In addition, a determination of reimbursements, or status as gifts, for separate property contributions also should be considered.