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30 YEARS of family law experience

board certified as a marital
& family law specialist

Broward County Family Law Blog

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.

Understanding same-sex divorce

Prior to the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, many gay couples faced significant challenges obtaining a divorce. Same-sex couples were generally able to obtain divorces in states where they were married, however, may not be able to obtain a divorce in a state they were living in that did not recognize gay marriage as legal. Additionally, if they were married in another state and were unable to obtain a divorce in the state they were married in, but did not live in, due to residency requirements, they may have been left with few options to divorce.

The complications between different state laws oftentimes created struggles having support orders enforced, leading to additional challenges for same-sex married couples seeking a divorce or enforcement of a divorce order and settlement agreement. Now that same-sex marriage is legal, same-sex couples enjoy the same legal rights and protections as opposite-sex couples and are able to obtain marriages and divorces.

Basketball player Scottie Pippen files for divorce in Florida

Dissolution can be an overwhelming process, but family law resources provide tools to help couples and families through the process. Former NBA basketball player Scottie Pippen recently filed for divorce in Florida from his wife of 19 years, Larsa Pippen. Larsa has been on the Real Housewives of Miami television show. The couple shares 4 children and is reportedly making their welfare a priority during the divorce. In a statement from Larsa's representative, Larsa noted that the best interests of the children are their priority and that she hopes they work respectfully together towards that end. The couple shares a daughter and three sons.

The family law process helps parents develop parenting plans

Child custody and visitation are big issues in many divorces. Florida now refers to visitation as time-sharing, which represents the importance the family law system places on the relationships children have with their parents, including when their parents are not married or are divorced. There can be many aspects to child custody concerns such as paternity, visitation, modifications and relocation.

What factors impact grandparents' rights?

The issue of custody, visitation and the rights of grandparents may be an important concern for many families, grandparents and parents. The laws concerning grandparents' rights vary by state so it is important to be familiar with the laws in your state if grandparents' rights are a concern of yours. Many families, grandparents and parents may wonder what grandparents' rights are and under what circumstances grandparents may have custody or visitation rights. Conditions differ based on custody or visitation requests.

How divorce mediation may help during divorce

The divorce process can be challenging, and it can be especially so if there are children from the marriage. Each couple, family and divorce is unique. Divorcing couples share families, friends and finances, so the process of dividing property and developing child support and child custody agreements can seem overwhelming. It is important to focus on the fact that the family law legal process provides resources for families to help them navigate the divorce process based on what is best for them, and that a variety of different types of professionals are also available to help.

Former Miami basketball player's child support is modified

Child support modifications are an important part of the family law process for many parents and families. A former Miami Heat basketball player was recently granted lower child support payments after claiming he is nearly broke. The player earned an estimate $35 million during his NBA career. The former player played for 15 years, including for the Lakers, in addition to the Heat. A woman filed a paternity suit against the player in a South Florida court in 2010. The woman worked for Broward County and was able to obtain $1,500 a month in child support from the basketball player, who was married at the time.