No one in Florida looks forward to a family law court proceeding, but these can be some of the most important events in a person's life. From divorce and child support to paternity actions and child custody disputes, the decisions that are made in these proceedings can have a profound impact on a Florida resident's life.
No one likes to air their dirty laundry in public, but complicated family law issues usually result in high-stakes court hearings, hurt feelings and relationships that are changed forever, sometimes with all of this playing out in public. From divorce issues, such as property division, child support and child custody, to paternity issues and domestic violence, family law issues are, perhaps above any other area of law, an area in which the people involved have life-changing decisions to make. Finding the right approach to these complicated issues can seem daunting to any Florida resident.
For some people, child support is a financial burden that they are always looking for ways to get out from under. There are many honest reasons for why Florida residents get behind on child support payments: maybe they unexpectedly lost their job; maybe the initial order of child support was higher than they expected; or maybe other financial circumstances have changed for the worse. But, it is hard for a person to get nearly $550,000 behind on child support unless that person is willingly disobeying a court order.
Raising a child to the age of majority is expensive. Initially, parents are inundated with costs for new clothes and furniture, toys, diapers and childcare, which can eat into a family's financial resources quite hardily. Then, as the child ages, other expenses can accumulate, including those related to school, not to mention the day-to-day expenses that must be dealt with until the child turns 18. Meeting these financial needs can be challenging for a couple, but it can become even more difficult or even impossible when a divorce or breakup leaves a custodial parent on the financial hook.
There are many important areas of family law. Depending on one's specific set of circumstances, certain family law issues may prove to be more pertinent. Those who are concerned about their post-divorce financial health, for example, may find that property division is of the utmost importance to them. On the other hand, in many cases where children are involved, child custody and visitation is usually thrust to the forefront. Those who want to protect the time and relationship they have with their child need to ensure that they know the law and how to use it to their advantage.
When it comes to child-related legal matters, the law often favors mothers. Unmarried mothers are assumed to have custody, and child support is often ordered to be paid to these custodial mothers. Fathers, on the other hand, typically have to be active in their pursuit to secure their legal rights. The first step in doing so is establishing paternity.
Divorce is rarely easy. The emotional toll alone can be overwhelming, and so, too, can the financial ramifications. Yet, those who have children may see the harshest fall out from marriage dissolution. Many times, Floridians struggle to explain to their children why their parents are separating. Even though settling an initial child custody and visitation dispute can be fraught with challenges, the matter can be exacerbated by the fact that the issue can pop its head back up at almost any time post-divorce.
A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed paternity and how it can relate to child custody and visitation. Child custody and visitation is based on a child's best interests. Keeping this standard in mind when addressing custody and parenting time issues is critical, as this is what a judge will be considering when making a decision. Therefore, parents who are seeking to modify custody or change visitation need to ensure that they couch their argument in terms of how the proposed change furthers the child's best interests. Any arguments that are focused on retribution or negative animosity toward the other parent will only be frowned upon by the court and may do the parent purporting the change a disservice.