Family Law applies to any court procedures that involve the family unit. They include: marriage, divorce, custody, child support, adoption, and more. While some of these can be handled without legal counsel, divorce, custody, and others require the presence of a qualified private attorney to ensure your best interests are served.
Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state. Citing irreconcilable differences is acceptable as a reason for divorce. Six continuous months of residency in Florida prior to filing for divorce is necessary. The court will address division of property, division of debt, child custody, child support payment, alimony, other issues concerning children, and attorney fees.
Since 2008, Florida courts divide care of minor children according to a parenting plan rather than considering one parent a “primary residential care” parent. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will consider and assign one of the following plans: Supervised/Safety-Focused, Local, or Non-Local. Supervised/Safety-Focused assigns one parent sole responsibility and supervised visits by the other parent. Local means parents share responsibility and create a visitation schedule. Non-Local is used when parents are more than 50 miles apart. The best interests of the child are always the main concern of the court. Modification of the parenting plan requires proof of the necessity for change before the court.
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Parents of minor children are required by Florida law to provide financial support, calculated to include day care, health insurance, and other child expenses. Support guidelines are set by the state of Florida and the court considers each parent’s income in the determination of child support.
The following factors are considered in awarding alimony: standards of living during the marriage, duration of the marriage, the age, physical and emotional condition of each party, financial resources of each party, time necessary for a party to become self-sufficient, each party’s contribution to the marriage, all sources of income available to either party.
Florida legitimacy law states that a child born during a marriage is considered to be the natural child of the father and his name will be on the birth certificate unless someone else is determined to be the father. The paternity of a child born out of wedlock can be used to determine visitation rights of the father and child support. DNA tests are used to establish paternity.