Boca Raton Family Law Lawyer
My practice is currently dedicated to all types of cases that would be considered to be Family Law cases. This of course would include divorce cases, or also known in Florida as Dissolution of Marriage proceedings.
Often times I am asked what can be done about obtaining a divorce when the whereabouts of their spouse is unknown. The unknown whereabouts of a spouse will not prohibit you from obtaining a divorce and moving on with your life. The court can grant you a divorce by publication, when you meet certain prescribed statutory requirements. The granting of a divorce by publication will not include the division of any property or financial awards, but only the granting of the divorce decree, restoring you to the status of a single person. All other matters related to the marriage will be reserved for later determination by the court.
Florida law no longer recognizes the concept of custody of minor children. Instead, the terms that are now used in divorce cases or paternity cases that involve minor children are Parental Responsibility. Parental Responsibility may either be shared or sole parental responsibility, depending on what the court would consider to be in the best interests of minor children. Newly enacted legislation provides that there is a presumption of equal timesharing. If one parents wants to claim that equal timesharing is not in the best interest of the children they would have the burden of proof to show otherwise.
Visitation is also a term which is no longer used in Florida family law proceedings. The concept of visitation is now referred to as Time Sharing with your children. This is a recognition by the Florida Legislature as well as the Courts that neither parent is more important than the other in the lives of their children.
Newly enacted legislation provides that there is a presumption of equal time sharing. If one parent wants to claim that equal time sharing is not in the best interest of the children they would have the burden of proof to show otherwise.
All of the issues regarding your minor children are encompassed within a document known as a Parenting Plan. The Parenting Plan will provide a detailed schedule for Time Sharing, including weekdays as well as holidays, and the total number of overnights that each parent will spend with their child or children. The Parenting Plan will specify whether or not parental responsibility is shared by the parents, or if sole parental responsibility is agreed to or awarded to one parent. The monthly child support to be paid by one parent to the other will also be included.
I always encourage my clients to come to some agreement, at least as to some of the issues in a parenting plan, if not all of them. If the parents are unable to agree, the court will make those decisions for them. It is much better for the parents, on their own, to decide what is in the best interests of their minor children.
There is a frequent misconception about alimony in Florida. It still exits. There are various types of alimony awards, based primarily on the length of the marriage. The initial inquiry when discussing alimony are the needs of the requesting spouse, versus the financial ability of the other spouse to meets those needs. Putting it another way, if the requesting spouse does not have a need for an alimony award, then alimony can’t be awarded.
Both child support amounts and alimony, whether agreed to or awarded by the court, are subject to modification. A material, substantial, and unanticipated change in circumstances is required in order to proceed with a modification proceeding. The relief requested can either be for a reduction or an increase, depending on the facts of the case.
Unlike alimony and child support, property divisions known in divorce cases as Equitable Distribution, whether agreed to or awarded by the court, are final and cannot be modified.
Paternity cases face many of the same issues which are found in divorce cases regarding minor children. A Parenting Plan will be required as well. Paternity can only be established through a judicial proceeding, and the case should be filed as soon as practicable after the birth of the child.
If you would like to discuss with me any of the specific issues you might be facing in your family situation, please feel free to call me at (954) 229-1660 or on my cellphone at (954) 295-9222. You also can email me at email@example.com.
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