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Palm Harbor, Florida Family Law Blog

Divorce can especially affect older couples

Getting divorced at any age can be tricky from a financial standpoint. However, the outcome of a divorce that occurs later in life in Florida can have a drastic impact on whether a divorcee is able to retire or live out his or her golden years as expected. A couple of tips may help with dealing with the finances during this type of family law proceeding, particularly when it comes to splitting assets.

For many older couples, squabbling over the family home is not as much of an issue. After all, many are prepared to downsize at this stage of life anyway, now that the children are out of the home. An older couple may simply sell their house and divide the proceeds.

Mediation may be your best option for divorce

There are many different reasons for divorce, but not all of them are rancorous. Sometimes, given certain circumstances, a parting of the ways is simply the best answer for a couple, and if both parties are on the same page with this decision, the next step is to figure out how best to go about the divorce. Mediation is a good place to start.

One of the advantages of this kind of approach is that both marriage partners are able to sit down with the same attorney who serves as the mediator. 

One state optimizes mobile child support payments

For the citizens of one state, it just got a bit easier to make one more type of payment. That's because child support payments in that state can now be made via mobile phone. A parent who may have forgotten to make a payment on time can now simply send it via the mobile app. While this technology has not yet reached Florida, one could hope that it could eventually be available in every state.

The new program came about when the state's Department of Health and Welfare recently teamed up with the administrator of the state government's web portal. The goal is to make it much easier to make child support payments on time. International online accessibility requirements have reportedly been met, and the app is said to be compatible with a screen reader. 

Paternity testing doesn't have to be invasive

The question of whether a man is a child's father can become a hotly contested issue rather quickly. In courts all over Florida and the United States, paternity tests have become a common practice. These tests use DNA to determine if two people are father and son. There are two different kinds of paternity tests, prenatal and postnatal.

A postnatal paternity test is, of course, performed after the baby has been born. Either a buccal swab or blood sample can be taken from the potential father to compare with that from the baby. The sample from the child can come from the blood or buccal specimen, or the umbilical cord.

Adoption task force could overhaul entire system

Families who have adopted children can likely attest to how long and expensive the process can be. One state's lawmakers are going to be very busy this summer trying to create legislation that will overhaul the entire adoption and foster care system. A committee dedicated to this cause was appointed on April 19th and will look into ways to shorten the process of adoption and lower the costs. Although this is not yet taken place in Florida, this could set a precedence for making adoptions easier throughout the U.S.

One of the chairmen on the committee sees this as a personal issue for himself. He adopted a Korean daughter in 2012 and was stunned that the process took a total of three years to complete. Redundant paperwork was a large part of the problem in his case since most of the legal papers that he signed were valid for just 12 to 18 months, but the adoption took much longer. That meant that he had to sign the same paperwork repeatedly, and each time the paperwork was filed, he had to pay the fees all over again.

Florida bill would help needy families from losing child custody

A new law has been proposed which will give needy families in the state access to temporary foster care. For many single parents in Florida, a parent's serious illness, struggle with addiction or even a visit to jail can mean the loss of their child to foster care. If a parent has no one to care for their child while they are sick or away, child custody can be lost to them forever. Those behind The Temporary Care of a Child Act are hoping to change all that.

According to the report, the bill is designed to provide host families, known as "respite families," to care for a child in such a situation for a limited period of 90 days. Non-profit agencies, such as churches, would match the needy family with a host family. Once the parent is home from the hospital, or jail, or finished with a needed rehabilitation program, the child would be returned to them with no court involvement needed.

Can both parents attend a child's IEP meeting after divorce?

If you are in the process of divorcing and have a child with a disability, one thing you may be wondering is whether both parents can attend a child’s IEP meeting after the divorce is final. As you probably know, these meetings can shape your child’s education and future, and they are often of critical importance.

Whether both parents are allowed to attend depends largely on the divorce agreement, so whatever you predict your custody circumstances will be like, it is a good idea to make specific provisions for the needs of your special education child.

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