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Palm Harbor, Florida Family Law Blog

A plan can ease child custody concerns

The experts seem to agree that parents who divorce will need to plan for the future care of the children. Not only do Florida co-parents need to decide on child custody, but they also will likely need to consider visitation and other details. For some, a good plan eases the transition because it stays ahead of anticipated changes and problems. 

When first tackling the separation and divorce, an individual will want to consider the best interests of the children and ultimately what works best for both parents' schedules. There are options for custody; it can be either sole, joint or shared custody. Knowing one's preferences and needs at the outset will help when forming the agreement that will become the guide that the family lives by. 

Is your spouse sharing incriminating evidence online?

In this era of instant communication, it seems that people cannot resist putting their latest personal news on social media sites together with the relevant pictures.

There are times, however, when you should keep the latest news to yourself, however riveting it may be. Impending divorce is one such example.

Florida governor proposes adoption funding

Children thrive when in a supportive family environment. When kids are able to be in a permanent, stable home, they typically show increased likelihood to succeed and fewer negative behavioral effects than children from fractured situations involving institutional living. Florida Governor Rick Scott believes that increasing adoption funding in the state will help improve the lives of everyday people. 

By declaring November as "Florida Adoption Month," Scott has indicated the need to recognize the important role adoption can play for healthy kids. His proposal for additional financial support for families aims to make the process easier for families ready to take in a child. When families are not burdened with excessive financial costs of adding a foster child to the family, more families will adopt, and more children are placed into loving, supportive homes. 

Two things for parents to avoid during a divorce

The separation process can be stressful for everyone involved, including the children. The simplest, most well-processed divorce can be very strenuous. Florida parents can assist in making this process easier for themselves and the children involved by avoiding two things. 

Parents should try to avoid using their children as pawns in their divorces. Parents use the pawn game as leverage over the spouse to gain more in the division of property or any other financial divisions. By choosing to avoid this, parents may be able to minimize the negative impact on children. Parents may also wish to prevent children from using them as pawns as well. Consider keeping the same rules as before starting to separate. 

MLB's most valuable player feuds over child support

Any baseball enthusiast knows Miguel Cabrera, the current first baseman for the Detroit Tigers. Cabrera made headlines recently, but not for his baseball skills. The 34-year-old has been in the Florida news recently as he battles over child support payments with a mistress.

Belkis Mariela Rodriguez, a 35-year-old self employed florist, is suing because she believes she should be paid more child support than the current $6,200 per month she receives from Cabrera for her two children. The showdown broke out back in August after Cabrera allegedly cut payments. Rodriguez believes that her children, born in 2013 and 2015, should have the same standards of living as the three other children Cabrera has with his wife of 15 years, Rosangel.

The Florida adoption process

When Florida parents make the decision to adopt a child, they must take the steps to legally gain custody. This adoption process can be very difficult, especially for those who are not familiar with the legal system. Where does one even begin?

If a specific child has not already been chosen, the first step to take is to locate a child available for adoption. This may done a couple of ways: through an agency or with a surrogate. An adoption agency or a government agency can be used to match the perspective parents with a child. A child could even be placed with the parents as a foster until parents decide to adopt.  If a surrogate is chosen as the method for locating a child, a surrogate will be hired to carry the baby for the potential adoptive parents.  

Custody modification and the Child Support Calculator

There could be several reasons for wanting to modify the child support agreement that has been in place since the finalization of your divorce. The main requirement is that the request for changing the terms of the agreement must stem from an involuntary cause.

To simplify agreement modification, the state of Florida provides a Child Support Calculator. This allows parents to estimate the new payment obligation, should the court approve the petition for change.

Former NFL player arrested for failing to pay child support

Jonas Gray is no stranger to the limelight. The former Patriot player is known for his role in the 2014 game vs the Colts. The running back scored four touchdown points and collected 201 rushing yards leading to the win over Indianapolis. This game is known for being one of the best games for a running back in all of NFL history. Despite these accomplishments, Gray is in the Florida news recently for a very different reason: back child support.

The 27-year-old was taken into custody at a Hillsborough county jail after turning himself in. Kourtney Pina gave birth to Gray's child in 2015. In May of 2016, the 33-year-old mother filed a paternity notice. The case has been progressing over the past 18 months, leading up to the arrest of her child's father.

What is considered in a Florida child custody case?

Florida makes a great setting for romances. Unfortunately, some of these relationships end in a battle when those involved are unable to settle their disagreements. When children are in the middle of these feuds, parents must try to move past their differences to determine who will take care of the kids. When parents can't come to an agreement, they often consider going to court to ask a judge to decide for them how child custody will be divided between the two parents. 

Joint custody gives both parents custodial rights, meaning that there is no noncustodial parent. Sometimes, arrangements will be made for the parents to share parenting time as equally as possible. It is also possible for the court, in awarding joint custody, to designate one parent as having primary physical custody, meaning that the child or children will live primarily with that parent and the other parent will be given liberal visitation. In other cases, the court may award sole custody to one parent, designating visitation rights for the other parent. Finally, in certain cases, the court may limit a parent to supervised visitation or deny all visitation, usually in circumstances involving drug addiction, abuse or neglect. 

Steps for obtaining Florida child support

Supporting a child in today's economy is not an easy task, especially when for a single parent. Many Florida parents in these circumstances decide to file for child support. But where does one even begin? Here is a list of things to help when requesting child support payments. 

Gather information about your child's other parent. Courts will need his or her current address, employer and any other contact info available. Also, if there is any question of paternity, this must be formally established before a petition for child support will be granted. This can be done many ways, including DNA testing in some cases. After all this is obtained, the parent seeking payment may then ask the courts for a child support order, usually by filing a petition. 

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