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The Law Office of Erin Morse - Family Law Attorneys In Orlando, FL

Even when both parties agree to the terms, a divorce can still mean a major upheaval in a couple’s life. That married relationship has come to an end and it is time for that couple to start rebuilding their lives. However, if there are children that are part of the family, then a co-parenting situation will be starting with the help of a family law attorney in Orlando. This is where the issue of determining custody comes into the equation. On many levels, it is easy to divide assets. Deciding which is the best living environment for a child can be the real difficult decision and not only for the parents but also for the courts.

Every custody case in a divorce presents a family court judge with different factors to consider. That judge will always make their consideration based on the best interests of the child. As a general rule, Florida law would like to see a child maintaining contact with both parents. That would mean that both parents will also share in all the decision-making responsibilities of raising that child. Just because one spouse has moved from the home and is paying alimony and child support doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be involved with issues pertaining to education, religious upbringing, discipline, and college.

Although the prevailing wisdom is that courts favor mothers in custody matters, the reality is that each judge comes into the divorce proceeding with an open mind. Again, it all goes back to what is in the best interests of the child. That is really the only question that matters both to the courts and to a family law attorney in Orlando. Here are some of the factors that might sway a judge in their decision for the best option for custody:

The Health and Safety Environment

Exposing a child to any kind of abuse will have a major impact on a court’s decision as to a custody ruling. That abuse doesn’t have to directly involve a child, but if there are in an environment where they see one parent abuse the other, then it will become a factor with the child custody decision.

Once a court order has been filed, there could be issues of ongoing neglect such as abandonment or physical abuse. A family law attorney in Orlando can trigger an instant revaluation of the child custody ruling leading to one parent forfeiting their rights. A parent who is struggling with any kind of substance abuse would also be creating an unhealthy living environment in the eyes of the court. If it has been demonstrated that the living environment is not safe, then a judge could vacate the original order and order supervised visits for the parent and child.

Emotional Needs

A judge wants to see that parents put their children first. This becomes the foundation for a child’s developmental needs. With regard to a child custody decision, the judge will consider how well the parent knows about their child’s life outside of the house such as with friends and teachers. Are they aware of the child’s current interests and whether they are involved in any extracurricular activities?

A family law attorney in Orlando will try to demonstrate how the child’s emotional needs are being met by providing a structured environment. Does the parent have consistent times for homework, meals, and bedtime? What are the boundaries surrounding discipline? If those routines have been firmly established in the household with one parent, then a judge will consider that as being a preferable living situation. That is not to say that those routines can’t be duplicated in a second household. However, the judge needs to see a clear willingness from both parents to maintain those standards.

The child custody arraignment itself could have an impact on a child’s emotional needs. This is especially true with younger children who might find themselves frequently shuttled between households in between visits.

Co-Parenting Skills

The Florida family court system and the family law attorney in Orlando want to foster positive relationships between divorced couples and their children. That starts with honoring the dictates of the court. That begins with following the alimony and child support requirements. However, a parent who is constantly late with picking up or dropping off their children for a visitation could put their custody status in jeopardy. The same can be said for being late with child support or alimony payments. Obviously, there were always be factors that can cause delays. This is when the issue of communication between the parents is important. As long as the parents are keeping each other informed, then the family can flourish with co-parenting.

Family court judges understand the strain that a divorce can put on a couple. However, they don’t want to see that stress spilling over onto the children. Judges don’t appreciate when one parent belittles the other in front of the child. Even worse, is using the visitation as a kind of emotional “weapon.” There should never be discussions with a child about whether a parent is delinquent with alimony or child support. That is a matter that should be handled by a family law attorney in Orlando.

Moral Fitness

Moral fitness can also be a deciding factor for a family court judge. They can consider a parent who has substance abuses issues or introduces the child to multiple causal relationship partners. General verbal abuse will also be frowned upon by the courts. If infidelity was part of the divorce, then a judge can weigh that against how it might have impacted the child. All of these issues will be presented to the court by the family law attorney in Orlando as part of the hearing.

The Custody Options

There are two levels of child custody: Legal and physical. Often, they are intertwined. Legal custody grants a parent the sole responsibility to make all the decisions regarding their child’s upbringing and general welfare. The physical custody pertains to where the child lives and which parent they are living with.

The ideal situation for the Florida court is to establish a joint child custody arrangement. Although an order of joint custody might be rendered, that doesn’t mean that the child will split evenly the time they spend with each parent. For instance, it might work better if the child stays in the mother’s home during the school week and goes with the father on the weekends. Holidays and vacation times will be divided accordingly.

Developing a Parenting Plan

Divorcing couples can work with their family law attorney in Orlando to help develop a parenting plan. They might be able to present this plan to the judge if it is not contested by the parents. This plan needs to spell out in specific terms just what each parent is responsible for with regard to their children. This is separate from any child support or alimony agreement.

The parenting plan will detail the time-sharing schedule, the ways the parents will communicate with each other and the child and what are the daily responsibilities when the child is in their care. There also needs to be details about who will be responsible for things like taking the child to the dentist or doctor for regular check-ups and who is going to handle the after-school activities. The more that can be agreed to before going to see the judge, the better off the end result will be.

Once the custody issues have been worked out between the courts and the family law attorney in Orlando, families can adjust to their new routines. It might be a bit “bumpy” at first, but soon things can get back to normal. It is important for the parents to watch out for their kids in this transitional time to make sure they aren’t isolating themselves. Yes, the family dynamics have changed, but that doesn’t mean they still aren’t all a family.

Relocating With A Child After A Divorce

Florida Statute 61.13001 governs relocating with a child after divorce in Florida. Relocation is moving the child’s principal residence more than 50 miles away for 60 days or more. A vacation, temporary travel, or a necessary trip to a health care facility is not relocation. Before relocating, the parent must consider the child’s entire extended family, parents, stepparents, grandparents, and guardians. A parent who is relocating needs a new child custody order with a new time-sharing plan. The relocation is beneficial to the child if it improves his standard of living, places her in a better school district, or is closer to his or her grandparents.

Mediation After Divorce In Florida

You must decide where and how your child will live and where he or she will go to school. You’ve learned that an amicable relationship between you two parents and a good relationship with each of you is important to your child. Understanding and agreeing with your co-parent is less stressful and less expensive than contesting the relocation.You won’t have to go to court or pay legal fees and court costs. Look at the whole picture. How long did it take you to build your practice? How long did it take you to get into the position you’re in now? Have you
acquired vacation property or opened a new store or office? Your money is better spent on time with your child, on his or her education, or on a future vacation. You two can’t possibly know the future, but you can understand child custody rights. Custody can be:

• Sole
• Joint
• Joint legal
• Joint physical
• Third-party

Child Custody After Divorce in Florida

If one parent has sole custody, the custodial parent makes all legal decisions for your child. The noncustodial parent pays financial support and has specified visitation days and hours with your child. Joint custody allows your child to live with each parent and enjoy all the opportunities each parent provides, but one parent may spend more hours with the child than the other. Joint legal custody allows both parents to make decisions for the children regarding their education, religion, medical care, and choice of friends. Joint physical custody gives both parents equal time with the child. Third-party custody is typically given to a family member. A grandparent can be granted child custody rights if a parent is unfit or died after divorce in Florida. A custodial grandparent needs financial support and medical benefits for the child.

Relocation by Consent

Relocation by consent after divorce in Florida requires the moving parent to obtain the signed consent of all the people entitled to access to the child. The new agreement must be ratified by the court, but a hearing is not necessary. The new agreement must include a new time-sharing schedule and clarify how the children will travel from parent to parent to satisfy the new agreement.

Relocation by Petition

If the relocating parent is unable to get an agreed relocation order, that parent creates and files a petition to relocate in Florida Circuit Court. Every parent, stepparent, grandparent, and guardian involved must be served with a copy of the petition. The petition, signed under oath, must state the physical address of the intended residence and its mailing address, telephone number, and the date of the relocation. If employment is the reason you’re relocating, your job offer is within the petition. The petition must end with a statement in capital letters telling those opposed how to object to the relocation petition.

Objection to Relocation

A parent has 20 days to respond when served with a petition to relocate after divorce in Florida. If you do not file a timely response, the court can order the relocation plan without a hearing. Our child custody rights lawyer in Florida is a trustworthy mediator who can skillfully find creative solutions to your relocation dilemma. Our attorney is also a fierce litigator always ready to go to court to object to the other parent’s relocation with your child. A hearing will be scheduled in 30 days after receipt of your petition to object with a trial in 90 days. The court can reject your objection or the relocation plan itself if either petition does not contain all the facts required by Florida law.

Your objection must be factual. Clearly show your involvement with your child, your contribution to your child’s support, and state how relocation is likely to effect your child. For example, your son is doing well in school, just joined a soccer team, and doesn’t want to leave his half-brother and his friends. The judge will consider your child’s age. If your child is 14 years old or older, the judge may let your child decide where he or she wants to live. Judges keep siblings together for emotional support.

Biological Fathers

In Trimble v. Gordon, 430 U.S. 762 (1977), the United States Supreme Court ruled that state courts can rule that a man other than your child’s biological father is your child’s dad. Competing presumptions in a highly contested custody case have been won either way. The Uniform Parentage Act gives equal rights to unmarried parents regardless of one parent’s divorce in Florida. DNA and blood tests determine whether a man is a child’s father with 100% accuracy. Our family lawyer in Florida may be able to help you gain a relationship with your child if his or her mother is relocating. A biological parent who never visited his or her child may have no child custody rights or a claim with merit. If you’re the noncustodial parent, you need to stay in your child’s life because you can lose your child custody rights after divorce in Florida.

Modification of Existing Custody Order

Substance abuse and domestic violence are grounds for a custody hearing after divorce in Florida. If you got arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol with your kids in the car, our family conflict lawyer in Florida can help with a domestic order of protection against the at-fault party for the children. Good people make mistakes they later regret. If you’re truly sorry, consider your business and your reputation. Your children need the financial support of both parents. Our family lawyer in Florida may be able to help you negotiate a positive outcome after your conviction.

Relocating Without Consent

If you move more than 50 miles away from home with your child without a new custody order and time sharing plan, our family law attorney can try to help you avoid contempt of court proceedings. You can be ordered to return the child or face sanctions during the modification of your parenting or time-sharing plan. Our child custody lawyer in Florida can help you if you have relocated with your child without consent of the court.

The court considers the child’s age and current needs. How will the relocation impact the child’s development? Will the relocation improve the child’s future? Are both parents current and participating in their obligations to their child after divorce in Florida?

Law Office of Erin Morse

Call our child custody rights attorney to discuss relocating with a child after divorce in our conveniently located Orlando, Florida, law office. Our family law attorney devotes her entire practice to family law: divorce, child custody, child support, military divorce, modifications, paternity, parental time-sharing and visitation. She’ll help you negotiate a brighter future. Our family law lawyer in Florida can also serve as a guardian ad Litem in a contested custody case.

General Family Law Issues

The term family law seems like a misnomer. In a perfect world, the two words would never be required to go together. However, many legal cases fall under the category of family law. These cases are naturally difficult and require an attorney with compassion and understanding for every unique situation.
Family naturally invokes the expectancy for privacy, and it may be tempting to try to work out the legalities of family problems alone. However, the results can be disastrous when emotions and anger take over the situation. An experienced family law attorney has the ability to fully understand your case and the laws surrounding it. This helps to successfully work out the best outcome for you and your family.
While thousands of individual cases fit into the category of family law, there are five broad sections that describe these situations.

Divorce

No matter who made the final decision to file for a divorce, the situation is always painful. A marriage that two people initially expected to last forever fell apart. Unfortunately, the resolution of a marriage is not as easy as simply parting ways.
The legal issues surrounding divorce are complicated and often add stress to an already volatile situation. A family law attorney can help you keep emotions in check to determine the best terms to live by when the divorce is final. The considerations to be made include:

  • Child support
  • Division of assets and debt
  • Alimony
  • Parenting and custody plan

Determining a marital settlement agreement before filing for divorce helps to ensure you make the best decisions for your family. Having a plan in place helps relieve anxiety and ensures you will face no surprises in court.

Child Custody

There is no such thing as a perfect custody arrangement. After all, no one wants to give up time with their child. However, child custody in Florida is determined by “the best interests of the child” and this often means a joint custody agreement. There are 4 main types of child custody in Florida including:

  • Physical custody – Physical custody refers to the home in which the child resides. Physical custody can be joint custody (when the child’s time is divided between both parents) or sole custody (when the child resides with one parent). Sole physical custody is often awarded when the parents live far apart.
  • Legal custody – Legal custody is the authority to make important decisions regarding the child. This includes healthcare, education, religion, and upbringing. Joint legal custody is usually awarded.
  • Sole custody – Sole custody may refer to legal or physical custody. This means one parent has full legal and/or physical custody. This usually occurs when one parent is unfit to care for the child.
  • Joint custody – Joint custody is an arrangement where parents work together to share legal and/or physical custody of the child. Joint legal custody may require meetings to make major decisions regarding the child’s future. Joint physical custody usually revolves on a schedule where each parent will spend time with the child.

It is vital to make these decisions in a professional setting. A united controlled plan will help children feel at ease with the situation.

Property Division

When couples separate, the property they owned together must be separated. The biggest part of this decision is often the home shared by the couple. There are several ways to consider working out the decision, including:

  • Selling the home – If neither spouse wants to keep the home, this decision makes division easy. The profits from the sale will be equally divided.
  • Buyout – If one spouse wants to stay in the home, they might buy the other spouse’s share of the residence.
  • Refinance – If a spouse decides on a plan to buy out the home, refinance can free up equity to pay for the full property.

All assets acquired during the marriage must be divided. Debts are divided as well. There are different ways the court works to divide these things fairly in Florida. If children are involved, the best interests of the children is a major factor in the division of assets. Sometimes, couples can agree on how to divide property. More often, a family law attorney or mediator is necessary.

Child Support

The agreement of child support is often a hotly contested issue in child custody cases. However, child support has nothing to do with either parent. In all states, child support is required because it is the right of the child. Child support is used to supply children with basic needs including food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education.
Child support is calculated in Florida based on the total earnings of both parents. However, the non-custodial parent is expected to make payments determined by a basic child support calculator. There are other issues surrounding child support which your family law attorney can help you to understand.

Spousal Support

After a divorce, both spouses should have the expectation to continue with the same quality of life they enjoyed while living together. It is not uncommon for one spouse to take care of most of the home duties while the other achieves a successful career. In the event of a divorce, the high wage earner is often expected to pay alimony (spousal support payments) to the spouse with lower earnings.
Alimony calculation has always been a fuzzy science in Florida. However, new changes to legislation may mean big changes for payments. Current statutes include a list of factors to be considered to receive payment. The technical process can be made easier with help from your family law attorney.
There are no easy answers surrounding the issues of family law. However, learning the laws surrounding your situation can help you make important decisions. A family law attorney can help calm tense negotiations and guide you to make decisions for an easier future. If you are facing legal issues and are located in Orlando or the surrounding areas, contact us today for a free consultation. The Law Office of Erin Morse is ready to take care of your unique case with the care you give to your own family.

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Is A 50/50 Time Sharing Good For A Child?

Children are the ones who should be considered first in a divorce or paternity case. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to determining what is in the best interest of a child. Every family and situation is different. While a 50/50 time sharing solution may be perfect for some families, it may not be ideal for others. Even though most people agree that all children need to spend quality time with both parents, joint custody may not always be best for a child. Parents going through a divorce or possibly a paternity action should focus on their own relationship and the effect it can have on the child. While some children flourish with a 50/50 time-sharing arrangement, there are several circumstances where this is not the case.

Parents Living a Long Distance from Each Other
It would not be fair to a child to have to travel back and forth during the school year to be able to attend a chosen school. It would require the child having to travel much earlier in the morning and would limit participation in after-school extracurricular activities. A child needs a consistent schedule to be able to maintain academic performance. The travel time from one home to the other makes it difficult to get adequate rest and keep up with homework.

Children with Special Needs
A child with autism, ADHD, developmental delays, or a physical or medical condition is easily frustrated by change. It is plausible that one parent works better with the child than the other. Constantly changing the environment is probably not in the best interest of this child. Joint custody is probably not in the best interest of a child with special needs.

Legal and Physical Child Custody
In an Orlando divorce case, the parents can choose a parenting plan outside the courtroom if they can agree. A parent with legal child custody is responsible for making decisions regarding medical care, discipline, religion, and education. Physical custody refers to the location where the child will reside once the child custody decision is made. Child support decisions are usually based on both parents’ ability to maintain a child’s current lifestyle.

Research Results are Inconclusive
Child custody issues have been debated for several years. Much of the psychological research that has been conducted supports that equal time-sharing visitation may be best for some children, but not for all. This arrangement only works when each family devises a schedule that best suits their own current situation. The dynamics of all families are different and requires parents to agree on a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children. Joint custody and shared custody allow children to have substantial contact with both parents. Child support is not a big issue with parents who work together.

A Family Law Assessment Can Help Determine the Best Custody Arrangement
An experienced family law attorney can offer legal advice for families attempting to negotiate child custody issues in an Orlando divorce. Erin E. Morse and her competent staff handle all issues that may arise with a couple going through an Orlando divorce. She can explain the benefits of having two parents who are involved in their children’s lives on a daily basis. Shared custody or joint custody allows parents to e share the responsibility for raising the children equally. As a family law attorney, Erin E. Morse helps families make the tough decisions that must be addressed after an Orlando divorce. Issues such as child support and visitation schedules require sensitivity and empathy when determining what is best for children. Joint custody is all about positive co-parenting and is the answer for many; however, it may not be the answer if one parent is more involved with the children than the other one.

Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Divorce Lawyer

A divorce is a very serious matter. Each member of the partnership needs to make sure their needs are met. One of the best ways to resolve the dissolution of a partnership is with help from an Orlando divorce attorney. A divorce lawyer can offer many important services. The Orlando divorce attorney serves as the client’s voice during the divorce proceedings. They make sure that the Orlando divorce proceeds smoothly. They can also help with other issues such as child care arrangements, fiscal support and the division of any existing properties held in common. Before speaking to a divorce lawyer, it’s a good idea to think about the kind of questions to ask during any meeting. This can help any client narrow down their potential lawyers and decide which one is right for their specific circumstances.

Area of Practice

One of the most important questions that anyone seeking an Orlando divorce lawyer should ask is about the lawyer’s area of practice. Find out if the lawyer specializes in divorces. Some may only do this form of legal assistance only occasionally while others do more divorce cases each year. Ask them how long they’ve been practicing divorce law. A lawyer may be what is known as a certified family specialist that indicates many years of experience in this area. If you have a complicated Orlando divorce, this can be an example of someone with much needed expertise.

Strategic Examples

It’s a good idea to have documents with the basics of the case laid out in advance before showing up. Doing so can help the lawyer provide the kind of answers that people need as their case begins. A lawyer should be able to examine the documents in question and then offer suggestions about what may happen going forward. The lawyer can indicate roughly how long the case might take to resolve and what kind of relevant legal issues might apply in their client’s case. They can also indicate what strategies might work best and what approaches may be less indicated in order to get at the desired outcome.

The Number of People

A client should know how many people will be working with them. A large firm may have an attorney on staff entirely devoted to the practice of divorce law. In that case, that person will be their contact as the case continues. Find out all who will be working on the case. This includes any paralegals as well as other legal professionals. Ask if it is possible to meet with everyone who is working on the case before it begins. Putting a human face on a case can serve as motivation for staffers that leads them to put even more effort to get to the best possible results.

Kinds of Costs

Costs are a major factor during and divorce. It’s good to find out as much as possible about all fees related to any divorce. Any divorce lawyer should be able to answer all questions related to billing well in advance. Ask about the estimated total cost. Keep in mind that this can be hard to estimate until the case begins. A good attorney will say so to their clients. Ask about communication with the other person and any attorney they hire. An attorney should be able to indicate hourly costs as well as any other costs such as the costs of investigator and any other officials that might be involved in some way.

Asking such questions can help anyone find the right legal help during all stages of the divorce.

Ways To Make Divorce Easier On Children

Divorce is not easy on anyone, especially the kids. While the marriage may be over, both parties still owe their children love, attention, and support in all forms. In order to make that happen, it’s crucial for both parents to ensure their kids know they are there for them. Here are six approaches that many Orlando divorce attorneys will suggest to clients who want to make divorce easier for the children.

1. Tell Them Together

It’s the ethical responsibility of both parents to sit down with the children and explain that the family is about to go through an Orlando divorce. While it’s not necessary to provide specifics about the reasons behind the divorce, do help the kids understand that the end of the marriage does not mean the end of the family. It just means not everyone will be living under the same roof and that a plan for child custody will be created.

If the kids need to vent, let them. The focus here is not on what the parents are feeling. It’s about helping the kids to understand what’s happening. That may require hearing some hard words from the children, but it’s better for them to let it out now than try to keep it in.

2. Create and Abide By a Reasonable Visitation Schedule

A child custody arrangement can take on many forms. One parent may have sole custody while the other is granted visitation rights. Even in a shared custody arrangement, one parent will serve as the custodial parent while the other party is designated as the non-custodial parent. The goal of the court and the Orlando divorce attorney is to ensure the children have regular access to both parents via a workable time sharing plan.

3. But Be Flexible

While there’s a time sharing plan in place, remember to be flexible. If a child has a school activity on a visitation weekend, work together to reschedule the visit. Alternatively, the non-custodial parent must be willing to step in and help if the custodial parent is ill or needs to be out of town at a time other than the regularly scheduled visitation weekend.

4. Never Use Visitation to Punish the Other Parent

Always remember that visitation after an Orlando divorce is about maintaining a healthy and loving relationship with the children. It’s not about whatever negative feelings the former partners have about one another. Never withhold or otherwise use visitation time as a way to get back at the other parent.

This means that custodial parents should do everything possible to ensure non-custodial parents can see the kids according to the child custody arrangement. In like manner, non-custodial parents should make sure the kids are returned to custodial parents on time.

5. Don’t Fight in Front of the Children

Whatever went on before the Orlando divorce, the two parties with shared custody should never fight in front of the kids again. Even when it may be difficult, remain civil to one another when the kids are around. Should the need arise to have a heated discussion, it can take place away from the children. If necessary, the two lawyers who helped create the child custody arrangement can intervene and help the parents avoid involving the kids in whatever is causing the issue.

6. Never Speak Negatively About the Other Parent in Front of the Kids

Even when the other parent is not around, it’s important to not speak negatively about the other party in front of the kids. This can be a little more difficult, especially if a child is complaining about the other parent. Even when it would be so easy to talk about how childish, immature, or irresponsible the other parent happens to be, resist the temptation.

An Orlando divorce attorney can help the client navigate the legal system and create a child custody arrangement that’s in compliance with current laws. The attorney also has a lot to offer about making the divorce easier for the kids. Take those suggestions to heart and use them at least until the kids are on their own. In the long run, the children will adjust with less difficulty and be assured that both parents still love and want them.

What To Do If Paternity Fraud Happens To You

Paternity fraud is an issue that has occurred to a surprising amount of men. Indeed, pop stars Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber have both written songs about the issue of this type of fraud. Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” came out in 1983 and if you listen closely to the lyrics you will realize what the song is about. Justin Bieber’s “Believe” came out in 2012 and touched on the very same issue! All of this of course begs the question: what are your rights when it comes to these issues? What can you do to fight it? That is the focus of this blog entry.

First of all, it is important for the respondent to understand the ramifications of Florida paternity fraud. This fraud occurs when a woman names a man as the father of her child when the paternity of the child is in doubt. Often, the woman will know full well that the child is not really the biological offspring of the man, but will just do so to claim child support from the man. Unfortunately, there are a number of men who have only found out several years after the fact that they were not, in fact, the biological father of the child. An individual that has determined they are the victim of paternity fraud will need to fully analyze the situation to determine what recourse they should look for.

Of course, the first thing they need to do is to contact a domestic litigation attorney as soon as possible who is experienced in Florida child support laws. Interestingly enough, a lot of men think that all they have to do is simply submit a DNA test to prove they are not the biological father and this will settle the issue. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. The reason for this is because of a tricky legal phrase called “the best interests of the child.” If several years have passed where the complainant has acted as the father of the child, a negative DNA test may not be sufficient to convince a court to vacate Florida paternity and child support expectations. In actuality, about the only way for a court to vacate a child support order would be for the man to be able to prove that the fraud has taken place. In that vein, there are a number of questions a man facing a false paternity case should ask themselves.

Some sample questions regarding this would be this: did she ever tell you that you were not the real father? Did she tell anyone else that you weren’t the real father? Did she send you any emails, make any phone calls, or do anything that is retrievable that would prove you weren’t the real father? If so, you just might be able to get a court to set aside a Florida child support order and establish Florida paternity fraud.

When it comes to Florida paternity laws, you also need to understand there are a number of ways a court looks at the father relationship. First, there is the “acknowledged father” who admits that he is the biological father of the child. Next, there is the “presumed father” who is someone who married the mother, tried to marry the mother, or was married to the mother when the birth took place.

With Florida paternity laws, a couple other factors in a case would include timing and whether the presumed father can determine who the biological father is. Of course, timing is everything. Contesting the paternity should ideally happen right after the presumed father suspects the child isn’t his. Moreover, if the presumed father knows who the biological father is, there are cases where he has been able to successfully sue him for restitution.

Of course, if you are questioning whether you are the biological father of a child, time is of the essence. Contact a domestic litigation attorney as soon as possible to go over your rights and what avenues you can take regarding your Florida parental case.

The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of year spent with loved ones. Some families have a little more stress during this season, however. Split families have to share child custody during the holidays. This can be a stressful situation for parents to decide on and, with some many emotions involved, may require help from an Orlando divorce attorney.

With the holidays quickly approaching, now is the time to begin working out a time sharing and visitation schedule for child custody during the holidays. By getting it all figured out now, it can prevent unnecessary stress, confusion, and arguments with the other parent when the time comes. Even if you have joint custody or pay child support, you still need to have a holiday schedule in place.

When the courts become involved in a child custody or Orlando divorce case, the judge almost always grants joint custody or shared custody of the child. This means shared holidays, too. The only time this isn’t the case is when the judge believes it would be detrimental to the child to have to spend more time with a certain parent.

How to Split Child Custody During the Holidays

Most often, a judge will split time during the holidays so that both parents are able to spend an adequate amount of time with the child. This usually means that the judge will grant some kind of time sharing order to the parents that is different than their normal joint custody schedule.

The child custody agreement will likely be different during the holidays than during the rest of the year. Even if the parents have joint custody, one parent pays child support, or one parent only gets one weekend a month, the agreement during the holidays will probably be different.

The two parents can decide how to split up the holidays themselves, but sometimes there will be a disagreement. When this happens, the courts typically have to get involved to make sure that the shared custody schedule is fair for the holidays.

There are a couple different ways that you could split up holidays. One method may work better for your family than the other method, so it is important to think all factors through before deciding. Orlando divorce courts do what they think is best for the child, so if you and your child’s other parent can come to a fair agreement, it is one less step to do in court. The different options include:

  • Switch holidays every other year

One parent would have the child on Christmas in 2018, and the other parent would get to spend Christmas of 2019 with the child. You would do this for every holiday. If you choose to divide up visitation this way, you won’t have to miss seeing your child on a holiday for two years in a row.

  • Split the holiday in half

One parent will get the child in the morning, and the other parent will get to have the child for the rest of the day. This option requires the most planning because you will have to figure in traveling. If you live far from the other parent, a portion of your child’s holiday will be spent traveling, and that isn’t always best.

  • Have the same scheduled holiday every year

This would mean that the parent who gets Christmas gets it every year, and the other parent never gets to spend Christmas with the child. This is important to think about, as well, because both parents will have to sacrifice some of the holidays.

Final Thoughts on Sharing Parenting Time During the Holidays

Both parents want to spend the holidays with their child, but in the case of Orlando divorce, parents are required to split the holidays in some way. If you are struggling to set up a joint custody or child support agreement during the holidays, an Orlando divorce attorney might be the way to go.