How To Establish Paternity In Florida

Studies show children with involved fathers have an advantage compared to children with distant relationships with their dads. Whether the relationship is biological, adopted, or unmarried consummated devotion these factors play a critical role in establishing the father’s paternity.

Fathers have been fighting for neutral custody of their children for years. Still today, paternity in Florida isn’t any easier, but with the help of an Orlando divorce attorney, child custody and child support is awarded fairly.

Matrimonial Paternal Rights

Paternity in Florida represents over 16,000 family court action filings each year. To legally recognize a father’s rights of child custody he needs to file a paternity action establishing paternity.

It’s presumed the husband is the biological father for children born during a marriage. The statute of limitations for challenging the father’s paternity begins when he signs the hospital’s paternity acknowledgment form after the child’s birth.

Each year the Florida Office of the State Court Administrator reports family court filings. Orlando divorce attorneys handle the largest percent of court filings (paternity) compared to civil, criminal or probate.

  • YE 2016 -2017 Florida family court filings (paternity) rose to 38.5 percent, up from 2008 at 28.2 percent.
  • Fathers are blocked or severely limited to time-sharing with their children during the divorce proceedings or separations.
  • Florida encourages a father’s involvement and his legal responsibilities to child support.

Cohabitating Paternity

The percentage of couples choosing to cohabitate before and after the birth of a child continues to rise. Establishing paternity gets complicated when the couple separates.

In most cases, unwed fathers have absolutely no legal rights to their children. The biological mother has full physical and legal custody of the children until the father can legally establish paternity.

  • U.S. Census reported almost 25 percent of Florida household were unmarried adults in 2001.
  • In 2018, 8.5 million unmarried couples were living together in the U.S.
  • Cohabitating partners represent more than 1 million homes with at least two children.

Merely being identified on the birth certificate as the father, does not lawfully prove parental rights in the eyes of the court. Before paternity in Florida can be ascertained, an affidavit of paternity is needed to begin the paternity action. Experienced Orlando divorce attorneys work with the father to authenticate his claims of fatherhood.

Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement

Sometimes voluntary paternity occurs for married or unwed couples with children. Orlando attorneys ensure a father’s rights to have a healthy relationship with the child or children.

Here, the mother and legally recognized father will sign under oath a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. In Florida, the document is an admission of the child’s legal father for establishing paternity. The action supports parental legal rights, child custody responsibilities including visitations, active participation in raising the child and child support.

  • Fathers failing to exercise paternity rights could lose custodial rights.
  • More important, the child’s development is impacted without the emotional bonds and financially support.

Before signing the acknowledgment document, each parent needs to consider the consequences because it is irrevocable in most situations. After signing, the courts accept the father as the person with legal rights to the child.

For more information on paternity situations and strategies valued by the State of Florida to support a father’s parental rights, please contact our office.

Fathers believing, they have lawful rights to participate in a child’s life and need assistance in establishing paternity, or wish to contest the court orders, should discuss the circumstances, and consider trustworthy counsel on legal paternity resolutions.

Common Misconception: We Both Agree so We Don’t Need to Go To Court

Separation is a difficult time as it is and allowing for a situation where it could become hazardous in the long run will only make matters worse. It may seem at the time that you both can come to an agreement on how you’ll handle the situation with your children. This state of mind is what has contributed to spreading the most common misconception about separation, and that’s the thought that court can be skipped if both parties can come to an agreement on the children mutually.

 

However, this could be riskier than it may seem at the time. There are many ways that things could turn out, and if you don’t find yourself with legal protection it could be unavoidable. Here’s a look at why you should reconsider the option of not going to court and settling it amongst yourselves.

 

What happens if one of you decides it’s an unfair agreement in the future?

 

This is one of the benefits of using the court of law during a separation. Not only will you be able to ensure a fair agreement (including the option for shared custody) that’s looked at by an outside party, but it opens an avenue to ensure that the agreement is one that will last for the long-term. This alone will make things easier during separation.

 

On top of that, when you go to court, you’ll most likely be using the help of an attorney to ensure your best interests are always considered. This may also let you become informed of options you didn’t think were available. Not to mention, it prevents the risk of overlooking some of the most important factors of child custody during the process.

 

In the event of child support disputes, will you be able to ensure a logical outcome?

 

The needs of a child can be demanding, and therefore the child support process was developed to simplify this aspect of separation. It ensures the weight isn’t on the shoulders of solely one parent and over the long run it will make for less stressful situations.

 

Also, one thing to keep in mind is that as time progresses, things change. Your ex may not be able to afford the amount of child support that was originally agreed on. They could even be getting paid more which would increase child support payments. By not ignoring the effect that court can have on a separation, you’re making sure all the bases are covered throughout the years.

 

Over time, if the agreement needs to be redone, it might not be feasible.

 

When you come to a mutual child custody agreement, you could be limiting your options for the future if changes need to be made. If you go to court, you always have a chance to appeal the decision later if there’s a need to do so. Not to mention, it ensures the entire process is fully documented proving the situation is indeed what it is rather than taking the chance that your explanation is considered hearsay.

 

This doesn’t consider the fact that after separation emotions could be running high. When someone finds themselves in this state of mind, future agreements may become impossible. Having an Orlando divorce attorney help you through the process could provide a needed balance to ensure that even if changes are made, they’re still upholding your best interests when it comes to child custody.

 

If one parent decides visitation isn’t fair, will it be easily fixed?

 

This is another advantage of not blowing past the option of going to court for separation. It’s how you can make sure that the child custody and/or shared custody arrangements are truly fair for both parties. In the event there becomes a dispute in the future, it’ll be easier to either prove that it’s fair or make the necessary amendments to make both parents satisfied with the results.

 

What if your ex backs out on the agreement and doesn’t continue to follow it?

 

If there’s a court order in place, there’s legal protection that comes with it. You can enforce the orders that were set forth when you went to court and even enforce other actions if they’re deemed necessary. Whereas a mutual agreement comes with very little in terms of what you can do to enforce its contents.

 

If you’re separated and you need to see what your options are for your specific situation, it’s best to contact an Orlando divorce attorney even if you’re not legally married. They’re the most experienced when it comes to child custody and related matters.

When Should You Speak With A Child Custody Attorney

There’s nothing easy about a child custody case. Even the most civil of cases end with a situation in which you have to share your time with your child with someone else, taking away some of the most important bonding time you’ll ever have with him or her. While this might not be your ideal choice, the norm in Florida is joint custody. In fact, Florida’s concept of joint custody is more accurately one that involves shared parenting, a type of child custody arrangement that keeps the best interest of the child in mind while still giving significant rights to both parents. If you’re confused about what to do when it comes to custody or how to deal with divorce in Orlando, the following information may be helpful to you.

Divorce

The most common time for an individual to speak to a child custody attorney is when he or she is facing a divorce. Only an experienced can walk you through the process of divorce in Orlando, helping you to determine how to proceed with your plans for custody. A good lawyer will talk to you about shared custody, child support, and how to fight for a decision that is in the best interest of your child.

Issues of Paternity

One of the most common times to speak with a child custody attorney is when you’re dealing with a paternity issue. Paternity issues can impact not only your custody arrangement but also have a huge impact on the issue of child support. Women may be impacted by paternity suits when a man claims paternity, while a man might suddenly find himself either seeking to establish paternity in order to get shared custody. In either case, speaking to a child custody attorney is a necessity.

Moving

It’s also very common to talk to a child support attorney when you or your partner is considering moving to a new area. As you might expect, moving out of your current area can wreak havoc on a shared custody plan, greatly altering the amount of time that can be spent with your child and irrevocably changing the way that your child custody agreement works. Whether you are moving our your ex is moving is irrelevant – it’s important that you speak with an attorney as soon as you know that a major location shift is in the works.

Changes in Your Child’s Life

What worked as a custody arrangement in the past isn’t guaranteed to work in the future. Your child’s life will change as he or she ages, requiring both you and your ex to juggle new schedules and to make room for new activities in your child’s life. As you might imagine, this will also mean that the way you shared the custody of your child in the past won’t be guaranteed to work as these changes continue to occur. You will need to meet with an attorney to discuss child custody arrangements and make sure that the best interests of your child are being considered while still giving you a chance to be a part of your child’s life.

Get Help from an Orlando Child Custody Attorney

Child custody cases are difficult and speaking with a lawyer may be your only chance to ensure that you continue to play an active role in your child’s life. Whether you are considering custody for the first time or you need to make changes to an existing arrangement, a good lawyer will give you the advice and representation you need to seek the outcome that’s best for both you and for your child. If you’re faced with a custody issue of any sort, make sure to call an Orlando child custody attorney for the help you deserve.

What To Expect When You Are Filing For A Divorce In Orlando When Minor Children Are Involved

Divorce is a life-altering experience that is filled with complications for all parties involved. These complications are increased when children are involved.

Couples divorcing in Flordia will need both a Marital Settlementment Agreement and a Parenting Plan. Once agreed upon, these documents will be attached to the divorce settlement and become the roadmap for how parental responsibilities and shared custody issues will be handled.

When parties are unable to come to a mutual agreement on these issued, a judge will appropriate the assets and responsibilities. Individuals in the Orlando, Florida area should seed the services of an Orlando divorce attorney with these matters.

The following considerations are important to individuals in Florida taking part in divorce proceedings.

Marital Settlement Agreement

The marital settlement agreement provides a specific list of divorce terms and provides structure for the post-divorce relationship of the divorced parties. The agreement will include agreements on issues like child support, the division of assets and debt, whether or not alimony is to be paid by either spouse, and other important matters. Once signed, no modifications will be made to the agreement. For this reason, it is important that both parties fully understand their rights and reach an agreement with which they can both live.

Equitable Distribution of Assets

Florida statutes mandate all assets, properties, and debts of divorced individuals are to be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. The governing statute is Section 61.075. Contributing factors to the fair and equitable division of property are the assets owned by each spouse before entering the marriage, the debt of each party before becoming married, assets gained during the marriage, and current assets and debts possessed by the couple.

Florida courts give the opportunity to the divorcing couple to decide for themselves how assets and debts will be divided. However, if they do not agree on the issue the court will make the final decisions. Again, an Orlando divorce attorney would be helpful with these matters.

Alimoney

Also known as spousal support, alimony is paid by one spouse to another when it is determined that responsibility for the spouse that is the payee still exists after the couple is divorced or separated. There are many factors to be considered in regards to the payment of alimony but chief among these concerns is the need of the spouse to receive the payments and the ability of the paying spouse to deliver payment.

Other important considerations regarding alimony are the length of the marriage, the standard of living while married, and the financial resources possessed by each party.

Child Support

Florida Statute 61.29 establishes policy for child support in the state. The principal guidelines are:

  • Both parents are obligated to provide care for dependent children.
  • The court will consider the net income for both parents that would have expected to go to the care of children if all parties resided in the same home.
  • Child support issues are to be handled as quickly and efficiently as possible with as little litigation as possible

The amound of support to be paid for the child is calculated by a formula set out in Florida Statute 61.30. The formula takes into acount the income of both parents, the number of nights the child stays in the home of a parent, health insurance for the child, and other pertinent matters.

Parenting Plan

This plan is required in all divorces that include the shared custody of a child. The plan must include detailed provisions for:

  • The contribution each spouse will make to the daily upbringing of the child
  • A time-schedule outlining when each parent will spend time with the child.
  • An agreement on which parent will be responsible for each important matter in the life of a child. For example, health care, education, and extracurricular activities.
  • The means of communication parents will use to stay in contact with the child.

The history between the parents and any relationship issues must also be taken into account when devising the parenting plan.

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.

How Child Support Gets Determined In Florida

When a couple goes through a divorce in Orlando, the court requires the non-custodial parent to pay child support. Florida has specific statutory guidelines to calculate the amount of support that has to be paid. Shared custody or joint custody are issues that can be a determining factor in how much support a parent will be ordered to pay.

In the state of Florida, like all states, child support is a requirement due to it being the right of the child rather than the parents. Sadly, a number of parents who are forced to pay support feel slighted or that the custodial parent is out to get them. This is not the case. Minor children need and are entitled to support. Child support is used to cover a child’s basic needs including food, shelter, healthcare, education, and more.

If you live in the city of Orlando, you will need to find an experienced Orlando divorce attorney to help answer all of your questions and supply you with the information you need. Not all support issues are cut and dry. You can receive counseling regarding child custody and how joint custody can affect your support case.

The Income Sharing Model

The income sharing model is used in Florida to determine the amount of support spent on the children had the couple had not divorced. The number amount is divided between the two parents based on income. However, the courts have wide discretion when setting the amount. This model is more of a guideline, and it is not etched in stone. Other factors such as joint custody will also determine the amount of support that will be paid.

Financial Affidavits

Florida requires both parties to give a listing of their financial earnings and holdings. Earning calculations are based upon the following:

  • Salary or wages
  • Disability income
  • Business income
  • Unemployment
  • Pension and retirement
  • Rental income
  • Royalties and trusts

In Florida, there is a basic child support calculator that determines the maximum amount of support to be paid. There is an income cap at 50%. Child custody issues can also play a role, in this calculation.

  • 1 child – 20% of income
  • 2 children – 28% of income
  • 3 children – 32% of income
  • 4 children – 40% of income
  • 5 children – 45% of income
  • 6 children – 50% of income

Child Custody Issues And Support

Issues of support can be very tricky when dealing with an Orlando divorce. In cases of joint custody, the amount of support can be changed. However, if shared custody is agreed upon and both parties have similar finances, no support will be required by either party. In fact, when both parties have similar finances, you can often determine who is going to handle healthcare for the child and who pays for educational needs.

A seasoned Orlando divorce attorney can give you all the information you need regarding child custody and support. In all divorce cases involving minor children, a parenting plan is required, so that both parents can be in agreement regarding the needs of the children.

How Long Is Support Paid?

Support is paid until the child turns 18. But can be extended to when the child turns 19 if they are still in high school or later if the child has certain disabilities that would require long-term support. Additionally, if you are in arrears, you will be responsible for that amount regardless of the age of the child/ren.

If you need more information, you should hire an attorney with experience with Orlando divorces. One of our attorneys will help you understand how joint custody and child custody can play a role in support. They will also give you guidance on a parenting plan, and how that will help if custody is shared.

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Modifying A Parenting Plan, What Do You Need To Do

When divorce happens in a family with children, it is essential to promptly handle the matter of legal custody. In most cases, a family law attorney needs to be involved in this process. The divorced couple is then tasked with modifying the parenting plan.

Disagreement Between The Ex-Spouses/Parents

Oftentimes, one ex-spouse is fighting the other for sole custody. However, a judge may decide that shared custody is better for the child or children involved. They will approve or disapprove the proposed parenting plan presented to them. If ex-spouses later become interested in a modifying parenting plan, they must adhere to the judge’s decision.

How To Modify A Parenting Plan

There are several steps that need to be taken in modifying a parenting plan. General steps that everyone must follow are filing paperwork for the modifying parenting plan and explaining and documenting any relevant changes. Once the proper paperwork has been submitted, the modification hearing can begin.

Modification Hearing

Altering a custody arrangement involves participating in a hearing. During this hearing, parents must prove to the judge that their life has changed somehow or their child’s has.

The larger the lifestyle changes are, the more involved the modification becomes. A custody arrangement can only be altered due to life changes if certain factors are relevant. This includes the safety of the child’s home environment, a new family situation and a new work schedule for either or both parents.

Documentation must be shown by a family law attorney to a judge in order to change a custody arrangement. For example, some parents will present a custody journal. This would be a written record of any problems arising with the current custody arrangement. One parent can have the arrangement changed if they can prove the other one is unfit. Having a family law attorney is important when this needs to be proved in court.

It is important for both parents to remember that the modifying parenting plan must reflect what is best for the child or children in question. Sometimes this means child support is increased if one parent is struggling to support the child financially.

Ex-Spouses/Parents Working Together

Ex-spouses that can reach a compromise peacefully can draft a parenting plan on their own. As long as the plan is filed in a court of law, it is generally approved by the judge. Those that can compromise often agree to shared custody.

For parents that want to compromise but are struggling to do so, a family counselor can provide assistance. He or she will help create a parenting plan that both parties are comfortable with, avoiding modifying parenting plan.

Conclusion

No matter what the circumstances are, the outcome of a parenting plan should always be positive. An effective family law attorney will fight for child support along with anything else essential to the agreement. Child support can be changed by a judge, making a family law attorney necessary. All involved parties working to reach a common goal will have to put the child’s needs first.

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The longer you wait to get everything in motion the longer it is going to take to put everything behind you.  Contact Us Today and we will help you “Find Your New Normal”

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9 Rules You Need To Make Joint Custody Work

Child custody and child support issues are often singularly looked at as a legal issue. While the legalities are important and an Orlando divorce attorney will play a major role in the divorce’s terms, there are also some things parents should be doing on their own to make child custody work for both parents and children. From sharing holiday time, drop-offs and pickups, and coordinating schedules, it can be a lot for parents in a shared custody arrangement, especially when the two likely didn’t have much to agree on and common ground when married.

Experts Say Cooperation Is Key To Joint Custody Arrangements 

Author of “Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies to Help Children Thrive Through Divorce” JoAnne Pedro-Carroll says that studies have shown mutual cooperation, agreement on terms, respect, and proper emotional management are key factors to custody arrangements working out well. Ensuring these qualities are present makes it easier for children and parents alike to adjust to the family unit changes associated with Orlando divorce. How can parents help make sure these factors are present in joint custody? Check out these nine rules.

Nine Rules To Make Joint Custody Work

1. If There’s Nothing Nice To Say, Then Keep Your Mouth Closed

Divorce and child support arrangements can be bitter and full of resentment, but don’t speak poorly about the ex in front of nor to the children. Children are made up of both parents, and hearing negatives can be internalized by the child and transferred into parent-child relationships in ways that have everything to do with the ex as a spouse and nothing to do with them as a human being or parent. Plus, the child, as part of that ex, may feel like the degrading remarks extend to them as well. Remember, while parents may not love each other any longer, the resulting children will always love both. Justified or not, keep negative remarks away from children’s impressionable minds.

2. It’s 100% About The Children

While the Orlando divorce was about two spouses calling it quits, the child support and child custody aspects are all about the children. MensFamilyLaw.com attorney and author of “ A Man’s Guide To Child Custody” David Pisarra points out that divorce can cause a tunnel vision on personal hurts and wrongs that often blinds divorcing parents to the greater good of the children in joint custody. Time with a child is a gift, not a prize, and that gift isn’t in the form of a parent getting equality or exactly what they want. Shared custody is setting egos and wants aside to value what’s best for the child above all else.

3. Be Realistic

Whether it’s insecurity, retribution, or greediness, many parents make unrealistic custody grabs that their schedules and commitments can’t possibly accommodate. Los Angeles divorce attorney and author of “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way” Laura Wasser suggests to take emotions out of the custody equation and look at the scheduling and commitment facts alone, much as a business transaction would transpire.

4. Factor The Child’s Needs In Making The Custody Arrangement

Consider the following:

• Child’s school, extracurricular, health, and other scheduling needs.
• Child’s age and personality.
• Child care arrangements.
• Travel distance between homes and daily child-related obligations.

When it comes to age, infants are generally primarily with the mother. Toddlers and up usually have an alternating custody plan. Most mental health practitioners recommend the frequent transitions of a 2-2-3 plan for younger children and a more flexible 2-2-5 arrangement or alternate week plan for older children. Here’s how those usually work:

• 2-2-3 plan

On week one, one parent will get the child Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the other on Wednesday and Thursday. On week two, the schedule flips for the parents. It continues to alternate this way so that the child isn’t without either parent for any extended period of time.

• 2-2-5 plan

One parent get the child Monday and Tuesday and the other on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday through Sunday is alternated between the parents. This is the preferred schedule for older kids that have their own unique schedules and obligations.

• Alternate week plan

Alternates with one week with one parent and the next week with the other parent.

5. Keep The Bad Spouse Element Out Of The Equation

While the Orlando divorce attorney likely asked a plethora of questions about the ex as a spouse during the divorce, this is no longer about the ex’s spousal qualities. The focus is now on parental qualities. Being a poor spouse doesn’t equate to being a poor parent. Study after study has shown that children universally benefit from having both role models in their lives. The marriage might’ve failed, but that doesn’t mean co-parenting has to fail. Just be sure to keep emotional and personal baggage out of co-parenting.

6. Find A Way To Communicate

Communication is key to co-parenting. OurFamilyWizzard.com offers all sorts of calendars, common doc storage, message boards, and expense logs so that both parents can remain on the same page. If face-to-face communication can’t be amicable, then use the technology available to communicate agreeably, effectively, and efficiently. Miscommunications and freezes ultimately only hurt the child.

7. Balance Battles And Challenges

Of course, there will be parenting facets that aren’t always going to be a united front. Some facets will require one parenting challenging the other’s methods, but, in most cases, such conflicting parenting styles can be resolved with open, rational, and direct communication. If an agreement can’t be reached, each parent needs to ask themselves if the battle is really worth having a judge decide the outcome. Pick battles wisely and avoid trying to micromanage each other as joint custody is being tackled.

8. Give The Child A Voice

The child didn’t have a say when the Orlando divorce attorney was called. However, the child should have a heard voice when it comes to child custody. For younger children, this voice might be as simple as which PJs or toys they’ll bring back and forth. For older children, this can mean giving them a say in the custody schedule so that their life is left as undisrupted as possible by divorce. Be open and willing to listen to the child’s frustrations and confusion over custody arrangements. Also be willing to sacrifice to give the child a better sense of control over their own place in the world.

9. Review And Be Open To Adjust The Arrangement

Set up periodic review points, which are usually based on children getting older and changing schedules. Parents often find their own lives changing after divorce. Remarrying, job advancement, moves, and so forth may mean that previous agreements aren’t favorable for the child. Again, this is where communication and honesty become crucial parts of the commitment to effectively co-parent after an Orlando divorce.
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Who Exactly Are Eligible To Be A Child’s Guardian And How The Process Work
Who exactly is a child’s guardian?

A guardian of a child is someone who has the legal rights and responsibilities over that child. While parents are automatically provided with these rights, there are certain instances where parents are unable to take care of a child. In these situations, the guardian would need to take charge. Through a court order for guardianship, the judge would provide the designated guardian with the authority to make medical, educational, legal, and other relevant decisions for the child.

Here, the question may arise; how would I be able to establish a guardianship?
An agreement between a child’s parents and an individual stating he/she is the established guardian isn’t enough to declare guardianship. Proper guardianship should be established through an official court order by a judge.

To begin the process, the individual can start by filing a petition to establish the guardianship. If the parents of the child and the potential guardian have already been discussed the matter, the process would be relatively easy. In most cases, the judge will simply schedule a hearing at courts to acquire the consent of the parents. Once the consent has been approved, the judge will then evaluate if the proposed individual is well suited for the child’s best interests.

The judge would thoroughly analyze what is in the best interest of the child. That way even if all the individuals have consented, but the decision would harm the child, the judge can deny guardianship. An example would be the judge denying a guardianship proposed by an individual who has a criminal history, domestic violence records, or would be unable to meet the basic needs of the child. If an individual is overall unfit to be the child’s guardian the judge may even appoint a different guardian altogether.

If you’re trying to establish guardianship in cases where the rights of the parents’ have been terminated, the process might be different from ordinary guardianship establishment. In these cases, parental consent would not be required. However, the judge would have to evaluate the circumstances and would have to determine if the child’s best interests would be served through this designation of guardianship. Additionally, the judge may require the guardianship applicant to undergo a background check and a home visit from a social worker to acquire additional information.

Who is allowed to acquire guardianship?

In most states, the rules to acquire guardianship are quite broad. Typically, for an individual to be eligible for guardianship, he/she must be over the age of 18 and should have little to no criminal history. The best interest of the child would be able to determine the guardian proceeding outcome. A few other factors that are taken into consideration by the judge are:

• The guardian’s mental and physical health.
• The age and health of the child.
• The ability of the proposed guardian to look after the child.
• The relationship of the child with the proposed.
• Any other factors that seemed relevant.

If you’re looking for an Orlando child custody attorney to help you secure guardianship, the Erin Morse Family Law Firm is the place for you. We guarantee highly competent attorneys and the best service in town for all our clients to ensure that their cases go in the right direction. If that’s what you’re looking for, contact us now, for a consultation!

The Effects of Divorce on the Children.

Running two separate homes is far more difficult than running one. This typically means that there is overall less money to go around after a divorce happens. After a divorce, the courts normally order spousal support to help the more financially unable spouse retain a similar standard of living as compared to the lifestyle experienced during the marriage. However, there are certain instances where a spouse may have lost a high-paying job. In these cases, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may have to experience a completely different lifestyle after the marriage.

Typically, as part of the divorce case, the judge may require both spouses to file financial declarations which support the different sources of income and other expenses. The judge would then base the alimony payments and child support payments based on the financial situation of both parents. The divorce process may sometimes make things a little more difficult to handle in the start. However, you and your children may come to adjust over time.

Both parents normally have an ongoing duty to support their children in every possible way. During and after the divorce process, the support order issued by the courts may include who is responsible for covering a child’s extra-curricular activities. If the order doesn’t include it, the child’s additional expenses may depend on the laws of the state.

In certain instances, if finances get really tight, the child may have to give up certain extra-curricular activities such as ballet lessons. While this may be difficult to understand from the child’s perspective, the child would grow to understand the situation over time. Finances can become a significant problem after a divorce, for that reason it is essential to have a competent child support attorney Orlando FL available by your side to make sure finances are in order. If a properly discussed financial situation is in order, both parents can divide the extra-curricular expenses among each other. That way the child can experience a financially stable life while maintaining his/her routine activities.

If a parent loses his/her job it may affect child support payments. If this happens, the child would be affected financially. Child support is intended to cover the basic costs of a child. That means clothes, food, and otherwise basic care. If you’re on the custodial side of the divorce, without the child support payments, it may be difficult to make ends meet if the child support payments decrease over time.

In certain situations, the court can impute income. This is if the parent making the child support payments loses his/her job or has taken on a lower paying job. When a judge imputes income, the court begins to base the child support payments on what the parent should be earing than what he or she earns in reality. This can also help limit the financial impact that the divorce may have on the children.

Paying child support can be tough, but not receiving enough child support payments can be even harder. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t have to go through it alone. That’s what we at The Law Office of Erin Morse are here for. We are one of the best Family Law Firms in the city of Orlando. We guarantee all our clients that they will be provided with the best legal services through a group of skilled and experienced attorneys from the start through the end of their cases. If that’s what you’re looking for, contact our firm now, for a consultation!