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.

How To Help Your Family Law Attorney During Trails And Hearings

A family law attorney can help shepherd a client through their participation in certain potentially trying and difficult legal proceedings. Erin Morse, a family lawyer presenting the Orlando, Florida area invites clients and concerned parties to read this brief blog highlighting the actions a client can execute that might increase their chances of achieving more successful outcomes in said proceedings.

Specific Legal Proceedings A Family Law Attorney Might Partake In

Common actions family law attorneys will participate in include divorce trials, as well as child custody and asset distribution hearings. The role of the family law attorney is to formulate arguments demonstrating why their clients deserve to emerge victoriously (or at least favorably) in these endeavors. That said, there are numerous actions a client can execute to assist their family lawyer in achieving this objective such as:

Providing The Necessary Documentation

Winning most legal cases depends upon the production of adequate and admissible evidence. The presentation of important papers like tax forms, banking statements, pay stubs, housing deeds, vehicle titles and other important documents are vital to helping an attorney create a favorable argument on their client’s behalf.

Remaining Positive

Trials and other legal proceedings can become tedious and, at times, contentious. That said, the client should always maintain a sense of positivity. An outward display of negative emotions might not only place added strain on one’s lawyer but also invite the individuals adjudicating the case (a judge or jury) to formulate a negative impression of the client.

Displaying Professional Legal Etiquette

Should the case proceed to trial, it is imperative that the client understand professional legal setting etiquette. The Judge should always be addressed as your honor and other courtroom officials should be treated with the utmost professional demeanor. While the proceedings are ongoing, the client should, at all costs, refrain from performing rude and deliberately distracting behaviors including but not necessarily limited to:

*Rolling their eyes
*Fidgeting in their seats
*Sarcastically clearing their throats or vocalizing any other attention-getting sounds
*Mumbling derisive statements

Furthermore, the client should only speak when given the opportunity to do so and should always be strictly focused on the proceedings.

Creating A Proper Appearance

The appearance a client displays could have a significant bearing on the outcome. Said individuals should appear groomed and be adorned in professional business attire (suits for men, dresses for women). Inappropriately dressed or unkempt individuals might cause the adjudicators to opine that the client is irresponsible or possesses a lack of etiquette.

Being Prepared

Once a family lawyer formulates an argument or strategy, it is imperative for the client to commit to this plan and memorize the associated details. When lawyer and client are on the same page, they present a united front and stand a better chance of avoiding confusion or being caught off guard by the opposing legal team.

Not Attacking The Adversary

In many family law proceedings, the legal adversaries are separating spouses. Attempting to attack or discredit one’s soon-to-be former partner is among the worst possible actions a client can take. Rather, said individuals should work with their family lawyer to develop an argument that focuses more on their positive attributes and illustrates why an adjudicating body should render a decision in their favor.

Allowing The Lawyer To Perform Their Job

It is imperative that the client not bother their lawyer with unnecessary questions or interrupt said professional during the proceedings. Occasionally, events might transpire on the fly that requires attorneys to think on their feet. Repeated distractions might interfere with a family lawyer’s ability to make necessary adjustments and ultimately hinder the client’s chances of attaining a favorable outcome.

For more information, please visit www.morse-firm.com.

Staying Safe While Getting Divorce From An Abusive Spouse

Anyone who has suffered from abuse knows that abuse comes in different forms. These kinds of abuse can be either emotional or physical. Abuse can also be somewhere in between. An example would be two spouses in a heated argument where one spouse takes away the phone so the victim can’t call 911. Other cases include instances where a spouse takes full control of the household funds, may isolate the other spouse, or even leave the child threatened and never return. When a spouse is faced with such situations, it is known as domestic violence.

If you’ve successfully divorced someone who has abused you and your children with minimal issues during the process, that is great news. However, it is always essential to have a plan once the divorce is over.

It is always nice to imagine an abusive spouse would go away once the divorce has been settled. However, that’s not how it would work sometimes. Studies were found that while abusiveness may have been extreme before a divorce, it sometimes gets even worse after a divorce.

For that reason, it is vital that you have a plan B for your life. When it comes to abusers, you should not gamble your life away by taking the chance of insufficient precautionary measures. No matter what an abuser says or promises you, you should keep in mind that it would merely be a risk to believe a violent person. Studies have shown that there is a higher risk of violence after divorce, especially if both spouses have made agreements on child custody during the divorce.

So you may be wondering what kind of things you can do to protect yourself and your children after the divorce procedures. A few of the things to keep in mind could include:

Hire an efficient divorce attorney Lake Mary, FL.
That way after you’ve discussed your entire situation, your attorney could develop a safety plan with you.

Prepare a safety list of items required for you and your children.
This includes all legal documents necessary for you to bring a case to the courts such as documented proof of abuse.

Practice leaving your home as safely as possible.
If you create a more obvious scene while leaving your home, this may cause your abusive spouse to get angrier and plan something that may affect your life and your child’s.

Depending on the parameters of the custody order issued by the courts, conceal your new details.
Once you’ve left your home, create a strategy to keep your address, phone number, and other relevant details a secret from your abusive spouse.

Speak to a judge about your problems.
If you have a child, it is absolutely necessary to do everything you can to protect yourself and your child/children. However, the most important thing is that you need to take action and not be afraid to show courts that you are suffering from an abusive spouse.

If you’re looking for an attorney to take your divorce case and ensure it goes on the right track, The Law Office of Erin Morse is here to help. We guarantee skilled, professional, and experienced lawyers for all our clients to make sure they receive the best service. Contact The Law Office of Erin Morse now for a consultation!

How Can You Be Sure If Trial Separation Is Right For You?

While trail separation is right for some people, it is important to remember that the experience is not for everyone. In some successful cases, trial separation allows couples to seek therapy and save their marriage. However, there are cases where trial separation helps couples realize that they need a divorce. No matter the long-term result of a trial separation, the temporary break from each other in a trial separation would help couples realize what they would want from each other. This means that couples can either identify if they want to stay together or end the marriage.

Before moving towards understanding if trial separation is right for you, let’s look at what exactly trial separation is and how it works.

A trial separation can be described as a short-term split from your spouse. During this time of separation, couples spend their time assessing their relationship. Once this is done, the couple would be able to determine if they would need to work on reconciliation, establish a more permanent separation, or even end things in the marriage overall and file for divorce.

Generally, during this time, one of the spouses may move out of the house and stay with family, friends, or even in a hotel or temporary rental. If a spouse can’t afford to move out of their home, they may live together but simply agree that they are temporarily separated. In most trial separation instances, the couples don’t enter into any legal agreements about finances or child custody. This is because the trial separation is supposed to be a temporary solution to their differences. However, if a trial separation drags on further, it would be better to put some of the terms of the separation into a contract.

One of the most significant advantages of going through a trial separation is that the couple would be able to realize what they need, where they stand, and whether the marriage requires work. The temporary split allows the couple to assess things in a more orderly fashioned manner and make rational decisions regarding their marriage. It is often found that a marriage in trouble would be better off because of a trial separation.

A trial separation can also benefit couples in marriages that may ultimately lead to a divorce. Specifically, during this period, the couple would be able to decide how to make important decisions such as:

  • How to cover expenses.
  • How to divide income and properties.
  • How to manage childcare arrangements.
  • How to decide who gets the family pet.

While a judge in a divorce court would typically decide what would be the best decision regarding the child, a couple’s temporary agreement may affect the long-term arrangements regarding their child. Additionally, with most of the decisions already made clear during this period, both spouses can save in legal fees by avoiding trial.

However, when it comes to the divorce, both spouses would require the services of an efficient and affordable divorce attorney in Orlando FL. That’s where we come in. The Law Office of Erin Morse has a reputation for the best services in Family Law in Orlando. We guarantee your case would be guided through the right direction while providing you with the best results in the end. If that’s what you’re looking for in a divorce attorney, contact us now, for a consultation!How Can You Be Sure If Trial Separation is Right for You?

What Happens If You Fail To Pay Child Support

The laws in the United States entitle all children under the age of 18 to be financially supported by both parents. If a single parent fails to make court-ordered child support payments there are numerous options available for that money to be collected from both parents. When a marriage ends in divorce, both parents typically agree that they should work together to support their children financially. Unfortunately, there are certain cases where parents refuse to make payments ordered by the court. In these instances, the spouses may face dire consequences.

Every law in the country affirms the necessity of child support payments. If one parent is resistant to pay, the other spouse can request help from the courts to resolve this issue. When a case on child support begins, certain financial documents would be required of each parent.

These may include:
  • Tax forms.
  • W-2 or 1099 documents.
  • Medical and daycare costs for proof.
  • Paystubs.

Once these documents/information have been passed to the courts by the parents of the child, a judge will calculate the payment each parent needs to pay through a state formula. In most cases, the custodial parent of the child would not have to pay anything since they would be the one responsible for the child’s needs on a daily basis. Once the judge has signed the support order, the parent making the payments should be timely. If not, this parent may have to face serious penalties by the law.

The federal law makes it illegal for parents to willfully fail to make payments for child support. Even though the federal law would be handling the penalties of child support, the state court will be handling child support cases. This means you should be able to listen to your local court to avoid any other issues from arising.

One of the most common consequences for non-payment of child support results in something to do with the parent’s finances. If a parent refuses to make the child support payments, the court may deduct finances flowing into the person’s account. This means the courts can decrease the finances from a paycheck, bank account, or even a tax-refund.

Although financial penalties are most common, there are non-monetary penalties as well. Failure to pay child support could result in:
  • A lien can be applied to the sale of a property.
  • Reporting the non-payment of child support to credit reporting agencies.
  • Medical or teaching licenses being revoked or suspended.
  • Suspended driving license.
  • If the payment penalties go over a certain limit, the government may deny the request of a passport.

There are multiple other consequences to the non-payment of child support by the courts. The same way child support is a commitment, bringing a child into the world is a life-long one. It is essential to make sure the child support payments are issued for the care of your child. However, if you’re having significant difficulties in child support payments, the court does allow the modification of child support settlements too. If you require help in that aspect, a child support attorney Orlando would be the best choice.

If you’re looking for one of the best child support attorneys in the state, The Law Office of Erin Morse is the place for you. We at the Erin Morse Firm have notable experience in Family Law and guarantee all client cases would fall through in the best possible way. Contact us now for a consultation!

How Divorced Parents Handle Children’s College Expenses

If you’re wondering if you’re legally obligated to pay for your child’s tuition fees for college, the answer to that actually depends on a number of reasons. In most states in the United States, parents of the child aren’t typically obligated to pay for their child’s tuition. However, there are multiple divorcing parents that have considered reaching an agreement on how much each of them will contribute to the college tuition and expenses of the child. If parents aren’t able to come to a decision, in some states, the court allows the order of a non-custodial parent to make a contribution in the college payment of the child. However, in other states, the laws prevent the judge from ordering the parents to pay for the child’s college. This, however, applies only to parents who haven’t had a previous agreement on the payment.

When it comes to the contribution of funds for the child’s college, generally, the non-custodial parent has more responsibilities towards that matter. However, a judge will try to make sure that the custody situations that are complex don’t end up in one parent overbearing a higher amount in the child’s bill for their education.

Specifically, in these cases of determining the tuition fee payment by parents, the courts will weigh several factors to identify which parent, either one or both, should pay for college and how much. A few of the factors that are considered to determine the payment include:

  • The financial situation of each parent.
  • The level of education after high-school.
  • Whether the parent would require the child to attend college if they were still married.
  • The academic achievements of the child.
  • The academic goals the child may have to finish college.
  • The assets and debts of both parents.
  • Whether the child is eligible for scholarships.
  • The child’s ability to earn while in college.

Depending on the state laws the family resides in, the judge might depict some factors over others depending on what is an appropriate support award financially for the college education. If you don’t want to leave things in the air and want to ensure your child receives the right amount of financial support for their education, it is essential to contact one of the best child support lawyers in Orlando FL. That way you can draw up a valid support agreement.

Voluntary support agreement:

Voluntary college support agreements can be identified as contracts that describe the responsibility of each parent’s costs for their child’s college finances. Even for states that don’t order the payment of college expenses by parents, the court will be able to honor the payment of the parents through a support agreement. The agreement is typically used to describe the following elements to be enforceable:

  • Description on the type of college that the child will be attending.
  • The description of the expenses that would need to be covered.
  • The way the payments will be made.
  • The responsibility of certain expenses that the child will have.
  • Where the child will stay during college.
  • The conditions that the child is required to pass before continuing to college.

A substantial amount of thought should go into the determination of how the child would receive his support. You can alleviate some of the stress by contacting a competent attorney to handle your case. If you’re looking for the best child support attorney in Orlando, contact The Law Office of Erin Morse now. Here at our firm, we guarantee that our clients receive the best services and results in town. Contact our firm now for a consultation.

Trial Separation.

Some couples just may not be ready to get a divorce. Fortunately, these couples who aren’t ready for the permanent divorce are provided with the option of either entering into:

  1. Legal separation
  2. Trial separation.

Regardless of why you need to get a divorce, it is in the best interest of you and your spouse (and the sake of the marriage and children) to either go through trial separation or legal separation before ending the marriage altogether. This article will be discussing Trial Separation.

So what exactly is Trial Separation?

The term trial separation can be understood by the name itself. In a trial separation, couples typically split for a short-term period. Once there is a trial separation, couples would be able to take some time for themselves to assess their relationship. By doing so, they can determine if they would want to work on reconciliation, establish a more permanent separation, or even get a divorce.

When it comes to getting a divorce, overall, it might simply be done through negative emotions getting in the way of making rational decisions. For that reason, time apart from the marriage can really clear the mind of both spouses. This would help the couple decide on whether or not they really want to be separated.

Generally, once there is a trial separation in motion, one of the spouses’ moves out of their family home. They then move into a hotel, reside with a friend, or even rent out a place of their own to stay. If the couple decides that they can’t afford separate living environments, they may come to a decision on still living together, even though there is a trial separation in motion. In most cases, for a trial separation, couples don’t iron out all the details on the legal part of the separation. This means that there aren’t any legal agreements established about finances or custody. This is because the separation is supposed to be temporary. However, in some cases, there are times when trial separations begin to drag on. For that reason, it may be a better idea to put some of the terms of the separation into a legal document.

It is essential to keep in mind that a trial separation is an option that may not work for everyone. However, if both parties of the marriage are open to the option, giving it a try can sometimes help the marriage get back on track

However, if you feel like your marriage has deteriorated to the extent that it seems unfixable, contacting an efficient and affordable divorce attorney in Orlando FL should be your priority. In many cases, couples may have tried to resolve their outstanding problems and may be faced with either no results or negative results. In these cases, divorce is often the best solution for both parties in the marriage.

If you’re looking to get a divorce, but you’re not sure where to start or how to proceed,The Law Office of Erin Morse  can help you! We at The Erin Morse Firm guarantee clients would be provided with optimal service to make sure cases go through the right path. Contact the Erin Morse Firm now, for a consultation!

I Want a Divorce Where do I Start?

So you’ve concluded your marriage and require a divorce. Now you may be thinking, “I Want a Divorce Where do I start?” However, divorce isn’t merely filing for it and submitting complaints to the court.

Below are a few tips that would help you identify what you need to do when you want a divorce:

• Be sure you want to get a divorce.

While this may seem currently evident to you, the decision to get a divorce can be an emotional one. It shouldn’t be a decision you made while you were feeling emotional. Make sure you’re entirely aware of all certainties before filing for divorce. If you still want to try marital counseling, that option is available too.

• Interview attorneys.

Once you’re confident you want to get a divorce, the first thing you need to do is getting started on searching for lawyers. It is essentially a good idea to interview more than a single attorney before filing for divorce. You’ll require an attorney that suits your style. Many attorneys come at different price points. Choosing the right one is vital to make sure your case goes in the right direction.

• Gathering all the financial documents necessary.

Divorce cases significantly depend on documentation. A few of the vital documentation includes:

– Your financial account records.
– Phone records.
– Mortgages.
– Car notes relevant to the case.

To the possible extent, gather all the necessary documentation before filing for divorce. Save yourself from headaches in the future by gathering all the required documents ahead of time.

• Determine custody goals.

If you have children, you’re probably thinking about that as your priority. You should be aware that there’s a chance that you and your spouse, both, would gain sharing custody of the child. For that reason, determining your schedule and your child’s could help so that you can come up with a decision on time spent on sharing custody with your spouse.

• Make all necessary purchases and sales.

Generally, in most jurisdictions, the courts frequently issue an order at the beginning of a divorce case which would prohibit spouses from selling, buying, or making other significant financial transactions. This is done to prevent either spouse from making drastic financial transactions out of spite.

• Prepare a balance sheet.

You can’t decide on your financial outcomes without having a proper picture of your assets and debts. While it’s generally not necessary to get an accountant, it could help. However, you can also gather all your financial documents to make your own depiction of the situation.

• Develop a support network for yourself.

Generally, an overlooked aspect of a divorce is the emotional rollercoaster it may put you and your family on. While hiring an attorney and obtaining relevant documentation is essential, surrounding yourself with loved ones is also necessary to help you get through this rough time.

After going through all the information provided above, it may seem like there’s a lot to do. However, you don’t have to go through it alone.
With the right Orlando Family Law attorney, you can be guided through the whole process efficiently, and the Law Office of Erin Morse is just the right place for that.

The Law Office of Erin Morse is a Law firm based in Orlando, Florida specializing in Family Law. Here at the Erin Morse Firm, we guarantee you would receive the right amount of guidance, professionalism and the services of experienced lawyers to ensure your case goes in the right direction. Contact us now!

Child Support Modification Lawyers Orlando Florida.

When it comes to child support regulations, even if a child support justification has already been established formally, you can still request child support modification. Whether you require the adjustment to be short-term or long-term, it can be done through a Family Lawyer.

There are multiple reasons for a parent to seek a child support modification. A few of which include:

• A decrease in income.

During a recession period, it is often the case that one of the parents loses their primary source of income. In that case, the parent may be unable to meet the obligation of their child support requests or the primary custody holder may seek an increase in the support. This would be because she/he is unable to support the child due to the amount being insufficient for the child’s support.

• The minor’s increase in responsibility,

As a child starts to grow, his/her needs would also increase. In some cases, children might require braces or might be participating in school activities. The parent holding custody might seek support to assist with the costs associated with the child as he/she ages over the years.

• The increase of familiar responsibilities.

Sometimes, the parent who doesn’t hold custody of the child might remarry or have more children. In that case, the parent may seek to decrease his/her obligation on child support to be able to support his/her subsequent children that may follow. Since that is a reasonable enough request, child support can be modified.

• A large inheritance or a significant increase in income.

If the custodial parent of the child discovers that the non-custodial parent somehow is beneficiary for a large sum of money, the custodial parent may petition the courts for an increase in child support payments. While this is a reasonable request, for this, the non-custodial parent would then have an increase in his/her child support payments to look after his/her child better.

When it comes to child support modification, the courts may either grant a temporary or permanent modification of the child support payments.
Obligations for the payments of child support can be emotionally and financially taxing on the family and children involved. Child support modification is a reasonable and necessary procedure that can occur in many cases. It is typically used to balance finances between two households and maintain fairness.

Once there is an initial support order that takes place, all parties involved have their lives changed. In some cases, this is for the better. However, there are instances where things may go wrong. In these cases, child support modification is essentially beneficial for either party to establish mutual grounds.

To fully understand child support and modification procedures, it is essential to make sure you have the help of a Family Lawyer to guide you through the process. If you’re looking for Child Support Modification Lawyers Orlando Florida, the Erin Morse Law Firm might be the place for you. The Erin Morse Law Firm guarantees all clients are provided with the professional and emotional support they require to divert their cases through the right path. Your needs are our priority.

Orlando Family Law Legal Aid

In a majority of family law cases, it would be a wise decision of having a lawyer to represent you. There may be some cases where lawyers aren’t really a necessity, and you can handle that on your own with the right amount of research and understanding on the matter. However, representing yourself could be a mistake if you do not have the necessary knowledge an capacity to do so.

When it comes to Orlando family law, divorce and child custody is something that can bring a significant amount of stress to anyone’s life. It is essential for all parties involved to be able to handle the case with the right amount of care, research, and fairness. A divorce could cause distress emotionally and financially.

While hiring a Lawyer specializing in family law may be the first option, there are many cases where parties just can’t afford one. For individuals experiencing financial troubles, it could be nearly impossible to find an affordable lawyer to complete a proceeding.

Because of this, Orlando Family Law Legal Aid was introduced to help people who can’t afford private lawyers. Legal aid developed a set of resources which allow people going through legal issues to resolve them through these services. Primarily, legal aid was established to offer support, counseling, and the representation of individuals during their proceedings.

A few of the services offered through legal aid include:

• Legal help.
• Court assistance.
• Family law mediation.
• General family help.
• Legal representation.
• Free or low-cost interviews.

When it comes to family law, financial issues can be very demeaning.
When it comes to legal aid, the finances of the individuals would be tested. This means that there would be a chance that you have to show that you cannot afford to pay the costs of your legal matters. In this case, you will be required to provide a set of information. This information would include precise details about your income, benefits, savings, property, and shares of you and your partner.

However, there are some instances that you can receive legal aid regardless of your financial aspects. In this case, legal aid is available if your child requires care or supervision.

While legal aid is incredibly helpful for many people, the process might be tedious. Affordable lawyers are also something that can be looked into to avoid having to pay for lawyers that are too expensive.

One of the most efficient and most affordable law firms in Orlando is The Law Office of Erin Morse. Through advanced skills, expertise, and professionalism, our firm guarantees each and every client is treated with the utmost respect while being able to divert client cases to the right path. Client satisfaction is our number one priority.