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Orlando Custody & Visitation Law Blog

Ending a marriage through simple dissolution

Those live in Florida may be able to file for a simplified dissolution of marriage if certain requirements are met. Many people choose this route when dissolving a marriage because it may be done quickly. The basic requirements for filing for a simplified dissolution include at least one of the spouses being a Florida resident for six months, and both parties must cooperate throughout the entire process.

If a couple has children, none of them may be minors or dependents. This means that the children must all be over 18 years of age and not dependents due to disabilities or any other reason. Children of one spouse from a previous marriage will not be considered as long as the other spouse has not adopted the children. Additionally, the wife must not be pregnant at the time of the dissolution of the marriage.

Obtaining paternity in Florida

For Florida men who have a child, determining paternity is incredibly important for legal reasons. For example, if the man is determined to be the father of the child, he has the legal right to have his name on the child's birth certificate, obtain medical histories and seek a court order for visitation or child custody, among other rights.

If the child's parents are married, the man is automatically assumed to be the father. If the couple is not married, they can both acknowledge the man's paternity by signing a legal document when the child is born or after the child is born. The acknowledgment of paternity can also occur if the unmarried couple decides to get married after the child is born. However, they will need to update the birth record.

Unmarried dads face fathers' rights hurdles in Florida

If you are a Florida dad who is struggling to assert your parental rights, we may have answers to your legal quandaries. Acknowledging paternity and identifying adoption options are just two of the many concerns that often enter the discussion about fathers' rights. In fact, the gender of a parent should not play a significant role in his or her access to the child. Further, fathers should be allowed to have a voice concerning the adoption of their biological children.

All too often, mothers fail to notify the fathers of their children that they are even pregnant -- and they often avoid telling the dads about giving birth to the child until long after the fact. Even more disturbing is the fact that many women take extreme measures to avoid notifying the fathers of their children about pending adoptions, which puts many dads in a tenuous legal position. Fathers who are unaware that they had a child are often prevented from contesting the adoption of that child.

Child custody relocation: Are your motives pure?

Parents who are considering relocating their families after a divorce may not be aware of the legal restrictions that govern such a decision. In many cases, both ex-spouses are able to agree to relocation, and custody arrangements are modified accordingly. However, child custody can become far more difficult when one parent is seeking relocation and the other does not approve. Before you make the decision to apply for a move-away request from a Florida court, consider the following factors that will play a role in the court's decision.

Judges in your state will want to determine whether the relocation is truly in the best interests of your child. These interests generally include overall welfare, though educational factors such as schools and daycare can also weigh in this decision. Further, the community of friends and family members surrounding the child will be taken into consideration. If you are the parent requesting relocation, make sure that you have identified school and daycare options and that you can present evidence of an existing community of family and friends to provide a support network.

Florida Supreme Court gives child custody rights to lesbian mom

Florida's highest court has made a groundbreaking decision in a same-sex couple's child custody case. The court ruling will clear the way for a lesbian mother to obtain visitation rights with her young son, whom she had legally adopted after her female partner gave birth to the boy. The Florida Supreme Court confirmed a lower-court opinion indicating that the adoptive mother deserved child custody rights.

Official reports show that the women were still together in 2012 when a judge in Sanford granted their application for the formal adoption. However, the relationship became strained and ultimately ended that year. The birth mother had requested that the adoption be nullified; the family court complied.

Back to school tips for the newly divorced

The school year is starting again for most Florida families -- and that could mean some difficulty in transitioning for those who are newly divorced. Preparing yourself for back to school is never a simple task, but it can be even more complicated if your family has just gone through a divorce. The fact is that many splits occur during the first part of the year, so they are finalized in the late summer shortly before school starts. Set yourself up for success by following these simple tips.

First, it is important to ensure that your kids have a smooth transition into the split home format that will prevail during your co-parenting experience. Make sure that your children know where they are staying during the week and on the weekends. They should also know where they will be during the hours after school. Create a routine -- and stick to it. Your kids are already having to juggle different bus routes and overnight bags; simplifying your parenting plan can make the transition much easier.

Telling your spouse that you want a divorce: Consider these rules

If you are considering pursuing a divorce in Florida, you have probably been thinking about approaching your spouse for a long time. Maybe you have even talked to a mental health professional, family member or church leader about your situation. Now, the time has come to break the news about divorce to your spouse. How do you do it? We bring you some tips to help ease the transition from "married" to "divorcing" in your own relationship.

First, it is important to remember that timing is everything when you tell your spouse that you want to terminate your marriage. Be sure that you are having the discussion at a time when you are both calm and have the time to discuss the matter thoroughly. This declaration may come as a surprise to your spouse, so you are treading in sensitive territory. Do not play "the blame game" by explaining everything that your spouse has done wrong; instead, make the situation about you and your personal feelings.

Grandmother disputes child support payment requirements

A Florida grandmother is looking for both compensation and answers after she received notification that she must pay child support for her 2-year-old granddaughter. The woman, age 41, is the mother of the girl's father. That young man turned 18 in January, and so he should be considered legally responsible for the outstanding child support payments. However, it appears that the woman's personal wages have been garnished, leading her to pay more than $3,000 total for her granddaughter. The state has also demanded retroactive child support.

The woman had apparently been paying child support because her son was still considered a minor. In such cases, grandparents may be made "a party to the action" during child support proceedings, but they should not be considered personally obligated to pay. However, those payments should have stopped in January, when he reached the age of majority. There are no Florida statutes that would require a grandparent to pay for child support for a grandchild. After reporting the situation, the woman was told that it would be rectified, but it does not appear that the state has taken any action to fix the problem.

Hedge-fund manager to pay $50,000 in monthly child support

Few Florida residents ever imagine spending $50,000 each month on their child support payments. Yet, that is exactly what a hedge fund manager in New York has been ordered to do after he failed to successfully negotiate new terms for his monthly payments to his ex-fiancee. The woman, whose father is the former head of the venerated HSBC Bank, argued that her ex-fiance had attempted to circumvent a ruling out of Hong Kong. However, the foreign court's decision was affirmed by the Manhattan Supreme Court in July.

In addition to making future child support payments, the 48-year-old man will also be responsible for paying more than $570,000 in overdue child support, including interest and legal fees. The woman, a Hong Kong socialite, had the upper hand after a ruling by an overseas court. The Manhattan court rejected a number of protests from the man's attorneys, who argued that the foreign court did not deserve full consideration under the existing doctrine of comity.

Congressional representative slated for divorce mediation

A government representative from Florida's neighbor to the north has been ordered to work with a mediator to resolve a property division dispute over money for two of his children. The man, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, will work with a mediator to clarify information in his 2010 divorce decree, which required both parents to equalize the amount of money in trusts for their two youngest boys. They were attempting to beef up the younger boys' trust accounts so they would have a value closer to those of their older brothers, who were closer to college age and thus had higher amounts in their trusts.

The couple will be required to schedule a mediation meeting within the month. The woman says she is hopeful that the mediation will help the pair resolve their issues. They have already used negotiations in connection with a reported divorce agreement violation that occurred in 2013, when Sanford apparently visited his ex-wife's home without her assent. In that case, he was visiting the home to watch the Super Bowl with his son.

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