Articles Posted in Child Custody

Facebook is a good resource to communicate with old friends. Some people find it useful for such odd things as improving your heart rate or landing a job by networking. But one thing using Facebook may hurt is your chances of getting a fair hearing if you are going through a Florida Divorce or a Child Custody proceeding.

Facebook based circumstantial evidence has been used by 81percent of its members according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

You are probably thinking that you set your facebook account’s privacy settings high and you’ve blocked your ex, so they can’t see damaging information. But that does not stop your “friends” from forwarding damaging information.

While most of us look forward to a happy New Year as we head into January, many couples in Jacksonville marital problems are thinking about taking the first steps towards separation.

Winter is widely regarded in the legal profession as the busiest time of year. Jacksonville Divorce lawyers find that a lot of people who are having marriage difficulties try to get through Christmas, especially if they have children to think about, but once the stressful festivities are over, they see the New Year as the ideal time to make a fresh start.

Legal Seperation in Florida is not valid so the decision and implementation of a separate is one of the most important step in ending a relationship. the decisions you may during seperation or without advice of counsel can affect you for the rest of your life. It can change the division of assets, child custody, child support and even who gets to keep the marital home. The emotional upheaval, worries about how much the divorce will cost, and how it will affect your children make it a time fraught with worry and uncertainty.

As most everyone realizes, some child custody cases can quickly become heated between the two feuding parents. More often than one might like to admit, one of the parents might engage in some less than honorable behavior. One millionaire father in Florida recently did just that and is now finding himself in hot water.

The Florida dad decided to take his custody case into his own hands, ignoring the ruling by the judge presiding over his divorce. While his actions did help resolve the dispute in his favor, it also ended with a jail sentence of 180 days. Not quite the bargain he was hoping for.

So what did the dad do to warrant such severe criminal sanctions? He made the mistake of ignoring a judge. Family law judges have tremendous power in custody cases and when they issue an order requiring specific action, failure to follow that order can result in an individual being held in contempt of court. In the Florida case, the father was ordered to enroll his son in a boarding school across the country. Apparently believing that he knew best, the father ignored the judge and instead consented to the minor son’s marriage.

As a Jacksonville custody lawyer, I often deal with cases where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Florida has started an investigation of parents because someone has anonymously called in an allegation of abuse on the child. When DCF begins an investigation, often the Department will remove the child from the parent’s home. This is called a “shelter”. If you or someone you know has been accused of harming a child and DCF is investigating, you need a custody attorney in Jacksonville, Florida to help you. There is a chance that the Department could terminate your parental rights and place your child up for adoption in the future without the help of a skilled Jacksonville, Florida custody lawyer who is trained in dependency in Florida.

For much of 2012, the news of the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce was almost inescapable in the news media. The stories in the media all seemed to follow a similar arc -Katie Holes was brainwashed and had become a sort of zombie for Scientology. She had broken free to raise her child away from the Church. The story almost seemed like it could be from an episode of Mission Impossible –a secretive exit from her home with her child in tow to a downtown Manhattan apartment, switching cell phones and keeping Mr. Cruise in the dark. But somewhat lost in the motion picture-like drama is what may have caused the split, and how you might learn from Mr. Cruise and Ms. Holmes mistakes.

Ms. Holmes was raised a Catholic, but converted to Scientology after getting engaged to Mr. Cruise in 2005. Once the couple married and started planning to raise their daughter the problems arose.

For about 18 months prior to their split, the couple had frequent disagreements over how to raise their six-year-old daughter. Ms. Holmes seemed to bristle at the demands of raising a child according to Scientology’s rules. When Holmes exited the marriage, the couple’s settlement agreement gave her the lead role in choosing how their daughter would be educated. Holmes report ably has become a Catholic again.

During the holidays, the stress level for many Florida families inevitably goes up. With the much of Florida still stuck in the 2009 recession, unemployment still very high and the foreclosure rate in and around Jacksonville still at record levels, when family problems creep into the picture, stress can go through the roof. Add a separation or dissolution of marriage to the picture and the situation can seem unbearable.

Competing parents can make this unseeingly unbearable situation far worse by fighting over sharing time with their children. But a wise parent, with their eye on the long term will add perspective to their thought process. How do you add that perspective? By remembering two things. First, just because the holidays do not seem like a joyous time right now, does not mean that your children feel the same way. Find ways to hide this stress from your children. Don’t make them associate the holidays with economic and marital stress.

Second, instead of fighting with the competing parent, why not talk things through? Most parents don’t want their children to go through the stress of a divorce and when both parents share that attitude, the stress of sharing time with their children decreases with the level of cooperation.

Florida courts will consider modification of a child custody order only if the parent requesting the custody modification is able to prove a substantial change in circumstances. Under Florida law, a “substantial change in circumstances” means a substantial, permanent and involuntary material change. In other words, the change cannot be temporary, it cannot be caused by something the parent voluntarily did and the change must be big enough to warrant the court changing the original parenting plan or custody agreement.

Only after the court has been satisfied that the change in circumstances is substantial, will it then move on to consider what is in the best interest of the child. The reason for this is to prevent constant back and forth motions to change custody which would be destabilizing for the children. It also helps prevent the court from becoming overburdened with frequent and repetitive modification requests.

Parent relocation is one of the most common grounds for seeking a change in custody. The modification request may be submitted by a relocating parent who wants to take the child with them, or a parent opposing relocation who wants the child be placed with them. Some courts switch custody from one parent to the other, although the increasingly common approach is to ask the parents to work out a plan under which both parents may continue to have significant contacts with their children.

Many celebrity marriages are over in the blink of an eye. What can average citizens learn from the divorce mistakes of the rich and famous? Plenty.

1. Get a prenup

When Mel Gibson divorced, he was reported to have cut his $900 million fortune in half. Madonna’s ex, Guy Ritchie, is said to have walked away with an extra $90 million for his time spent with the singer. Kelsey Grammer, of Frasier fame, had to shell out $50 million to a former Playboy Playmate. Why did they all pay so much? Not because of their generosity, that’s for sure. All these people foolishly lacked prenuptial agreements. Even if you don’t have the amount of money they have, a prenup can help secure the assets you will need if your marriage fails.

We hear a lot about how the courts are biased in favor of mothers when deciding child custody. Several different studies show that there might be more to the story as other factors come into play with why fathers are less involved in their children’s lives post-divorce.

The following statistics come from a Pew Research Center analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). According to the report, a married father spends on average 6.5 hours a week taking part in primary child care activities with his children. This compares to an average of 12.9 hours for married moms. The study points that that two-income households are now the norm and that the data reveals more mothers are working and doing extra child care. This gap and the increased time spent caring for children may be one reason women are more likely to retain primary custody after a divorce.

Even more surprising are the statistics regarding fathers time with children post-divorce. The results mentioned in the Huffington Post show that when fathers and children live separately, only 22% see their children more than once a week. An additional 29% see their kids one to four times a month. Sadly, a full 27% of dads have no contact with their children at all. These numbers further reflect a possible reason for the gap in custody awards during a divorce.

American Actress and Model Halle Berry has been engaged in an emblazoned custody battle with her former boyfriend Gabriel Aubry. Berry has asked that their child, four year old Nahla, be permitted to leave with Berry to live in France. The Los Angeles Court must determine that the move is in the best interest of the child to permit it. The same standard is used here in Florida to permit a moving parent to relocate more than 50 miles away from the other parent.

Proving “best interest of the child” is not always an easy standard. It typically involves a weighing of the pros and cons of moving or staying. In Berry’s case, she argues that France has stronger protection for Nahla from the great amount of media attention she would otherwise get here in the states. This sounds like a good argument. Surely, a great amount of media attention and privacy invasion is bad for a child.

Mr. Aubry argues that the real reason for the move is Berry following her new fiance, Oliver Martinez, whom is a french film actor. He cites the fact that she has had two earlier failed marriages which is evidence that this marriage too, is likely to fail.

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