Articles Posted in Visitation

As a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney, I am often asked whether a child timesharing order can be modified after a divorce. In short, yes, parents can change their timesharing agreement. However, if the parents disagree about the modification, the standard under Florida Law is often difficult to satisfy.

After a final decree establishing timesharing is filed with a court, parents may later agree to modify its terms. Although not required, it is advisable to obtain the court’s approval for the modification so that it may later be enforceable it needed. Generally, courts approve modification agreements unless it appears the modification is not in the best interests of the child.

If a parent wants to change an existing timesharing agreement and the other parent will not agree to the change, he or she must petition the court to modify it. Generally, a court will allow a modification if the parent asking for the change can show a “substantial change in circumstances.” Some examples include a geographic move or a change in lifestyle.

You’ve probably heard the concept of “joint custody” in divorce cases. You might think this means that parents share custody of their children equally, with each parent having custody time similar to equal to the other parent. There’s a problem with this idea, however: “joint custody” does not exist in Florida law.

Instead, Florida law has the concept of “shared parenting” — and even this is not exactly what it sounds like. In every divorce case involving children, a judge must issue two separate but similar-sounding orders: one is a “parental responsibility” order and the other is a “time-sharing schedule”. The time-sharing schedule is exactly that: a schedule of the times each parent will have custody over the child or children. A parental responsibility order, however, outlines the parents’ rights and responsibilities.

The differences can be confusing because, under Florida statutes, the parental responsibility order is included in a “parenting plan”. Under this plan, the judge can grant one of three different options: (1) sole parental responsibility, (2) shared parental responsibility, and (3) shared parental responsibility with ultimate responsibility to one parent.

moving.jpg“Can I move out of state as primary parent of my child?” As a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney, I continually receive this question and just received it again in my email. I have also previously written a blog on it.

To briefly answer this question, a parent who has majority timesharing with their child(ren) may move out of state. However, there are a few hoops that need to be jumped first.

Specifically, Florida law requires parents who want to relocate with their children, thus moving more than fifty (50) miles away from the minority timesharing parent, to file with the court a Motion to Relocate. This Motion must be heard and granted by the Court prior to relocating.

paternity.jpgAs a family law attorney in Florida, I often have cases where the parties are not married but they have a child in common. Many people have the false impression that simply because they are on the birth certificate that this acknowledges that they are the father. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Until a Judge signs an Order that orders that you are the father, then the child is not legally yours and will not inherit under your estate as an heir of yours if you pass away. As such, you have no legal rights to the child for timesharing, visitation or parental rights in Florida until a Judge determines that you do. Please contact a Jacksonville family law attorney for help in getting your parental rights established.

money_02.jpgAs a Florida child support lawyer and a Florida child custody attorney, I deal with the percentages of overnights that a parent may spend with their child and how that effects Florida child support laws. The old law used to be that if a non majority time-sharing parent had 40% or more overnights with the child then the child support obligation for that parent would be reduced. Thus, this would lead to one parent fighting for more time with the child and the other parent fighting not to allow it. The true fight was over the money. Now, as of January 2011, the new Florida child support law states that if the non-majority time-sharing parent has 20% or more of the overnights with the child then that will qualify for an alternate child support calculation. The alternate child support calculation is called “Substantial Time Sharing”. Please contact a Florida child support attorney to correctly calculate the amount of support that the alternate support calculation may trigger.

custody.jpegAs a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney I often see cases where one party will do everything in their power to sabotage the other party. This is the worst thing a parent can do who is involved in a child custody battle. Not only can certain actions put that parent in a bad light in front of the Judge but it can also be detrimental to the child.

Therefore, when I begin a case, whether it be a divorce case or a paternity case, among other things I tell the parent the following:

• Do not make disparaging remarks regarding the other parent in the presence of the minor child.

swimming_kids_4.jpgAs a divorce lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida, the hardest thing about divorce is attempting to provide each party time with the children. Setting up a Florida Parenting Plan in a divorce is tricky to provide the most convenient opportunity for each parent to spend quality time with the children. Even Tiger Woods has had to make adjustments in playing in golf tournaments since his Florida divorce. Tiger Woods has had to make concessions and sit out on some major tournaments because the tournaments have fallen on his weekend time with his children. Many people who are experiencing divorce in Florida need a Florida divorce attorney to help maximize the schedule for time-sharing with their children.

money_02.jpgAs a Florida child support attorney and a Florida divorce attorney, I regularly keep up with new laws effecting my clients. As such, there is a new child support law in Florida that states if the non-majority time-sharing parent spends more than twenty percent (20%) of overnights with the child then the Florida child support is drastically cut. This is a change from the old 40% of overnights standard that was previously the law. A Jacksonville child support attorney can assist you in calculating the correct amount of child support owed to you or by you.

People often believe that mothers tend to be more nurturing and better caregiver’s than fathers and thus should be the preferred parent in a custody dispute. As a matter of fact, this is a legal concept, termed the Tender Years Doctrine.

The Tender Years Doctrine is a legal doctrine in child custody cases, which has existed in Family Law since the late 19th century. The doctrine presumes that during a child’s tender years (age thirteen and under), the custody of the child should be that of the mother’s.

However, in Florida this doctrine is no longer applicable. In its place, Florida follows the Best Interests of the Child standard. The Best Interest of the Child standard does not take into consideration a parent’s gender when determining custody.

To find out more about what Florida Courts consider when settling custody disputes or if you need help in a current custody dispute contact a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney today.

Thumbnail image for padma.jpgIn the past few days reports have surfaced that Padhma Lakshmi, the host of Bravo’s highly popular show Top Chef, is being sued for child custody by venture capitalist Adam Dell, the brother of Dell founder and billionaire Michael Dell.

It is being alleged that Mr. Dell, the father of one-year-old Krishna, only gets to see his child for a few hours a week.

Dell’s lawyer stated they had no choice to go to court because Lakshmi “refused to negotiate a reasonable co-parenting agreement.” Whereas, Lakshmi’s rep accused Dell of being “more interested in garnering media attention” than the welfare of their daughter.

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