Orlando Florida Family Law Blog

How can parental alienation impact child custody?

Unfortunately, not every divorce in Orlando is amicable. Sometimes, a couple is engaged in a toxic divorce where emotions run high and the spouses are in constant conflict with one another. While this is not a good situation for the spouses, it is an even worse situation when the couple has a child. In a high conflict divorce, child custody can be a hot-button issue. Both parties want to "win" custody of the child, and may refuse to negotiate a custody schedule that allows both of them to spend quality time with the child.

Sadly, sometimes parents have such a toxic relationship with one another that parental alienation will occur. Parental alienation is a form of mental and emotional abuse. It takes place when one parent tries to make his or her ex-spouse look bad, so that the child will take the side of the parent committing the alienation. It is an effort on the part of one parent to increase their chances of getting sole custody of the child.

Equitable distribution and property division in Florida

Some states in the United States are known as "community property" states. This means that if a couple residing in that state decides to divorce, they both have a right to the full extent of their marital property and debts, and thus it will be split relatively 50-50, with each party walking away with half of the value of the marital estate. When it comes to property division in Florida, however, the state is considered to be an "equitable distribution" state. This means that, while the court will start with the premise that there should be an equal distribution of marital assets and debts, it is not necessary that each party walk away with exactly 50 percent of the marital estate. Instead, the court will consider a number of factors to determine if there is a justification for assigning one party or the other more or less of the marital assets or debts.

One factor is how much each party contributed to supporting the marriage and family. This includes not just supporting the marriage financially, but also includes caring for the children and the home. If one party contributed to the other party's career or education, this will be considered. This is because it is recognized that if one party paid for the other's education or stayed at home to care for the family while their partner climbed the corporate ladder, that party deserves to benefit from the rise in income the other party had.

Florida residents with significant assets may want a post-nup

Many people in Florida have heard of premarital agreements, also known as prenuptial agreements. Some may even have executed one prior to getting married. These are valuable documents that can ensure that, should the couple later divorce, financial issues such as asset division and alimony will be resolved much more smoothly. Of course, for a variety of reasons, a couple may never get around to executing a premarital agreement. When this happens, do couples in Florida have any other options to protect their financial interests in advance should their marriage not last?

Like a premarital agreement, a "postnuptial" agreement can also address how a couple's assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce and whether one spouse will pay the other alimony. Postnuptial agreements can address other divorce legal issues as well. However, unlike a premarital agreement, a postnuptial agreement is executed after the couple is married.

Are you concerned about these signs of divorce?

Are you beginning to wonder if you are in a healthy marriage? Have you come to realize that divorce could be moving in on you if you don't make some changes? Are you beginning to look into the divorce process, as you feel it could be the best way to better your life?

It's important to become familiar with the early warning signs of divorce, as these can help you make better personal decisions in regard to your marriage.

When must a biological father establish paternity in Florida?

When a child is born to married parents in Florida, the husband is legally presumed to be the child's father, with all the rights that entails should the couple divorce. However, this is not the case for unmarried parents. If a child's parents are not married at the time of the child's birth, then the child's biological father must establish paternity in order to obtain parental rights to the child. This becomes especially important when the child's unmarried parents are no longer in a relationship with one another, and the child's biological father wants to pursue his rights regarding parental responsibility and time-sharing.

One way to establish paternity is for both of the parents to execute and file a Paternity Acknowledgment form at the medical facility where the child is born. The form needs to be witnessed by a notary public, which the medical facility will provide. However, paternity cannot be established this way if the mother is married to another man at the time of the child's birth.

Bringing clarity to the property division process

When a person in Orlando is going through the divorce process, there are many decisions that must be made. Some of the most important decisions divorcing couples will make involve what to do with their marital property. Who, if anyone, will keep the family home? What about the automobiles? How will they divide furniture, electronics, artwork and other household goods? Whatever decisions are made during the marital property division process, it is important to keep in mind that these decisions could affect a person's entire financial future. Therefore, there is no room for any mistakes to be made.

When it comes to property division, Florida is considered to be a "equitable division" state. Therefore, the marital property a couple amasses will split in a manner that the court deems to be fair. This means that a "50-50" division of property is not always the end result. Before making decisions on property division, it can help to consult with a professional.

Assisting Florida parents with their child custody needs

When it comes to child custody and visitation issues in the aftermath of a couples' relationship or during a divorce, the trend is leaning more towards equal time-sharing. This allows both parents to have a relationship with their child.

Children often fare better following a divorce if their parents are amicable with one another. This may happen when the child gets to spend quality time with each parent, and the parents work together with regards to child custody exchanges. Unfortunately, sometimes a parent will try to keep the child from seeing the other parent. This may be in violation of the parents' child custody order. If that order is not followed, there could be legal consequences. Therefore, if a parent is unhappy with a current child custody order, they may be better off seeking a modification of it through the court system.

Florida man fights for rights to a child born to a married mother

A Florida man recently went to court in his pursuit of parental rights over his biological child. At issue is the fact that the child's biological mother is denying the child's biological father rights to his child, because another man has been legally recognized by the state as the child's legal father. The court needs to determine whether it is in the best interests of the child for the child to have a relationship with his biological father.

The child's biological father had an on-again-off-again relationship with the child's mother during the time period in which she and her husband were undergoing a separation period, but were technically still married. The child's mother gave birth to a child fathered by the Florida man who was not her husband. However, the Florida man was unaware that he did not have rights to his biological child. The child's mother gave testimony that she never intended to end her marriage with her husband, and she objected to the Florida man's paternity action.

These divorce mistakes are preventable

Going through the divorce process will be one of the biggest challenges of your life. Even if you're ready to end your marriage, it doesn't mean that everything will move forward in a smooth and efficient manner.

While you're sure to face challenges along the way, you have full control over the decisions you make. For this reason, you can do your part in preventing common divorce mistakes that could bring additional stress to your life.

Can you get custody of a pet in a divorce?

Many of us in Florida think of our pets like members of the family. It comes as a shock to some people that, when it comes to divorce, state courts treat pets just like any other asset in the property division process.

In a landmark 1995 case, the Florida Court of Appeals ruled that a couple's pet dog was the separate property of the defendant, and therefore overturned a lower court's order that gave the plaintiff visitation with the pet. To date, this remains the only published decision in which a higher Florida court addressed the legal status of pets in divorce.

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