child custody case

One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce or child custody case is the development of a Parenting Plan that governs both parents’ relationship with their child and with each other, and how they will share time with their child.  Florida law is gender neutral, meaning there is no preference for or against the father or mother of the child, or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule in a child custody case. Thus, if you need assistance with a child custody case you should contact a child custody law firm in Tampa for counsel. Many child custody attorneys in Tampa will offer a free consultation for these types of matters.

Best Interests of Child in Child Custody Case

In creating a Parenting Plan, it is important to know that Florida favors frequent and continuing contact between both parents and their child after they separate or divorce.  This includes encouraging parents to share the rights, responsibilities and joys of child custody.  In creating a Parenting Plan, the court’s primary concern is the “best interest of the child.”  The court will determine the best interests of the child by evaluating all of the following factors affecting the child and the circumstances of the family:

Factors a Judge Will Consider in a Florida child custody case

The factors considered by judges in a Florida child custody case are located at Florida Statutes section 61.13(2)(c)2 and include the following:

  • Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor a time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
  • Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to their own needs or desires for child custody
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory home environment, and whether it is the child’s best interest to remain in that environment.
  • The moral fitness of the parents. When considering a parent’s moral fitness, the court will focus on whether the parent’s conduct has had or is reasonably likely to have a direct adverse impact on the child.  The mere possibility of an adverse impact is not enough., see child custody case McKinnon v. Staats.
  • The mental and physical health of the parents.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court believes the child is reasonably able to express a preference. A child’s preference, however, cannot be the sole factor for the court to determine a parenting plan.  See Florida child custody case, Garvey v. Garvey.
  • Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to be informed of the child’s circumstances, including the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
  • Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to communicate with the other parent and keep them informed of issues and activities regarding the child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues regarding child custody.
  • Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
  • The particular parenting tasks and division of parental responsibilities customarily performed by each parent before and during the court case, including the extent to which persons other than the parents have exercised parental responsibilities.
  • Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
  • Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to protect the child from the ongoing court case, including not discussing the case with the child, not sharing information related to the case with the child, and not saying bad things about the other parent to the child.
  • Any other factor that is relevant to the child custody case and best interests of the child.

Child Custody Law Firm

Your Tampa child custody attorney should discuss each of these factors with you in detail so that he or she can present the court with evidence regarding those factors that may apply to your case.  If you would like more information, please contact us to schedule a consultation with a child custody lawyer in Tampa. The Tampa child custody attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. know what judges consider when determining the best interest of the child and use their knowledge of the law and litigation skills to aggressively represent our clients. To speak with a Tampa child custody lawyer at our firm call us today at 800 990 7763, we are available 24/7 to answer your calls.

How to win a child relocation case in Florida

After a parenting plan has been issued in Florida, steps must be taken before relocating with the child. Under Florida child custody law, a relocation means that the party is seeking to relocate with the children at least 50 miles away from their current residence. See Florida child custody law 61.13001.  The easiest way how to win a child relocation case in Florida is to obtain consent from the other parent. If both parents agree to the relocation it will make the process a lot easier.

If the parents are not in agreement the court will need to intervene to determine whether or not the proposed relocation is in the child’s best interests. In cases such as these, it is crucial to have a child custody attorney at your side to help win a child relocation case in Florida. If you are contemplating relocating or need to prevent a relocation contact a child custody attorney for assistance.

How to Win a Child Relocation Case in Florida When Both Parents Consent

In petitions for relocation, a Florida family law judge must evaluate the petition to determine if the proposed relocation is in the child’s best interests. If both parents agree to the relocation the judge will very likely grant the request. If there is no agreement on the relocation, the judge will apply Florida child custody law to determine if the relocation should be granted over the non-relocating parent’s objections.

The petition for relocation must include a description of the location of the intended new residence with the mailing address, the home telephone number of the intended new residence, the date of the intended move, the reasons for the intended move,  and the post-relocation schedule for time-sharing (Parenting Plan).  The petition must then be served on every other person entitled to access to and time-sharing with the child.

How to Win a Child Relocation Case in Florida When the Other Parent Objects

The judge must decide the outcome based on what the judge considers to be in the child’s best interests of the child. Under Florida child custody law, a Florida family law judge may consider the following:   (a) the nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent proposing the relocation and the other parent not relocating, (b) the age and developmental stage of the child, their needs, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s overall development, (c) the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through a substitute arrangement taking into account the difficulty the distance will create, (d) if appropriate, the child’s preferences, (e) whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the parent (f) both parent’s reasons for relocating or opposing the relocation, (g) the current employment and economic circumstances of each parent and if the relocation will improve the circumstances, (h) the relocation is sought in good faith, (i) the available opportunities to the objecting parent if the relocation occurs, (j) if there is a history of substance abuse or domestic violence as defined in Florida Statute 741.28, (k) any other factor affecting the best interest of the child or as set forth in Florida Child Custody Law 61.13.

In child custody cases, it is vital to understand how judge’s think and process these sorts of cases. A Florida family law judge will have a lot of discretion on how to apply the factors enumerated in the statute above. An experienced child custody attorney should be able to help present the facts of the case in a way that is most favorable to their client. If you are trying to figure out how to win a child relocation case in Florida contact a child custody law firm for legal counsel.

Don’t Resort to Self Help to Win a Child Relocation Case in Florida

It is highly recommended to not resort to “self-help” when trying to relocate with a child. Self-help refers to taking actions without the approval of the courts, figuring, “I’ll deal with that part later,” or “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.”  Moving outside of the fifty-mile radius without first obtaining court approval may be a violation of the parenting plan that can result in changes to your rights and responsibilities as a parent.

Similarly, if your ex relocates without telling you or obtaining court approval you should contact a child custody attorney for help right away. Family law judges do not want a parent to attempt remedy the situation on their own without seeking court intervention. Resorting to self-help can significantly impact your ability to win a child relocation case in Florida.

Tampa Child Custody Law Firm

If you are in the middle of a child custody relocation case or thinking about relocating call us today to speak with a child custody attorney. At Florida Law Advisers, we take these matters very seriously and will stand firm for what is fair. We have years of experience in both advocating for and against relocation. Our professional legal team is dedicated and passionate about these matters and will work tirelessly to help achieve the outcome you desire. To speak with a Tampa family law attorney at our firm call us today at 800 990 7763, we are available to answer your calls 24/7.

how to contest paternity in Florida

When a man and a woman are married in the State of Florida, our law presumes that children born during that marriage are the product of the wife who had the child and her legal husband.  Florida family law creates what is known as a presumption that the husband of the mother is the father of the children born during the marriage.  See child custody case O’Bryan v. Doe.  The presumption means that without evidence to the contrary, the judge and law will assume the husband is the child’s father. This can be problematic, as the husband will not always be the biological father. Thus, in many cases, clients need to know how to contest paternity in Florida. The best way to resolve the issue of how to contest paternity in Florida is to contact a child custody lawyer for assistance. Many child custody law firm in Tampa will offer a free consultation for these types of situations.

How to Contest Paternity in Florida Through a Divorce Case

If filing for divorce, you may be able to efficiently resolve the issue of how to contest paternity in Florida. If a divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is anticipated, you can allege (or say) in the petition for dissolution of marriage (the initial filing) that the husband is not the father of the child or children of the marriage.  So long as the husband is personally served  and does not object to this allegation, the judge may enter a final judgement stating that the parties are divorced and that the (now ex-) husband is not the legal or biological father of the children at issue.  This route will likely be one of the easiest means to put the issue of how to contest paternity in Florida behind you.

If the husband objects and wants to state that he is, in fact, the child or children’s father, it becomes very difficult to overcome the legal presumption that the husband is the legal father.  See Florida paternity case Parker v. Parker.  An experienced child custody attorney can help you navigate these waters, which are very fact-specific to each individual situation and outcomes by judges vary.  If you are involved in a custody or divorce case where you need help on how to contest paternity in Florida contact a child custody attorney in Tampa for assistance.

How to Contest Paternity in Florida with a Disestablishment of Paternity

Under Florida paternity law, there is a method of accomplishing a disestablishment of paternity for children conceived during the marriage.  A male who does not think that he is the father of a child and needs to know how to contest paternity in Florida should consider filing a petition to disestablish paternity.  The court will need that male to show newly discovered evidence; separately, scientific evidence (a DNA test); and sign an affidavit that alleges the specific facts which would suggest he is not the father of the child or children in questionSee Florida Statute 742.18.

Florida law on disestablishment of paternity does not afford the same rights to the mother if she wishes to disestablish paternity.  Either way, courts are very wary to change the familial situation of minor children and no matter who is making the claim, a child custody attorney should be consulted in matters where you need assistance on how to contest paternity in Florida.

Child Custody Law Firm in Tampa

If you need to establish your child custody rights or disestablish paternity call us today to speak with a child custody attorney. At Florida Law Advisers, we take these matters very seriously and will stand firm for what is fair. Our professional legal team is dedicated and passionate about these matters and will work tirelessly to help achieve the outcome you desire. To speak with a family law attorney at our firm call us today at 800 990 7763, we are available to answer your calls 24/7.

guardian ad litem

A  guardian ad litem (GAL) can be a very helpful person in child custody cases. In some cases, a GAL is automatically appointed by the Court. In other child custody cases, there must be a request to appoint a GAL and approval from a judge. Guardian ad litems can be very helpful but are not appropriate for all child custody cases. Before asking a judge to appoint a GAL you should speak with a Tampa child custody attorney for advice about your specific case.

Purpose of a Guardian Ad Litem

The guardian ad litem program’s mission is “I am for the child” meaning that the guardian ad litem is there to advocate solely for the best interests of the child, not for the interests of either parent or a third party. A GAL is given power to investigate the situation that a child is in and to determine the best interests of that child. Further, Florida law states that the guardian ad litem  “shall act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate but shall act in the child’s best interests. A guardian ad litem shall have the powers, privileges, and responsibilities to the extent necessary to advance the best interests of the child.” See Florida Statute 61.403

Investigation by the Guardian Ad Litem

The guardian ad litem will be required to visit all the children they are appointed to every 30 days. A visit is not required to be any specific length or at any specific place. The GAL must see the child’s placement each time they are taken to a new placement. If the guardian ad litem thinks that there are any safety concerns in any given placement then the proper authorities are notified.

The goal of the parent’s case plan is generally reunification at the beginning of the process. The parents are given a time frame that they must complete their case plan by, generally this time frame is a year. If there is little to no progress in the parent’s case plan then the goal can be changed to adoption or permanent guardianship. This process takes time and the guardian ad litem must still conduct their monthly visits. Once a new placement has been found or the child has been re-unified with their parents the GAL conducts visits for another 6 months or longer to make sure the child is thriving and safe in home.

Training Required for a Guardian Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem goes through a training process that involves both online and classroom learning over a course of approximately 30 hours. There is also an interview process to limit the candidates to those that are serious about helping children and that the program feels will not determinately effect the child that has been through some rough times already. The training prepares the guardian ad litem to maneuver through possible situations that they may find themselves having to deal with. More information about the training process and what the purpose of a GAL is can be found by clicking here.  Each Court in Florida has slightly different rules and guidelines when it comes to the training and use of a guardian ad litem. For more information about a specific Court’s requirements contact a child custody lawyer in your area.

Child Custody Law Firm in Tampa

If you need to start or are in the middle of an ongoing child custody case contact Florida Law Advisers to speak with a child custody attorney. At Florida Law Advisers, we take these matters very seriously and will stand firm for what is fair. Our professional legal team is dedicated and passionate about these matters and will work tirelessly to help achieve the outcome you desire. To speak with a child custody lawyer in Tampa  call us today at 800 990 7763, we are available to answer your calls 24/7.

default divorce

If you have received notice of a divorce, child custody, or child support case filed against you it is crucial to respond quickly and correctly. When a party does not respond to a divorce or child custody petition, a default divorce can be entered against that party. Normally, a person served with a Florida divorce petition or child custody case only has 20 days to file a response. If a response is not timely filed, the petitioner (person filing the case) can request a default divorce be entered against the other party. Default divorce judgments can be helpful but are not right for every case. If you need legal advice you should contact a divorce attorney in Tampa for a consultation.

What is a Default Divorce in Florida

If a default is entered the case can continue forward without participation by the defaulted party and a default divorce judgment may be entered by the judge. Further, the Court can enter the default without even having a hearing on the matter. If the Court enters a default, the defendant/ respondent will not have an opportunity to contest the merits case or raise defenses. See Residential v. Rector. Moreover, if you are defaulted you may not even be entitled to notice of future court hearings or other activity. See Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.

Clerk Default Divorce vs. Judicial Default Divorce

Under Florida law, there are two types of default: clerk and judicial. Clerk default occurs when a party fails to respond in any form to the petition. The second category of default, judicial default, takes place when a party fails to plead or defend against the claims against them. A party can plead or defend claims against them at any time before a default is entered against them. Conversely, once the default is entered the defaulted party is deemed to have waived their defenses and is treated as having admitted all the allegations. See State Farm v. Horkheimer.

A clerk’s default can be entered without even a hearing or notice to the nonresponding party. On the other hand, a judicial default generally requires a hearing and notice of the hearing to be sent to the nonresponding party. At the hearing for a judicial default divorce, the party will have an opportunity to try and persuade the judge to not enter the default divorce.

The outcome of a family law case can have drastic consequences on your finances and family. If you have been notified of a family law case against you it is important to contact an attorney for assistance as soon as possible. If an adequate response is not timely filed, you may lose your right to defend against the case.

Tampa Divorce Law Firm

 If you have been served with a lawsuit, such as a divorce petition or child custody case contact Florida Law Advisers to speak with a divorce attorney in Tampa. Each case is different, and our vast experience allows us to cater our services to each client’s individual situation. Our professional legal team is passionate about these matters and work tirelessly to represent our clients. To speak with an attorney call us today at 800 990 7763, we are available to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.