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Orlando FL Divorce Law Blog

Helping young children cope with separation and divorce

For a small child, divorce can feel like the loss of a parent or the life that they knew. Although that is not the case, parents often worry about how their child will cope with their separation or divorce and what they can do to help them. The good news is that there are actually several ways to support a young child during this difficult transition.

Parents have the biggest role in making the child's life easier while going through a divorce. Don't give up if you are separated by distance, and don't become discouraged if you miss an important milestone. Remember that your child needs you now more than ever. Here are three simple steps that parents should consider when their young child is coping with separation or divorce.

There is no 'one size fits all' solution to child custody

Parents often bristle at the mere mention of child custody and end up bracing themselves for a bitter, ugly dispute where one person "wins" and the other "loses." However, your case does not have to be this way. There are so many ways to approach custody and parenting that there is very likely a solution that allows you -- and more importantly, your kids -- to feel comfortable with a parenting plan.

Let's imagine a scale. On one end of the scale is the extremely amicable split, and on the other end is an extremely contentious split. There is going to be a different solution for custody at both the extremes and everything in the middle.

Clearing up some costly child support misconceptions

Child support, while it is a financial obligation, is about more than just money. It is a way for a parent to participate in a child's life and help provide the things that child needs.

Unfortunately, too many people fail to appreciate the importance and nature of child support and end up making some unwise decisions that ultimately hurt themselves and their children. Before you make a potentially bad decision, you want to be sure that you understand the basics of child support are not falling victim to some common misconceptions.

9 ways to ease the tension during custody exchanges

Sharing custody of your child with another parent is an emotionally challenging obligation. It is only natural for a parent to feel sad, anxious, jealous, bitter and perhaps resentful when the time comes to exchange custody.

However, as valid as your emotions are, it is crucial that you not let them get the best of you. These custody swaps are also difficult for your children, so you must consider their experience and take whatever steps you can to make exchanges as smooth as possible. The following tips can help you do this when you are the parent dropping off a child.

How societal pressures can play a role in alimony requests

When alimony laws were first established in a lot of states, women only made up a fraction of the workforce. As a result, a majority of women relied on their husband's income to provide them with financial stability. Divorce was a figurative death sentence for a lot of women because it left them unable to support themselves financially unless they were able to secure alimony payments.

But times have changed - obviously - and now, women make up nearly 47 percent of the workforce, according to a graph for the United States Department of Labor. In many households, men are no longer considered the "bread winners," but rather women are. As you can imagine, this has created a unique dynamic in our culture that causes men and women alike to hesitate when asking for alimony during divorce proceedings. 

What are the benefits of establishing paternity?

In the last few decades, society has shifted away from the traditional married-mother-father family and has embraced an amalgamation of single mothers living with a child's father to mother's living separately but sharing custody amicably as well as any combination in between. Though there is nothing wrong with this shift, it does put more emphasis on establishing paternity now more than ever before.

Establishing paternity creates a legally-binding link between father and child. Once this link is created, a father is better able to assert his parental rights, which can be impossible to do without established paternity. But did you know that establishing paternity doesn't just benefit fathers? It's benefits mothers and their children as well. 

Does a child in Florida have a say in a custody arrangement?

When it comes to the process of determining a child custody arrangement, the law in Florida is fairly straightforward: focus on the child's best interests. It's a point we've talked about before and outlined specifically in this post. But as a lot of parents in our state have discovered, "a child's best interests" involves a number of factors.

From the physical and mental health of each parent to the location of their homes, judges do not make determinations about child custody arrangements after considering only a single factor. Many things are taken into consideration, which leads us into this question:

Preparation in case of divorce can pay off later

Nobody in a happy marriage wants to consider what their lives would be like if they had to get divorced. For many people in Florida, a divorce would be a worst-case scenario for their lives, even if the possibility seems remote. Sadly, many women are caught unprepared if a divorce suddenly becomes a reality -- either because their husbands unexpectedly file, or because circumstances dictate that they file for divorce in a hurry themselves.

This is why many financial advisers and accountants advocate that women, whenever possible, maintain a cash reserve that they can access in case conditions deteriorate quickly. Doing so ahead of time -- even if a couple never even considers a divorce -- can provide peace of mind and function as a safety net. It's crucial to get issues such as child support, alimony and child custody right the first time, instead of having to revisit them later.

The Child Custody Business Trip (Part I)

The trend in Florida Child Custody arrangements, otherwise known as Parenting Plans has clearly been towards shared parental responsibility, with equal time-sharing (the visitation schedule). This is where both parents exercise 50% of the time with their children and is also commonly referred to as rotating custody, given the "back and forth" exchanges of the children. The law provides that there shall be no presumption for or against a Mother or Father in determining child custody and the associated parenting plan and time-sharing schedule. There are numerous factors that must be considered by a court in establishing its parenting-plan. The best interests of the child is always of paramount concern, but the other factors may reign supreme. For example, which parent is more likely to promote a relationship between the children and the other parent. Good question. For this reason, parents must be advised of all of the statutory legal factors and strictly comply with them. Doing so will enable them to achieve their objectives and the best possible outcome for themselves and their children. In the process, it may be wise to consider whether your child is ready for a business trip. To be continued...

What you need to know about Florida fathers' rights

Fathers in Florida child custody cases may feel that they are at a built-in disadvantage. Many people might think that when it comes to custody arrangements, mothers are assumed by the courts to be able to provide a better environment for kids than fathers are. While this may have been the case in the past, it is most certainly not how things work today.

In fact, laws in the state of Florida surrounding child custody do not presume to favor one parent over the other. This means that, at least in theory, fathers have just as good of a chance as mothers do to end up with at least a share of physical custody as well as sharing in legal custody.

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