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Southwest Florida Bankruptcy Law Blog

Avoiding dichotomy in shared parenting "house rules"

Even though Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes covers shared parenting as it relates to the best interests of the child, the reality of joint custody agreements is that some divorced parents tend to put their own interests ahead of their children's when it comes to house rules. In many cases, divorcing parents will project their bickering onto the rules they seek to impose on their young children.

When a marriage is irretrievably broken, former spouses will often fail to find common ground on many aspects of their lives, particularly in relation to co-parenting. Unfortunately, this failure tends to spill over into the lives of their children. From a developmental point of view, a shared custody agreement that involves a child going from one household to another is difficult enough. Putting up with different sets of rules imposed by parents who are not on the same parenting page could make the situation worse.

The case for shared parenting

Research and evidence from other countries indicate that many Florida divorcing couples who have young children may benefit from shared parenting arrangements. Shared parenting means that both parents have roughly equal amounts of time and responsibilities for caring for children after a divorce or separation. There is strong evidence that a shared parenting arrangement benefits all of the parties involved.

Historically, shared parenting has not been the standard in the United States. Divorce courts still award mothers physical custody in the majority of cases. This means that fathers generally have only visitation rights and limited contact with their children. While often considered a victory for mothers, it is often detrimental to them. It saddles the mother with the full responsibilities of child care and housekeeping while maintaining the father indirectly as the breadwinner or monetary provider through child support. The mother's ability to maintain or advance her career and enter the workforce is often disrupted.

How to parent with a difficult former spouse

After a divorce, one parent may make co-parenting difficult. However, there are steps that a Florida parent can take that may improve the situation and reduce conflict with the other parent.

The parent should focus on the child's needs, and understanding what triggers the other parent might help in maintaining control of the situation. Focusing on the child and sidestepping these triggers means communicating only about the child with the ex and avoiding other contentious topics, including those that led to the divorce, outside of those parameters.

Will the business of divorce affect your small business?

The decision to divorce does not mean that your Florida small business will cease to function. In fact, your family-owned business can continue to prosper, even while you walk through the entire divorce process. However, the end of your marriage will affect your business in a few ways. For example, which spouse will keep the business? Can you share ownership after divorce? Is it possible to retain full or sole ownership?

Determining what will happen to your business after a divorce is a long and complex process. Issues such as marital property and asset distribution are not easy matters to navigate. One of the first steps that you can take to ensure the protection of your business interests is to seek an accurate and up-to-date valuation of your business assets. 

How to handle car insurance in a divorce

When it comes to issues related to divorce, Florida residents may not put much thought into what happens to their car insurance policy. While it may be tempting to kick a former spouse off of a policy, it cannot happen without that person's consent. Insurance companies may ask that a removal request be presented in writing to prove that consent has been given.

It is also important to point out that both individuals on the policy share liability until they get separate addresses or finalize their divorce. In many cases, it is easier for the first person named on an insurance policy to keep it. If a policy is bundled, the person named on the other policies should keep those as well. The other person should then get a new car insurance policy either with the same company or another of his or her choosing.

Getting a DNA test when requesting child support

When an unmarried woman is seeking child support, Florida family law courts often require DNA testing before the man is ordered to make payments. Due to the advances in technology, DNA testing has high accuracy rates, leaving no doubt whether or not a man is related to the child.

If a child is conceived when a mother and father are not married, a court will not automatically consider the man to be the child's legal father. Until a DNA test has been completed, the man is referred to as the alleged father. Alleged fathers have the option of not being included on the child's birth certificate until it has been confirmed that they are the biological fathers. Once paternity has been established, fathers may be required to pay child support but they may also be granted certain parental rights.

Custody and support decisions for Blac Chyna, Rob Kardashian

Florida residents who are "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" might know about the custody battle involving Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna, but others may not be familiar with the family law decisions the former couple faces. When the pair got together in the beginning of 2016, they quickly fell in love and became engaged. They had a baby girl during their short romance and were even given a reality show spinoff.

After a cycle of getting back together and breaking up again, the couple split for good. The parents are trying to work out a child custody agreement despite the tension between them. Kardashian reportedly got upset about Chyna being in a new relationship and posted naked pictures of her on a social media account.

Establishing paternity to outline rights and responsibilities

Paternity is a complex legal issue that affects every member of a Florida family. There likely are various reasons why paternity is not immediately clear or legally recognized, but either the mother or father may move to do so at any time. Once established, this would outline both the rights and responsibilities of both parents.

Establishing paternity is the legal process of declaring the identity of a child's biological father. There are benefits to doing this, including benefits for the children. If you are a father seeking rightful access to your children or you are a mother seeking financial support, you may need to know how this process works in Florida.

Why child support calculators may not be accurate

When a Florida couple is heading towards divorce, determining how much the non-custodial parent may be required to pay in child support may be a priority. Before the couple heads to court, they could use a child support calculator to estimate the child support payments. However, it should be noted that the amount is only an estimation and a parent may be ordered to pay more or less by the court.

All states offer some form of child support calculator that allows parents to estimate the amount of child support they may be responsible for paying. However, these are not always accurate due to the fact that judges are required to use the state's statutory formula to determine how much in child support the parent will be ordered to pay. While both the calculator and the formula use certain information, such as the parent's monthly income, tax benefits, debt and other factors, the judge can potentially interpret a parent's situation differently, thus ordering a payment amount that is different than what was originally estimated.

Housing concerns after a divorce

A marital residence is typically the biggest asset a married couple owns. Therefore, figuring out what to do with a home is often one of the most difficult parts of a divorce. Florida residents may wish to keep a home or buy a new one with funds from the equitable distribution of joint assets.

While painful to part with a beloved home, one must assess whether it makes financial sense to keep the martial property. Retaining a home after a divorce typically involves refinancing and buying out a spouse, and not everyone has the means to do these things. One likely needs steady employment and as well as cash for payments. Alimony and child support could also affect one's financial status.

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