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Southwest Florida Bankruptcy Law Blog

Child custody relocation rules and considerations

It's not unusual for former spouses who share parenting responsibilities to weigh their options with child custody relocation in Florida. In some situations, a move will allow convenient access to extended family members or make it easier to maintain a visitation schedule. Whether a change of address is being considered for economic reasons or as part of an effort to remain more involved a child's life, there are certain rules parents need to follow when a relocation takes place.

Because a court typically assumes relocation is probably not in the best interests of the child, it's often advised that the custodial parent work with legal representation when preparing to ask the court for permission to relocate. Representation can be just as beneficial for a non-custodial parent who is arguing against relocation. There are many factors that the court is likely to consider, starting with how much advance notice a relocated parent gave the other parent. Courts tend to look unfavorably upon parents who purposely withhold plans to move away from a noncustodial parent.

Maintaining a healthy co-parenting relationship in divorce

Barring dangerous situations such as domestic violence, divorcing parents in Florida will still need to collaborate to effectively raise their children. When it comes to co-parenting, exes should set aside their issues with one another and work to support the kids. This includes not putting the child in the middle by venting about the other parent or having the child take messages back and forth.

A parenting plan can establish guidelines for the co-parenting relationship. It should have information on the custody schedule, such as when the child is with each parent, including holidays, and how exchanges will happen. Other points to include are plans for how parents will communicate with one another and resolve conflicts, how decisions will be made and how the plan will be changed if doing so is necessary. An attorney may be helpful in creating a functional parenting plan and addressing specific concerns about the co-parenting relationship.

Going to court for child custody

When trying to resolve legal issues regarding child custody, Florida parents may have to appear in court. It's important that both parties are aware of what could happen during the proceedings and what to do to be fully prepared and obtain their desired outcomes.

Preparing for a family court proceeding regarding child custody entails having arguments properly prepared, having witnesses on hand to provide supporting testimony and being properly dressed. An attorney can assist with the preparation of arguments and may offer counsel regarding questions that could be posed by the court. To make a good impression on the judge, parents may want to present teachers, babysitters or any other pertinent individuals who can verify their claims of being good parents. A parent should also make sure that their hairstyle, clothes and makeup help to support the image of a responsible adult.

Child support dispute between Britney Spears, Kevin Federline

Florida fans of Britney Spears might have heard that she has been involved in a child support dispute with her ex-husband Kevin Federline. She has now been ordered to pay Federline $100,000 in child support. They have two sons who are 11 and 12 years old.

The original child support agreement was that Spears would pay Federline $20,000 per month. However, this agreement was made at a time when Spears was earning less and Federline was earning more. According to court documents, Spears is worth over $56.5 million while Federline says he only makes about $3,000 per month. Federline also says that since the boys are older, they are more expensive. Federline's attorney says he should get $60,000 per month from Spears. Federline has four other children, two daughters with his wife and a daughter and son from a previous relationship.

What can you do to make wage garnishment stop?

Wage garnishment is a negative impact of financial struggles and owing a significant amount of debt. If you find yourself behind on payments and unsure of how you will catch up, you could face certain collections actions such as wage garnishment and much more. This is a threat to your financial well-being and your ability to support your Florida family.

When you learn that there is an order to garnish your wages, that means your employer has received a court order to withhold a portion of your earned income for the purpose of paying back creditors. It feels intrusive and unfair, and you may be wondering what you can do to make it stop. Fortunately, there are options available.

About child support

Child support is an issue that many Florida parents may have to address. It is important they are aware that the noncustodial parents have an obligation to provide support for their children no matter their gender.

In order for child support to be arranged, it is necessary to determine the relationship between the child and the parent. Maternity is confirmed through the act of childbirth. However, there are multiple ways in which paternity can be established. A man is determined to be the father of a child if, when the child is born, he is married to the mother. In situations in which the parents are not married, they can fill out a form at the hospital that acknowledges the paternity of the child at the time of his or her birth. It also can be completed at the local Vital Statistics Registrar or Child Support Enforcement Agency.

Understanding the child support landscape

When many Florida parents first interact with the child support system, they may feel like they are facing a tangle of confusing terminology and bureaucracy. There are different types of child support cases that can help to differentiate parents in a range of situations. It may be obvious that some people pay child support privately from one parent to another, while others use a state payments system in order to transfer funds. These differences can reflect the type of child support case that a particular family is dealing with.

The four types of child support cases are known as IV-D, IV-A, IV-E and non-IV-D, and the term "IV" refers to Title IV of the Social Security Act. This law governs the transfer of federal funds to the states for assistance to families with children. In IV-D cases, the custodial parent is assisted by the Office of Child Support Enforcement. This could be through establishing paternity or enforcing an existing child support order. On the other hand, IV-A cases involve parents who are receiving public assistance from the state, which seeks to recoup costs through child support. IV-E cases involve foster care or other relatives providing a home and caring for the child.

How older spouses can financially prepare for divorce

Florida seniors who decide to get divorced have different concerns than younger couples. While younger couples are often in the middle of parenthood and have to deal with custody and support issues, older divorcees often focus on property division to secure a more stable retirement.

Property division can get complicated, especially when the process requires analyzing high-asset retirement and pension accounts. Division for many of these is not done on a 50/50 split. Instead, there are rules that must be followed since the consequences can mean one ex receiving a large, unexpected tax bill or getting much less financially. This includes 401(k) accounts and pensions, both of which require qualified domestic relations orders for proper division and transfer. IRAs work differently, and their division must be detailed in the settlement agreement.

Planning to co-parent following divorce

Parents in Florida often have worries about how they will share the parenting duties with their former spouses after divorcing, especially as they will no longer live in the same homes. Transitioning to co-parenting can be confusing and difficult, but many people enjoy great success with joint custody or visitation. By keeping a few principles at the forefront, individuals can help protect their children and maintain positive, supportive relationships.

The children's best interests need to come first, and this consideration can often cause people to remain in bad marriages for years before finally deciding to divorce. Putting the kids first doesn't have to mean staying together. Instead, it means providing a supportive experience for the children that nurtures their relationship with the other parent despite the adult disputes that may exist. In addition, it can be important to protect the children from the details of the divorce. While it is important to be honest with children, this does not mean providing intimate details or information that could disparage the other parent.

The financial support of one spouse after divorce

Divorce is a financially complex process for both parties, especially if there is significant financial inequity between them. In many cases, the lesser earning spouse will have a rightful claim to financial support from the other spouse. Florida readers know this is spousal support, also called alimony or spousal maintenance.

If you believe you may have a rightful claim to this type of financial support or you want to avoid making expensive payments to your ex-spouse after divorce, it can be beneficial for you to understand how it works. The determination of these payments depends on several factors. As with all financial matters related to divorce, you would be wise to approach this matter with a goal of having a strong and stable post-divorce future. 

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