Articles Posted in Child Support

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Divorce can happen to parents with children of all ages. If your children are quite young, your focus when it comes to parental responsibility issues, beyond the basics of custody, timesharing and child support, may focus on immediate concerns like choosing your child’s pre-school and making decisions about early extracurricular activities. As you go through the process, however, it is often wise to consider other issues that may still be a few years down the road. For example, one common item is the issue of orthodontia. Who will decide whether or not your child gets braces? If your child receives orthodontic care, who will pay for it? These are things you may want to consider extensively as you go through the process of crafting a marital settlement agreement as part of your divorce, especially if your children are already of school age. As with any divorce-related decision, it often helps to have a skilled Miami family law attorney in your corner.

A case that originated in the panhandle shows some issues that parents should carefully take note of when it comes to orthodontic care, marital settlement agreements and divorce. In the case, which was recently decided by the First District Court of Appeal, the spouses had a marital settlement agreement and it clearly stated that the father had the obligation to pay “one-half of the children’s uncovered medical and dental expenses.” However, when the father did not pay for half of the child’s orthodontic expenses, the mother went back to court seeking to hold the father in contempt.

While the agreement was clear about dental expenses, the expense about which the mother was litigating arguably wasn’t a “dental” expense. Unfortunately, the spouses’ settlement agreement did not expressly define the term “dental expenses” to clarify whether it included or excluded orthodontic care. However, the agreement did contain one section, which was left blank, in which medical expenses, dental expenses and orthodontic expenses were split out into three separate categories.

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For most any parent, the best interest of their child is paramount in their mind. This concern can take on a whole other level of intensity if your child’s other parent is experiencing problems with alcohol or drug abuse. If your ex is having difficulty with drinking or drugs and you think that it is impacting her/his parenting of your child, you have options in Florida. These options may include, among other things, suspended timesharing, supervised visitation or substance use monitoring. The key is to make sure that your have amassed the evidence you need and then develop the sort legal arguments required to obtain the modification that will help your family. To make sure you have a persuasive case for modification, be sure to consult an experienced Miami family law attorney.

An example of this type of scenario was the recent case of two Miami-Dade parents, J.N.R. and T.R. Originally, as part of the divorce, the mother, J.N.R., had received unsupervised visitation with the couple’s four-year-old daughter. However, the mother allegedly had ongoing problems with drug and alcohol use. Based on that alleged problem, the father went back to court and obtained what’s called a “post-judgment order.” That order from the judge said that the mother’s unsupervised visitation was suspended. The judge also ordered the mother to undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment, as well as to obtain and wear an ankle monitoring device that electronically reported if the mother used alcohol. The judge ordered that the mother pay for all of this on her own.

The mother appealed that order, arguing that the trial judge made legal errors both in suspending unsupervised visitation and making her pay for the substance treatment and monitoring expenses.

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You may think that your family law case is simple and straightforward, so much so that you don’t believe you need an experienced Miami family law attorney to provide you with legal representation. The truth is, though, that any case can come with profoundly unexpected twists and turns and, if that happens to you, you need someone who knows exactly what to do. If, for example, your trial judge oversteps his/her legal bounds, your knowledgeable Miami family law attorney can guide you through your options to get you to the outcome you deserve.

A recent case originating from outside Jacksonville was an example of this. Former spouses M.W. and R.S. engaged in years of protracted litigation. In early 2017, the couple attended court-ordered mediation. The mediation took nine hours but, at the end of it, the spouses had come to a resolution on all of the disputed issues they had. The agreement that the spouses negotiated was put down on paper, which spanned 16 pages. It included terms related to parental responsibility, timesharing, child support, property division, insurance and tax exemptions. Both spouses initialed each and every page of the agreement

This sounds exactly like the way that the process should work, and the reaching of an appropriate endpoint, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, cases are not always as straightforward as they should be. During what was supposed to have been a five-minute status conference, the husband’s attorney allegedly presented the agreement to the judge for approval. (Neither the wife nor her attorney attended this hearing.) Instead of merely signing off, the judge made substantial changes. The parties had agreed that the wife would have sole parental responsibility of the pair’s two children; the judge awarded shared parental responsibility. The spouses agreed that the wife would be entitled to take tax exemptions for both children; the judge awarded one exemption to each spouse.

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One of the positive evolutions in the field of family law is the increase of alternate dispute resolution means and their utilization for resolving a divorce case. Many of these means may allow for spouses to work in a more collaborative and less adversarial fashion toward achieving closure and moving forward productively. Engaging a mature and non-adversarial process may be particularly important and beneficial if there are young children from the marriage.

Sometimes, one may read about Hollywood celebrities who have made this commitment to work together for the benefit of their child/children. According to a People report, the divorce of acting stars Chris Pratt and Anna Faris is one example of this type of effort toward collaboration. It is important to remember, however, that, no matter how cooperative each of you seeks to be and how amicable your relationship is (even after the breakdown of the marriage), there are certain legal requirements that your divorce documents must satisfy. To make sure that your amicable divorce is not slowed down by procedural or legal errors, as well to ensure that your rights are properly protected, always make sure you have consulted an experienced South Florida family law attorney.

According to the People report, Pratt and Faris, who share a 6-year-old son, separated in August 2017. For the benefit of the son, the parents worked to achieve a divorce arrangement and post-divorce living situation in their home state of California that was geared toward being “unusually tension-free.”

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Sometimes, getting your ex-spouse to begin paying child support is as simple as requesting it as part of your divorce case. Other times, though, obtaining the sum of money that the court says your child should receive can be more complicated and require greater navigation of the legal system. Given the paramount importance of your children’s well-being, including their financial well-being, it is well worthwhile to make sure that you have a skilled South Florida child support attorney representing you in your child support case.

A recent case involving two divorced parents, Liberty and Charles, was an example of one of those cases that was not simple and straightforward, and the process that can be involved in complex cases.

The couple divorced in 2008 in Okaloosa County. The trial court in that divorce action ordered the husband to pay child support for the couple’s children. Not long after the divorce became final, the mother and the children moved north to Georgia.

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Florida, like every state, has a set of guidelines for calculating child support. This mathematical formula works well for many situations, but it has the potential to be less appropriate when it comes to cases in which the supporting parent is an extremely high-income earner. High earners from other states, like Britney Spears and the NBA’s Blake Griffin, are celebrities who are currently involved in child support cases in which their multi-million dollar earnings are a key part of the case. If you are a high earner in this state, it is very important to make sure that you have knowledgeable Florida child support counsel to handle your case and protect your rights.

NBA superstar Blake Griffin was in a multi-year-relationship with a former USC women’s basketball player until recently. The couple had two children together, Ford and Finley. In 2017, though, the couple’s relationship ended for good. The mother of Griffin’s children sued in a California superior court. In her action, the woman sought child support for the two children, according to a BET report. The woman’s legal action asked the judge to order child support based upon Griffin’s salary. The NBA star recently signed a contract extension for more than $173 million and makes $29.5 million this season, with that number gradually increasing to $36.5 million in the 2020-21 basketball season.

Singing star Britney Spears also made headlines due to a child support dispute. The father of her two children, Kevin Federline, has full custody of both boys. The father has argued that a change in Britney’s finances warranted an increase of child support. Britney’s recently concluded Las Vegas residency grossed in excess of $137 million. The singer’s children currently receive $20,000 per month in child support from their mother, AOL reported.