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Saint Lucie County Legal Issues Blog

Know the requirements for filing for divorce in Florida

Although divorces are emotional processes that require Florida residents to find new ways of living once their relationships are over, they are also highly technical legal processes that have many requirements that must be met in order to be completed. This post will look at just a few of the steps a person may have to take in order to file for divorce in the state but as always readers are reminded that this blog does not provide legal advice.

First, a person must be a resident of Florida in order to use the state's courts for their divorce. Their period of residency in the state must have begun at least six months prior to when the person filed for divorce in order for it to qualify them. Residency in the state for fewer than six months requires a person to wait until they have reached the six month threshold.

Rights and responsibilities after establishing paternity

Children are born with biological mothers and biological fathers, and while it is straightforward to determine the maternity of a child at the time of birth, paternity is not always as clear. Under the law, certain presumptions grant men paternal rights over children born to their spouses and committed others. However, if there is a question regarding whom a child's father might be, then the Florida courts may order paternity testing to take place.

Paternity testing can be done through comparing biological information from a man to that of a child. Based on a comparison of their DNA it is possible to see if they share genetic material. Paternity can be established with a high degree of certainty using DNA and genetic testing.

What income is considered when a court sets child support?

Different parents may be liable to provide their children with different amounts of child support. This is because not all Florida parents earn the same levels of income or are responsible for the same types of financial obligations. To this end, when a family law court is evaluating how much money a parent should provide to their child in support, it will assess a number of different forms of income that the parent collects.

Earnings from wages and tips accrued from employment will be assessed in the determination of a child support obligation, as will any bonuses or commissions that the parent earns. If the parent is self-employed or owns their own business then business income will also be computed in the assessment.

Parents with brain injuries and raising children

Parenting is difficult, even under the best of circumstances. For some parents, disabilities provide challenges on top of those that non-disabled parents face. This doesn't mean that a person with a catastrophic injury, such as a brain injury, can't be a great parent to children.

It is hard to think about what you would do as a parent who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. One of the first things that you need to know is that you can do it. You might have to make some adaptations to how you parent, but it is fully possible.

What can I do if my ex does not follow our child custody order?

When a Florida court approves a child custody agreement or promulgates a child custody order, it is effectively setting forth the rules by which the child's parents must live in order to serve the child's best interests. Even when parents follow custody agreements and orders conflicts can arise; in such situations it may be necessary for the parents to go back to court to have their custody plans modified. However, when one parent intentionally ignores the requirements of the custody schedule then the other parent may be at a loss for how to address the situation.

In some cases, parents are able to have meaningful and productive conversations about the custodial conflicts that they are experiencing. They may be able to change a drop-off time or location to better accommodate one parent's work schedule and that small adjustment may fix their custodial issues. However, if the parents cannot come to terms on how to fix their issues, then it may be necessary for them to go to court.

Actor files for divorce from wife

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is well-known to Florida moviegoers for his leading roles in movies such as "Star Wars" and "Moulin Rouge!" He has also enjoyed what has seemed to be a relatively stable personal life with his wife of nearly 22 years and their four children. However, just recently, the actor filed for divorce to end his legal union amid speculation that he has begun a relationship with another woman.

McGregor cited irreconcilable differences in his divorce paperwork and requested that he and his soon-to-be ex-wife should share custody of their kids. His wife, though, has responded to his divorce pleading and requests sole custody of their kids with McGregor maintaining rights to visitation with them.

Health care costs and child support in Florida

Parents who divorce or separate in Florida and who are required to create child support agreements or orders must include provisions therein that address how costs and insurance related to the medical care of their children will be addressed. No child should be left without access to medical care simply because their parents choose to end their relationship; protection of a child's medical insurance and access to care is imperative to preserve their best interests.

However, as most parents probably know not every cost associated with the medical care required for a child will be covered by insurance. In fact, a number of costs, such as insurance deductibles, prescription drugs, co-pays and other costs may add to the already heavy expense of providing a child with access to medical care.

Start of the year brings increase in divorces

The first month of the New Year offers many Floridians the promise of a clean slate on which to write the story of their lives. Whether through resolutions or recommitments to the things that bring them peace and joy, individuals often seek to pursue actions and activities that will better their lives. One unexpected pursuit that a number of people often begin is the process of ending their marriages.

Divorce rates tend to increase in January, and there are a number of reasons for why this upward trend may occur. One is that parents do not want to disrupt their children's lives during the holiday season. A more unique reason, at least for this year, is because the new federal tax bill eliminates the ability of an alimony payer to deduct those payments from their taxable income. As such, divorces finalized after the end of 2018 will not end with one spouse getting the benefit of that deduction.

Individual retirement accounts and your divorce

An individual retirement account, also known as an IRA, is an investment tool that many Floridians utilize to prepare for their eventual retirement. It is a tool that allows a person to channel funds into an account that will, over time, grow in size due to increases in the value of the investments contained therein. There are requirements on who may open the different types of IRAs and not all individuals may be able to use them to save for their futures.

An IRA can become a major part of a person's plan to eventually stop working, so if that person finds themselves facing a pending divorce they may have concerns over what will happen to their retirement nest egg. This post will discuss the basics of dividing an IRA during a divorce but as always readers of this blog are reminded that the information contained herein does not offer any financial or legal advice.

What is virtual visitation?

Not that long ago, the only ways that a person could communicate with someone in a remote location was either through letters or by telephone if the parties both had access to telecommunications devices. Now, Floridians can quickly contact friends, family members and work contacts all around the world with the touch of a finger on their smart devices. Technology has made this big world smaller and made it easier for individuals to share with others.

Not surprisingly, many industries and parts of society have found ways to incorporate the use of technology into their operations, including the courts. When it comes to family law, technology is beginning to play an interesting role in the field of child custody and visitation through the development of virtual visitation legislation.