fam-faqQ 1: What is alimony and when can it be granted?
A: Alimony is money paid from one spouse to another when a couple separates or divorces. There are several types including temporary, permanent, bridge the gap and rehabilitative.

Q 2: What is meant by child support, child custody and visitation in Florida?
A: Child support is money paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the maintenance of a child or children. Child custody is the care, control and maintenance of a child which a court may award to one of the parents following a divorce or separation, this is usually the parent with whom the child spends the majority of their time. Visitation is permission given by the court for a non-custodial parent to spend time with their child or children. Custody and visitation in Florida is now referred to as timesharing. A parenting plan lays out parental responsibility between parents and designates whether it is shared and/or designates which parent has decision-making authority with respect to education, healthcare and other decisions for the child.

Q 3: How can a person gain protection against an abusive spouse?
A: A person can gain protection against an abusive spouse in the form of a domestic violence injunction also known as a restraining order. One can also call the police to file a report when and where appropriate.

 Q 4: How is paternity established in Florida?
A: In Florida, a man, woman or child may bring proceedings in court to establish paternity, when it has not been established by law or otherwise. That is done by filing a Petition to Establish Paternity.

Q 5: How does a judge decide a parenting plan in Florida?
A: When deciding on a parenting plan a judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child, which may include the opinion of the child, or having a guardian ad litem appointed by the court. The court will also take things into account such as the amount of time spent with each parent, which parent is going to foster a better relationship between the child and the other parent and who is more able to tend to the needs of the child.

Q 6: Under Florida Law, is one spouse responsible for the other’s welfare if getting divorced?
A: Under Florida law, one spouse is not automatically obligated to provide for the other’s welfare if getting divorced unless there is court ordered alimony in place or there is a prior agreement such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Q 7: Is there a divorce law about domestic violence against men in Florida?
A: In the state of Florida the laws are the same for both partners in terms of domestic violence, there are no special applicable rules for men or women.

Q 8: If parents are divorced, who pays the children’s car insurance?
A: If the parents are divorced, unless the parents have a prior agreement, car insurance for a child would be included in the child support determination, unless otherwise agreed to or stipulated by law.

Q 9: Can one partner file simplified dissolution of marriage?
A: Yes it is possible for one partner to file a simplified dissolution of marriage, so long as there are no issues in controversy, no minor children or issues that the other spouse would contest.

Q 10: How do I file for paternity in Florida?
A: In order to establish legal paternity in Florida, a person must first petition the court to establish paternity, unless paternity has already been established.

Q 11: How hard is it for a man to win custody in Florida?
A: Custody and visitation in Florida is now referred to as timesharing. A timesharing schedule denotes when and how much time a child will spend with each parent. Timesharing generally begins at 50/50 unless one parent can show why the amount of time with a parent should be more or less. This would be based on evidence presented in court or by agreement of the parties.

Q 12: How can I get equal time sharing if on child support in Florida?
A: Even though a parent may be paying child support in Florida, that parent or their attorney will need to petition the court to establish a parenting plan with regards to that child.

Q 13: How can a parent get custody of a child when paying child support in Florida?
A: When a parent wishes to change the current time sharing agreement with regards to their child, they must petition the court in order to change the status quo, but they should also be prepared to show why the arrangement should be changed and how there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

Family LawQ 14: How can a parent get full custody in Florida?
A: Custody and visitation in Florida is now referred to as timesharing. A parenting plan lays out parental responsibility between parents and designates whether it is shared and/or designates which parent has decision-making authority with respect to education, healthcare and other decisions for the child. For a parent to establish or change the current timesharing schedule, parenting plan or primary residence of their child they would have to petition the court to do so.

Q 15: How can I get interest waived on past-due child support in Florida?
A: In order for you to get your child support interest waived you must have the other parent agree to it and there must be no money owed to the state then you can apply to the IRS to have the interest waived.

Q 16: How do I fight the amount of child support in Florida?
A: In the state of Florida it is very difficult to fight the amount of child support that is ordered, but if you wish to do so you have to be able to prove to the court that:

a.) The other parent knowingly and willingly deceived or withheld information from the court that would have affected the outcome of the original support determination;
b.) Circumstances for either parent have changed significantly to warrant a change;
c.) The court ordering support did not follow Florida State Law or did not fairly consider your circumstances;
d.) Your lawyer inadequately represented your situation to the point of negligence;
Or some other reason such that the court decides.

Q 17: How do I calculate child support in Florida?
A: In Florida child support is determined according to the Child Support Guidelines which determines the amount of support according to a number of factors including, how much each parent makes, the cost of maintenance of the child(ren), employment history of the parents, their current financial condition. And timesharing with each parent.

Q 18: Can the primary parent waive child support in Florida?
A: No, in the state of Florida a primary parent cannot waive child support payments because the support is for the benefit of the child rather than that of the parent. However, there are exceptions made in extenuating circumstances.

Q 19: Can a woman pay child support in Florida?
A: Yes, women can be made to pay child support in Florida.

Q 20: How can a father in Florida sign his rights over?
A: A father in Florida can petition the court to give up his parental rights, but he may still be responsible for child support.

Q 21: Can a father have visitation rights in Florida if he is not paying his child support?
A: Yes, a father can have visitation rights also referred to as timesharing in Florida even if he is not paying or current on his child support obligation this is because child support and visitation or timesharing are separate issues.

Q 22: What is the law about a parent paying child support in Florida?
A: The law about a parent paying child support is that a parent must pay child support to the custodial parent if they are ordered to do so and failure to make payments may result in contempt of court charges, penalties including jail and other fines.

Q 23: Is a father who never married the mother still required to pay child support?
A: Yes, a father who has never been married to a child’s mother can be required to pay child support.

Q 24: Do I have to pay child support if the mother of my children keeps me away from my kids?
A: Yes, you must still pay child support for your children even if you do not get to see them. If this is the case, you should petition the court for timesharing and if it has already been granted the mother can be held in contempt for not abiding by the timesharing schedule. Child support and visitation/timesharing are two separate issues under the law and because you do not get to see your child should not be a reason you do not pay child support. Your failure to do so may result in suspension of driving privileges, contempt of court charges which may result in jail.

Q 25: How long must parents support their children?
A: Short of a finding of physical or mental deficiency, parents must support their children until they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in Florida or until the child completes high school.

Q 26: Can a domestic violence injunction cause a loss of employment?
A: Florida is a no fault state. Employment is at will. Thus a domestic violence injunction may cause a loss of employment

Q 27: What kind of behavior would be considered for a domestic violence injunction?
A: The types of behaviors which would be considered are:

-Threats (Threatening the other spouse)
-Physical behavior/violence
-Sexual violence or behavior
-Psychological abuse

Q 28: Are TROs (Temporary Restraining Orders) and emergency protective orders available only when the abuser is a spouse?
A: Temporary Restraining Order’s and emergency protective orders are available when a person believes they are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of any act of domestic violence, the other party does not have to be a spouse, they could be a former spouse, boyfriend, parent, sibling, etc.

Q 29: What is the standard visitation schedule in Florida?
A: There is no standard visitation schedule in Florida, each situation is unique and therefore parents and/or the court make a schedule which suits the best interests of the child.

Q 30: Can a third party pick up a child for visitation?
A: A third party may act as an intermediary between the parents when they are exchanging visitation unless the court has ordered otherwise.

Q 31: Can a parent be arrested for withholding a child on visitation in Florida?
A: A parent may be held in contempt of court for disobeying a court order for timesharing/visitation. Contempt of court charges may result in jail.

Q 32: How can I modify child visitation in Florida?
A: Parents can petition the court to modify the time sharing agreement with regards to their children in order to increase or decrease the amount of time they spend with their children. In order to modify from a previous timesharing schedule, a parent must show a substantial change in circumstances.

Q 33: How do I petition for child visitation rights in Florida?
A: When dealing with two parents a court will automatically allow timesharing for both parents unless there is a compelling reason not to, but in a situation where you need to petition for visitation/timesharing you should petition the original court which handled the custody case and they usually require that there be a significant change in circumstances and that it would be in the child’s best interests to do so.

Q 34:I want to divorce my spouse, but he or she isn’t going to agree. I’m thinking about just leaving. Do I have any other options?
A: It is possible to obtain a divorce even if the non-filing spouse does not want to grant one. Florida is a no fault state and thus does not require each party to agree.

Q 35: Do I need to file a divorce in the state where we got married?
A: In the state of Florida you must have established residence for at least 6 months prior to the filing of the dissolution; other states may or may not have the same or similar requirements.

Q 36: I want to remarry someone else, how long will this take?
A: You can remarry someone as soon as a divorce decree has been recorded by the court.

Q 37: I don’t make enough money for my children’s lives to be the same. What can I do to help maintain stability during the legal proceedings?
A: If you do not make enough money to maintain you or your children’s standard of living, you may petition the court for temporary alimony or temporary child support until the divorce is final.

Q 38: I made a lot of money in the past, but in this economy, I can’t pay alimony anywhere near what I could have three years ago. Will the court understand what happened to me?
A: The court, in determining the amount of alimony a spouse has to pay, will take into account many factors including the amount of money a spouse made during the marriage, the education level of the spouses, the length of the marriage the marital assets and other factors as well as need and ability to pay.

Q 39: I have a domestic violence problem. Can I still retain custody?
A: Domestic violence is something which is considered when determining visitation but it is not a sole determinative factor in timesharing or custody and visitation cases.

Q 40: I want to move out of Florida after my divorce. Will this affect my ability to retain custody?
A: In Florida, a custodial parent who wishes to move more than 50 miles away, for more than 60 days, must notify the other parent before moving. If the noncustodial parent approves of the move the parents must file a written agreement with the court, the judge will then hold a hearing and determine if the move is in the best interests of the child and whether or not they will allow the move. If the court views the move as negatively impacting the children or their relationship with the noncustodial parent, then the judge may not allow the move.

Q 41: Can I get a divorce without retaining an attorney?
A: It is possible to obtain a divorce without retaining an attorney. We advise that you consult an attorney because you may be relinquishing certain rights unintentionally and there may be complex matters which an attorney can better assist you with.

Q 42: What is collaborative divorce?
A: A collaborative divorce is one in which both parents work together with their attorneys, and sometimes other family professionals to separate without the threat of litigation.

Q 43: What types of paternity tests are available to me?
A: There are several paternity or DNA tests on the market however, in order for the results to be admissible in court; you must go to a court approved testing facility.

Q 44: What kinds of issues will be addressed in the divorce proceedings?
A:The types of issues that will be addressed in the divorce proceedings are the division of assets, such as a house, automobiles, business interests and finances including retirement accounts and pensions; parenting plan, timesharing and decision-making for children; alimony and insurance.

Q 45: How does the court decide division of marital assets and marital debts?
A: The court makes a determination on which assets are marital assets and debts depending on when they were acquired. Generally, assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered to be community property and therefore divisible upon a divorce.

Q 46: In Florida, do I have to prove my spouse is at fault in order to get divorced?
A: In Florida, you do not have to prove that either spouse was at fault in order to be granted a divorce; there are many options when filing for a divorce including that the marriage is irretrievably broken.