Naples Family Law Blog

Follow these tips to obtain a child support modification

Even if you've come to terms with making a monthly child support payment, your financial circumstances could change in the future. From losing your job to facing a serious illness that makes it impossible to work, your situation can change without notice.

If you're interested in a child support modification, there are five tips to follow:

  • Don't delay: You're responsible for making child support payments until you receive a modification order from the court. The longer you wait to take action, the longer it will be before your payment is modified to something more reasonable.
  • Learn more: There's more to a child support modification than telling the other parent that you can't make your regularly scheduled payments. You must understand the laws in place, as well as the process you're required to follow.
  • Talk to the other parent: It's a difficult conversation to have, but talk to the other parent about your situation and the possibility of a modification. If they agree, it's much more likely that the court will follow suit.
  • Don't miss payments: Do whatever you can to stay current on payments, as you don't want these to pile up. As noted above, you're responsible for all payments until you receive a modification.
  • Document your financial change: The court wants proof that you're unable to make your child support payments as required. The type of proof that you share is based on your reason for wanting a modification. For example, if you've lost your job, share your termination letter and copy of your unemployment checks with the court.

The dirty tactic some parents use to gain custody

When fighting for custody in Florida, it is understandable that some parents may become desperate. They want to ensure they can continue to see their children. Sometimes this desperation is so strong that parents turn to underhanded tactics to either win custody or gain a child’s favor. What is this dirty tactic? Some parents brainwash their children against their ex, and what is worse is that sometimes this happens on both sides.

According to ABC News, this is called parental alienation and it often makes its way into the courtroom. In an attempt to secure custody, one parent may even successfully manipulate the child into making false accusations against the other. This is so often without proof that courts have become increasingly convinced that when child abuse comes up in court, divorce poison may be the cause.

How to protect yourself financially from a spiteful spouse

There is a bitter irony in the fact that engagement month in December is swiftly followed by the season of divorce in January. This may also be the month when many divorcing breadwinners in Florida begin to waste marital assets to reduce the value of assets that should be divided with their spouse. From gambling to spending money on lovers, no act is too low for these people.

According to Forbes, this is known as the dissipation of assets. Wealthier partners may have the luxury of worrying less about losing money in the short-term since they can earn it back within a few months. For the homemaker, the financial situation is less certain. In some states, homemakers and lower-income earners can use an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order to prevent this. However, there is no guarantee when it will kick in and what a breadwinner may spend before then.

Should I put the father's name on my child's birth certificate?

If you are no longer in a relationship with the other parent of your newborn child, it's likely that you will have many questions and concerns as a single mother. One of the first legal decisions that you will have to make regarding your child is what information to display on the birth certificate. As the child's mother, you have the sole right to decide on this information if you are not married or have not otherwise established paternity.

It's common for single mothers to be confused about whether to put the person they consider to be the father on the birth certificate. This is often because it can have several implications that may be positive or negative depending on the specific circumstances. The following are the possible benefits and drawbacks that naming the father on your child's birth certificate could have.

When parents want their children back

For better or worse, the most important relationship children in Florida have is with their parents. Not all parent-child relationships are healthy, which may result in forcible separation. Neglect and abuse are the most common reasons for this. In other instances, criminal convictions or the death of parents may result in the need to appoint a new guardian.

According to the American Bar Association, dependency law governs the court proceedings related to protective custody of children. Sometimes children are removed by a court order and sometimes it is law enforcement that puts the removal into motion. Whatever the route taken, if the parent is alive and is not incarcerated, they may want to get their children back.

How forcible separation from parents affects children

There are times when termination of parental rights is absolutely necessary to protect a child. When there are cases of sexual abuse, starvation and severe beatings, there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that these children need to be removed immediately. While these are the cases that make the news in Florida, they do not represent every juvenile dependency scenario.

Sometimes, poverty, substance abuse or immigration violations could have resulted in children being forcibly separated from their parents. In these instances, children may have no desire to be apart from their guardians. They may only take solace in their mother or father’s reassurance that it will only be temporary. But, in that moment of loss, children suffer. They suffer even more when that separation becomes permanent.

What child custody arrangement is best for my child?

There is often an assumption that parents have a predetermined stance on how they would like child custody to be arranged following a divorce. However, this is simply not the case. Many parents become overwhelmed by the notion of their children moving between two homes, and they do not always have an opinion on the best solution straight away.

If you are approaching divorce as a parent, it is important to do your best to view the situation from the perspective of your child. Even though you may believe that they are oblivious to what is happening, it is likely that they have noticed changes in the way that their parents interact. You should try and address these changes in a sensitive and direct way. You should also try to consider custody options that would be in the best interests of your child.

Supervised visits aren't ideal; make the most of your time

Parents who divorce sometimes do so because of claims of domestic abuse. This is a very serious claim that should only be made when it is factual. One of the reasons is that a parent who is being accused of domestic violence might not be able to spend time with their children like they want.

For some parents, there is a court order that they must have someone watching them with their children. This is known as supervised visitation and usually means that the child won't have overnight visits with the children. There are a few points about this supervised parenting time that you need to remember.

How can I make a solid parenting schedule?

Creating a parenting schedule can be tough for divorced couples who share custody of their kids. However, it's important that your schedule accommodates all involved, as it will be your guide when issues arise regarding scheduling and other child-rearing matters. Very Well Family offers the following tips on devising a solid parenting schedule that works. 

Don't assume you're the authority

How paternity can help your child inherit from you

One of the most important reasons to establish legal paternity in Florida is to increase ways your child can inherit from you. With the law recognizing you as a legal father, your child will have the right to receive certain assets from you when you pass away. Even if your child is not automatically in line to receive assets like your retirement and pension benefits, establishing parentage will put your offspring in consideration for inheritance.

According to Pocketsense, many pension plans require a spouse of the pension holder to be named as a beneficiary. However, if you are an unmarried or divorced father, your child stands a greater chance of receiving the assets of the pension if you should die, although the terms of the pension may still complicate matters. One way to help ensure your child receives your pension is, if possible, to specifically name your child as a beneficiary on the pension.

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Beverly L . Brennan A PARTNER AT MCLAUGHLIN & STERN, LLP - NAPLES, FLORIDA ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

Beverly L. Brennan, P.A.
5150 Tamiami Trail North
Suite 602
Naples, FL 34103

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