Author: Adam Cowhey

Video // When Does Child Support End?

CW_LAW VLOG CHILD SUPPORT ENDS_ADAM COWHEY_VN_V01 from Compass Marketing & Consulting on Vimeo. All parents have an obligation to support their children, whether married or not. If separated or divorced, the noncustodial parent is often ordered to make child support payments either directly to the custodial parent or through the state. The amount paid is generally based on the number of children, the respective incomes of both parents and the degree of parenting time though other statutory factors are considered. Under Florida law, child support typically ends when the child turns 18 but...

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Video // How Florida Courts Determine Parenting Plans

Few issues are more wrenching in a divorce than those concerning child custody and time-share arrangements. Divorcing parents may want joint physical custody or primary physical custody. This all depends on if an agreement can be made over summer schedules, school breaks, weekdays and weekends, pickups, and other logistical arrangements. To help avoid uncertainty and chaos in some instances, the Florida courts require the parents to create a parenting plan to resolve these issues. In any divorce, it is to the benefit of all parties to work out their differences short of litigation. This minimizes...

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Video // Types of Alimony and Considerations in Calculating Payments

A dissolution can mean a drastic change in the parties’ social situation and financial status. Family friends may take sides, and routines regarding vacations and holidays will change as will the time spent with children. If the household depended on two incomes, that can prompt the sale of the marital home in some cases and a move to a smaller home or rental unit. For a party who has fewer financial resources than the other spouse or who may not be working, the breakup can be frightening. To alleviate and remedy an unfair financial situation, alimony in a divorce case may be awarded. Many...

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Steps in Pursuing a Stepparent Adoption

Stepparent adoptions are a relatively easy process in Florida so long as the stepparent is the spouse of the child’s parent. Florida law once prohibited gays from adopting children but that provision was struck down as unconstitutional as violating the due process rights of the person wishing to adopt. Still, prior to the 2014 US Supreme Court decision that allowed same-sex couples to legally marry, a partner of a gay parent was unable to adopt the parent’s child under traditional means since gay marriages were still invalid. But since the court decision that legalized same-sex marriages in...

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Requesting an Increase in Child Support Payments

Child support is an obligation of every parent. When the parents are unmarried, separated or divorced, then the parent who has the smallest percentage of parenting time or the one with whom the children do not primarily reside, will generally have to make child support payments to the other parent. These payments contribute to the child’s well-being by helping with medical care, educational expenses, recreational and other activities for the child’s benefit. At some point during the divorce proceedings, or when the parents separate or paternity is established, the court will set the amount of...

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Considerations for Parenting Plan Modifications

When parents with minor children divorce or separate, Florida law requires they draft a parenting plan that establishes, among other things, a time-sharing schedule and parental responsibility. The parenting plan also sets out a schedule as to when each parent has parenting time, means of communication with the children, financial responsibilities relative to the children, etc.. A court-approved parenting plan is a court order and if violated can result in a party having to pay court costs and attorney fees as well as possibly relinquishing legal or primary custody and other sanctions. However,...

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Fighting for Sole Custody of a Child

Under Florida law, “child custody” is an obsolete term. Custody is now referenced as parenting time with equal time favored by the courts, but with one parent enjoying the majority of parenting time in most instances. Still, it is the policy of the courts for both parents to have continuing and frequent contact with their children unless there are exceptional circumstances. But there are situations when a parent may want sole parenting time to the exclusion of the other parent, but who may be granted visitation rights with or without limits or supervision. To obtain sole physical and legal custody...

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Establishing or Challenging Paternity

Paternity is about establishing the identity of a child’s father for purposes of having the father contribute to the support of the child and/or establish parental rights. In the majority of cases, the father’s identity is not at issue especially if the parents are married to one another. If married, the law presumes the husband is the child’s father, and he has a legal obligation toward the child born of the wife. But most paternity suits involve non-married persons and are brought by the mother against a person she alleges is her child’s father. In these circumstances, paternity is established...

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Considerations to Make When Creating a Visitation Schedule

The courts typically favor joint or equal parenting time with the children where the children’s time is split fairly evenly with each parent. This is not always possible if a parent lives a far distance from the other parent’s residence or the child’s school, a party’s work schedule cannot accommodate equal parenting time, or there are other issues affecting this type of arrangement. In extreme circumstances, some parenting plans may give one parent sole parenting time. Typically though, parenting time is divided on a percentage basis. In any case, the parents (or the courts if the parents are...

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