Category: Florida Law Blog

Time sharing and child support in Florida

Time Sharing and Child Support in Florida

Time Sharing and Child Support in Florida

One of the primary questions clients ask me is how do time sharing and child support in Florida go together? Worded differently, does time sharing affect child support in Florida? This is a great question, and an astute client asks it with good reason. I have heard many family law mediators lecture litigants that time sharing and child support are separate issues and should be addressed distinctly and separately. This is easy for the mediator to say because they are not paying child support based on the number of overnights in a timesharing agreement, you the litigant or client are. I believe that the splitting of the issues as mutually exclusive is noble in concept, but foolhardy and impractical in real law practice. Honestly, facts are facts, child support is largely based on the number of overnights the parties are allocated/awarded in the time sharing agreement. Why then should any litigant ignore this fact and give up valuable time with their child(ren) and at great financial cost?

Timesharing

How Are Time sharing and child support in Florida Connected?

Child custody and child support in Florida are inextricably linked and should be considered as one issue. If a dad or a mom fights for more time with their child(ren) and that comes with a reduction in support being paid to the other side, that is not some self-serving motivation, it means that that parent will keep more money to spend on their child(ren) when they have time sharing with them. This is why pushing litigants to negotiate time sharing first, and then figure out the child support obligation is short-sighted and does not serve the client or litigant. In fact, it operates against their interest, and frankly, can operate against the interest of their kid(s).

Educating Clients about Time sharing and child support in Florida

The best approach is to educate clients, or litigants, whether you are their attorney, or mediator, so that they can understand how child custody and child support in Florida are connected and operate based on one another. Once armed with all of the facts and some knowledge of the law, family law litigants can render the best decisions for themselves and their children. Family law cases are about whole families, not just lawyers, not only mediators, but mostly, families and their best interests as an entirety. I would encourage clients to continue asking brilliant questions that address issues such as time sharing and child support in Florida that impact their families and their financial and emotional wellbeing.

Right Of First Refusal In Florida Child Custody Cases

Right Of First Refusal In Florida Child Custody Cases

Right Of First Refusal In Florida Child Custody Cases

First, let’s ask and answer the question on everyone’s mind, what is a right of first refusal in Florida child custody cases? A right of refusal in Florida child custody cases is an optional clause in a Florida parenting plan. A right of first refusal custody clause in a parenting plan will state that the parent (during their timesharing) must contact the parent who is not with the child (not their regular allotted timesharing) to ask if the other parent would like to care (overnight) of their child at that time. In some cases, a right of first refusal will apply if the timesharing parent (parent currently with the Child) for more than four or six hours. The Florida parenting plan governs as a backdrop/fallback/default guide for parents that have a great relationship and govern their own conduct on their own terms, and an ironclad schedule that applies daily for parents that argue, fail to communicate, and cannot agree on other terms.

For example, a right of first refusal in Florida child custody cases would apply if Mother, who is an on-call doctor, has this weekend with the kids. She is asked to come to the hospital overnight to treat patients on an emergency basis. The right of first refusal provision would mandate that Dr. Mom call Dad to ask if he can or wants to take care of the kids overnight because she has to go to work unexpectedly. Dad has the right to first refusal to take the kids for the night, though he is not obligated to accept the extra timesharing. The right of first refusal will operate to allow him that option, chance, and choice. Just like a right of first refusal is optional in a Florida parenting plan, it is optional for the non-timesharing parent to exercise the right when it may apply/occur.

Another example: Father has his son Monday-Friday, but this week on Thursday, for a business conference, he has to travel to Texas for work. Father must call, text, and/or e-mail Mother to ask if she wants their son on Thursday. If the answer is no, Dad can of course find suitable child care (unless a mutual agreement is necessary according to the Parenting Plan), or even have grandma or grandpa step in for the night. Most parenting plans are different because they accommodate unique couples, families, and circumstances.

Right Of First Refusal Custody Clause

A Right Of First Refusal Custody Clause

A right of first refusal custody clause may state something similar to the following:

“Each party must offer the other parent/party the opportunity to care for the Child before using a different child care provider for any overnight period. The party exercising the right of first refusal shall be responsible for transportation beginning and ending their time with their Child.”

As mentioned above, a right of first refusal custody clause may specify the amount of time the timesharing gap in time, such as four hours, overnight, or otherwise, so the parents may govern their conduct appropriately. Communicate openly and forthrightly.

What if I Refuse a Right of First Refusal?

Buyer beware, caveat emptor. If you refuse a right of first refusal multiple times, would you be surprised to learn that your co-parent no longer contacts you when your Child needs overnight supervision during their timesharing? Establish a pattern of trust and reliability if you want this provision to work.

Jonathan Jacobs is a child custody attorney and family law attorney in Orlando, Winter Park, Clermont, Kissimmee, Davenport, Montverde, Winter Garden, Kissimmee, Altamonte Springs, and all throughout Central Florida.

Montverde Family Law Attorney

Montverde Family Law Attorney

Montverde Family Law Attorney

Montverde Family Law Attorney Jonathan Jacobs helps clients resolve their most challenging legal issues. The Jacobs Law Firm, PLLC is located in both Orlando and Clermont (by appointment) to assist their clients throughout Lake and Orange County, including in Montverde. How can a divorce and family lawyer help you and your loved ones?

Many clients seek out help with divorce (dissolution of marriage) and paternity (establishment of parental roles and responsibilities for those who are unmarried) legal matters. However, being a family law attorney/divorce attorney is not an exclusive title. Many family law attorneys also help clients with guardianship petitions, wills and trusts (probate issues), and many other legal quagmires that may come your way. We also offer a variety of document preparation services including prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, and powers of attorney. Montverde Family Law Attorney Jonathan Jacobs loves working with clients from all walks of life.

We Live in Montverde, Do You Make “House calls?”

Yes, the Jacobs Law Firm does offer house calls by appointment. More frequently, house calls are for clients that need estate planning. Nevertheless, if they are delicate family law issues that you would feel most comfortable discussing in private and in a familiar setting, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Montverde Florida is primarily a residential area, and there are fewer professional offices as a result. This is another reason you may wish to have a house visit for a legal consultation. We also offer Saturday appointments to accommodate clients with busy work schedules.

Montverde Family Law Attorney Jonathan Jacobs

The two best ways to reach the Jacobs Law Firm for your family law needs, are by phone (or text) and by e-mail. If you would like to speak with a Montverde Family Law Attorney about your legal issues, please call us at any time, or e-mail us. If you provide a narrative of your legal needs, we will be better prepared to engage with you in a detailed conversation about how we may help you.

Jonathan Jacobs is a divorce and family law attorney.

Breach of Oral Contract Florida

Breach of Oral Contract Florida

Breach of Oral Contract Florida

The Florida Supreme Court has decided that Florida contracts may be in writing or orally created, if not both. As such, the Supreme Court and the District Courts of Appeal have put forth rulings that solidify foundational principles for Florida contract enforcement when there has been a breach of oral contract Florida. In this vein, Florida contracts may be a mixture of oral and written depending on the facts and circumstances of each unique case.

Breach of Oral Contract Florida: Offer, Acceptance, Consideration

If oral contracts are proven based on offer, acceptance and performance, they may be determined to be valid under Florida law, and thus enforceable by the courts. The aforementioned mixed contract (portions of which are oral and sections of which are in writing) is still bound by the same requirements of contract formation as a contract which is entirely written: “acceptance, consideration, and sufficient specification of essential terms.” St. Joe Corp. v. McIver, 875 So.2d 375, 381 (Fla. 2004). Once a plaintiff has proven a breach of oral contract Florida, the litigant must then also prove they have suffered damages as a consequence of the breach.

Breach of Oral Contract Florida: Is It Enforceable or Missing Something?

Foundationally, in Gulf Solar, Inc. v. Westfall, the Second District Court of Appeal determined that “As long as an essential ingredient is not missing from an agreement, courts have been reluctant to hold contracts unenforceable on grounds of uncertainty, especially where one party has benefited from the other’s reliance.” Gulf Solar, Inc. v. Westfall, 447 So.2d 363 (Fla. 2d DCA 1984); Community Design Corp. v. Antonell, 459 So.2d 343 (Fla. 3d DCA 1984). This is important because oral contracts must be proven, and in many ways, they are difficult to verify. Testimony from the affected/aggrieved party(ies) and evidence of performance are generally required in order to prove the existence of oral contracts. It is up to a jury to decide what the specific parameters of an oral contract were/are, and to decide the remedy accordingly. Perry v. Cosgrove, 464 So.2d 664, 667 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985).

One such case where a breach of oral contract Florida occurred, and the plaintiff’s proved they had been damaged occurred in Carole Korn Interiors, Inc. v. Goudie. In this case, a company had provided interior design/decorating based on an oral contract for which they went uncompensated and were therefore damaged. It is worth noting that any litigant must prove the amount and extent of labor, materials, and services they provided in reliance on the existence of an oral contract and its validity and enforceability in order to be compensated by the jury.

Jonathan Jacobs is a contract attorney Orlando and a contract attorney Lake County FL. Call today for a consultation.

What Documents Should I Bring to a Florida Child Support Hearing

What Documents Should I Bring to a Florida Child Support Hearing

What Documents Should I Bring to a Florida Child Support Hearing?

Have you been summoned to court for a Florida Child Support Hearing? Have you asked yourself and others the following question, “What Documents Should I Bring to a Florida Child Support Hearing?” Many respondents (a respondent is the party the Department of Revenue has summoned to court on behalf of the State of Florida, the petitioner, and the minor child(ren)) are unaware of what documents to bring to the child support hearing.

Sometimes, in advance of a Florida Child Support Hearing, the petitioner and/or the Department of Revenue will make a request for production of documents. This request will clearly state the documents you shall/must bring to the hearing. In the absence of such a request, many respondents ask the above question, “What Documents Should I Bring to a Florida Child Support Hearing?” As a matter of practicality, it is recommended you bring a copy of your Financial Affidavit (short form for under $50,000 in income and long form for incomes greater than $50,000), your six mots recent pay stubs, your last 3 years of tax returns, and any other documents that may provide the DOR with your true and accurate income. If you have recently been terminated from your employment, bring a notice of termination. If you have daycare expenses and medical expenses for your child(ren) and medical expenses for yourself, furnish those records to the hearing officer or the DOR attorney if you wish to have those records considered in the child support calculations. Also bring records of any child support payments you have already made to the petitioner, as you will likely be credited for those payments. This is a non-exhaustive list of the documents you should consider bringing to a Florida Child Support Hearing.

Florida Child Support Hearing

Florida Child Support Hearing

Consider two hypothetical child support hearing scenarios. In hypothetical scenario 1, the petitioner fails to appear before the court for his/her own child support hearing. This may cause the respondent to avoid a full hearing and obtain a more favorable child support payment plan (as long as they are truthful and forthright with the court). It is possible that fewer documents will be required. However, litigants should prepare for hypothetical scenario 2, as it is always best to be prepared for court proceedings to the fullest extent possible. In hypothetical scenario 2, both petitioner and respondent appear before the hearing officer, and due to their disputed facts, the parties go to a Florida child support hearing. In this case, having originally asked “What Documents Should I Bring to a Florida Child Support Hearing,” and planned to the fullest extent, an evidentiary hearing should include all relevant documents to ensure fairness and accuracy in the child support calculations (arrearages, and future payments).

Alternatively, to obtain  some guidance, however limited, litigants may call the Clerk of the Family Law Court in your jurisdiction to ask questions, though because they are not acting in the capacity of an attorney, they are likely unable to provide you with legal advice. The Jacobs Law Firm generally practices in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Lake County(ies) and is happy to provide you with guidance in the role of a consultant, or with legal help should you choose to hire a child support attorney to attend the child support hearing Florida on your behalf as your trusted legal advocate.

Florida Standard Timesharing Plan

Florida Standard Timesharing Plan

Florida Standard Timesharing Plan

Under the Florida Standard Timesharing Plan, under Title IV-D, the parties/parents may agree to a form of default custody arrangement whereby they mutually agree upon standard visitation rights. Title IV-D cases are those that involve the Florida Department of Revenue as a named party. Fla. Dep’t of Revenue v. James, 159 So. 3d 973, 974 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015)(“We find that all child support cases that are administered by the Department of Revenue are considered Title IV–D cases….”); Dep’t of Revenue ex rel. v. Satchell, 949 So.2d 1116, 1117 (Fla. 1st DCA 2007).  The Standard Timesharing Plan in Florida provides that the respondent will enjoy visitation rights every other weekend (on even numbered weeks) from approximately six o’clock on Friday evening until approximately six o’clock on Sunday night. Alternatively, the parents may agree to what some in our profession refer to as the “stretch weekend” in which the respondent may have the child(ren) until Monday morning when the kid(s) return to school. This is a sort of establishment of a routine both for parents and for the little ones. The Florida Standard Timesharing Plan may also include the respondent enjoying one evening per week either on a set dinner-time schedule, or from school release until 8:00 at night. Jonathan Jacobs is an Orlando Child Support and Orlando Child Custody Attorney.

Standard Timesharing Plan in Florida Accounts for Major Holidays

By default, the Florida Standard Timesharing Plan accounts for major/nationally recognized holidays. For example, Thanksgiving break may see the division of custody between parents/families on an odd or even-numbered years schedule. Due to careful structuring and planning, the architects (Florida Legislature) of the Standard Timesharing Plan in Florida also map out holiday/winter break. Winter break is essentially divided in half between the parents so that the child(ren) may spend holiday time with both parents/families. Spring break and summer vacation are similarly plotted out, and for more details, you may contact us for a complete picture of what the Title IV-D parenting plan looks like and how it functions for families (generally).

Title IV-D Order and Attorney’s Fees

A Florida Standard Timesharing Plan becomes part of an Order that includes an award of child support based on the timesharing schedule (the number of overnights, medical expenses, etc. are factored in), and is modifiable only by petitioning the court for a change.

Attorney’s Fees, pursuant to Section 61.16(1), Florida Statutes (2011), limits attorney’s fees available in Title IV–D cases. The Statute provides that: “In Title IV–D cases, attorney’s fees … shall be assessed only against the nonprevailing obligor after the court makes a determination of the nonprevailing obligor’s ability to pay such costs and fees….” Fla. Dep’t of Revenue v. James, 159 So. 3d 973, 974 (Fla. 3d DCA 2015).

If you would like to discuss your rights as a parent, please call the Jacobs Law Firm PLLC offices Orlando and Clermont. We would love to hear from you.

Family Law Help in Orlando

Family Law Help in Orlando

Family Law Help in Orlando, Orlando Family Law Help

Did you know that when you need family law help in Orlando, you may call the Jacobs Law Firm Orlando for many of your legal needs? The Jacobs Law Firm provides family law help in many areas of law. First and foremost, we offer help with family law legal needs such as alimony, child support, parenting and timesharing plans, hearings, mediation and trials. Sometimes, this includes recommending first-class mediators, or simply preparing documents to assist our clients in obtaining the relief they are seeking. Additionally, in lieu of generating expensive litigation, we offer referrals to parenting coordinators, mental health professions, and other field-specialists when needed.

Jacobs Law Firm Orlando

Jacobs Law Firm Orlando’s  family law legal services includes drafting wills and trusts for our clients, creating power of attorney documents, and helping people find the legal resources they need. We care about our clients and their needs, which is why we listen to your troubles and seek to help  find the best solutions possible. Our legal services are competitively priced, and we keep clients apprised of the particulars of their case every time an update is available. It is important to us that our clients understand how the legal process works.

Family Law Help in Orlando

Family law help in Orlando is just that, helping families when they need to hire an attorney that has their best interests in mind. There are many ways to go about resolving family law problems, and this means we are happy to propose a plethora of presuit solutions to see if the parties can achieve a resolution amicably, because cooperate parties can establish grounds for resolving their own situations within court intervention and without the need for expensive lawsuits to be decided by other parties.

When you need help from a family lawyer in Orlando, we invite you to call us, the Jacobs Law Firm to obtain the Orlando Family Law Help you need at an affordable price and with a great deal of compassion and interest in you as a family person.

Jonathan Jacobs is an Orlando Family Attorney.

cease and desist letter attorney Orlando FL

Cease and Desist Letter Attorney Orlando FL

Cease and Desist Letter Attorney Orlando FL

Clients often prefer to resolve legal quagmires as amicably as possible, which may result in the initial step of sending of a cease and desist letter. What this really means is that many individuals prefer to prevent further harassment, intrusion, defamation, or slander, by encouraging the party that is allegedly responsible, to cease and desist their wrongful or unlawful behavior before a lawsuit may be necessary. Similar to a civil demand letter for payment of damages prior to filing a lawsuit, a cease and desist letter is generally designed to caution the other party that there is still time to stop committing the behavior the potential litigant believes is harmful in some way to their business or reputation. Jonathan Jacobs is a cease and desist letter attorney Orlando FL that can help you obtain the relief you need when confronted with inappropriate behavior.

 

 

Examples of Cease and Desist Letters a Cease and Desist Letter Attorney Orlando FL Can Draft

Some examples of cease and desist letters we can draft include: 1. warnings to the other party that their attempts to disparage your reputation will not go unopposed; 2. demands that the other party stop contacting potential employers to slander you; 3. warnings to coworkers that usurp your reputation; 4. caveats to occupants in a nearby apartment building to stop interfering with your use and enjoyment of your own apartment; and 5. admonitions that you will sue for damages if a former employee contacts your clients in violation of a non-compete agreement. A cease and desist letter attorney Orlando FL will carefully evaluate the veracity of your claims that you have been impinged upon by another party and evaluate whether a cease and desist letter is appropriate.

cease and desist letter

What Happens After I Send a Cease and Desist Letter?

If the other (presumably responsible party) does not abide by your cease and desist letter, you will need to decide whether you want to allow their behavior to continue, or litigate in pursuit of money damages or injunctive relief. Ultimately, you should weigh your options carefully, and if you have good facts and evidence to support your claims, filing a lawsuit may be the best option to stanch any further damages to your business, reputation, or otherwise.

Attorney Jonathan Jacobs is a civil litigator in Orlando Florida who drafts cease and desist letters for clients as a precursor to lawsuits when the facts support doing so. Attempting to resolve legal issues before filing a lawsuit is often the most appropriate course of action. Jonathan is a cease and desist letter attorney Orlando FL.

Talking Parents App

Talking Parents App

Talking Parents App

The Talking Parents App is a truly cutting-edge and ingenious software application approved by Florida courts. The App can take a great deal of the stress and metaphorical pain out of communicating with an ex-partner or ex-spouse during a paternity or divorce lawsuit, or even after the lawsuit has ended, because family law cases often continue for years beyond initial proceedings.

With the Talking Parents App, everything is on the record. There are no hidden communications, and the parties technically cannot hide or delete what they have written to one another. For the attorneys, Talking Parents App reduces the burden of combing through months or years of conversations by e-mail, text, instant messenger, etc., where chronological and informational frameworks must be established in an attempt at admissibility in court and achieving a sufficient burden of proof. Talking Parents streamlines this by having all conversations available in their original format with proof of the parties’ mutuality. Moreover, there are rarely if ever any games played here by a surreptitious party because both parties must separately and individually create user accounts and must be approved in order to engage with one another.

Talking Parents App in Florida Family Law Court

Justifiably so, Talking Parents App advertises that when the parties have been involved in a domestic violence dispute, or when there are other security concerns involving the safety of the parties and their children, the App can be the ultimate mechanism for ensuring open communications in the absence of being threatened. Since conversations occur through Taking Parents, private contact information is not revealed unless you personally reveal that information to the other party.

The word the App team utilizes is “accountability.” Buyer beware, caveat emptor. If you choose to be threatening or menacing toward the other party, know that they may seek to have your communications entered into evidence in a family law court in an attempt to portray you in a negative light.

For more information about the Talking Parents App and for information regarding their users’ frequently asked questions visit their contact page here.

Jonathan Jacobs is a family and divorce law attorney in Orlando, Florida.

Standard Family Law Interrogatories in Florida

Standard Family Law Interrogatories in Florida

Standard Family Law Interrogatories in Florida

Standard Family Law Interrogatories in Florida are intended to supplement a litigant’s Financial Affidavit. In other words, a Financial Affidavit may provide the end result (like a math problem), but it does not necessarily illustrate how the litigant got there (arrived at the numbers they allege). For the other side and their attorney to determine the accuracy of the numbers and the extent of the financial holdings subject to equitable distribution, as well as alimony and child support considerations, more information may be needed. For instance, we need to determine which child support deductions you may qualify for. Requesting answers to Standard Family Law Interrogatories in Florida is a generally reliable method of/for obtaining those answers.

When Standard Family Law Interrogatories in Florida are propounded (served on the other party), one’s background information, education, and employment are almost always requested as a baseline part of discovery. It makes sense that the interrogatories also generally include a description of one’s assets such as but not limited to: 1. real property (examples: houses or plots of land), 2. tangible personal property (examples: boats, cars, jewelry, baseball cards), intangible personal property (examples include stock certificates, business holdings, mutual funds, trust monies, bonds), 4. retirement accounts (some examples are: IRA and/or ROTH IRA accounts, pension plans, FRS plans, HR10 plans), 5. financial accounts (for example: bank accounts, money market and credit union accounts), 6. Trust funds and accounts, and 7. Safety Deposit Boxes.

The same principle and logic applies to liabilities. It is important that liabilities are included in a final marital agreement to prevent one spouse from incurring additional or unexpected marital debts that might otherwise be properly divided or paid for by the other spouse. Furthermore, along with propounding/serving Standard Family Law Interrogatories in Florida, an attorney will often also demand/request the other litigant produce a Long Form Affidavit, Form 12.902(c), to ensure that all of the financial portrait is revealed to the extent possible.

Jonathan Jacobs is a Divorce Attorney In Clermont Florida, a Divorce Attorney in Orlando Florida, and helps his clients in the surrounding counties. Call the Jacobs Law Firm today for a consultation in your family law case. (407) 310-5636, or e-mail us to schedule an appointment. Jonathan@JJLawFL.com