Tag: child support

modify divorce decree florida

Modify Divorce Decree Florida

Your Florida divorce case is over…or is it? If there is some part of your case you need to change, you can hire us to modify your divorce decree in Florida (generally this is done for your parenting plan) or modify your marital settlement agreement Florida (for the financial aspects such as alimony). Modifying a final judgment in Florida comes with a higher burden when your case is being reopened. There are some additional procedural requirements about equitable distribution and child support you need to be aware of that if not followed could lead to your case being dismissed. When you modify a divorce decree, it is best to get it right the first time. In this article, we will discuss some of the common situations where former spouses or former partners seek to change some or all aspects of their parenting plan and/or marital settlement agreement. Call child support modification attorney Orlando, and child custody modification Attorney Orlando, Jonathan Jacobs at 407-335-8113.

You are reasonably certain you want to modify divorce decree Florida. What happens next? The next step is to speak with Jacobs Law Firm. Let us ask about the facts and we can apply case law and statutory law (mixed with our experience) to help you determine if your supplemental petition for modification has a chance of success. It is all about getting past the motion (the motion to dismiss your supplemental petition). You can modify marital settlement agreement Florida by showing there have been what we call substantial change(s) in circumstances. Florida Statutory law requires that the Petitioner prove there has been a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances in order to modify the parties’ Final Judgment. Case law makes it clear this  is an “extraordinary burden.”

To modify a divorce decree in Florida it is important to show that circumstances have changed since your case ended (when the final judgment was issued by the Court). It could be that you are involuntarily (we all live in a shifting economy where AI and other market and computer generated forces are changing the way many companies do business) unemployed and that you cannot find the same or a substantially similar job. You may need to take a job to survive on a lesser salary. Should you be obligated to pay the same alimony or child support on a lower salary? At some point your own personal survival and standard of living must be considered. The question is will the court allow you to modify marital settlement agreement Florida by ruling your petition for modification of child support or petition for modification of alimony will get past a motion to dismiss. Using experience, writing/drafting skills, and case and statutory law, Attorney Jacobs can help you with your case. Call 407-335-8113 today.

waive child support arrears in Florida

Waive Child Support Arrears in Florida

Can you waive child support arrears in Florida, and can child support be waived if both parties agree? The general rule according to case law is that: “A child’s right to support may not be waived by a parent, see Strickland v. Strickland, 344 So. 2d 931 (Fla. 2d DCA 1977), nor may that right be contracted away”, see Finch v. Finch, 640 So. 2d 1243 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994). Usually, family law courts believe that child support cannot be contracted away. Wilkes v. Wilkes, 768 So. 2d 1150 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000). Florida child support is intended to provide for the needs and necessities of minor children. The statutory guidelines describe in great detail the reasons for awarding child support in Florida and provide the numerical amount of support required based on the incomes of both parents. Other factors may apply such as daycare costs, health insurance, the number of overnights the parents spend with their children, etc. This brings us to whether child support arrears can be waived in Florida. Just because you have equal timesharing, does not mean child support is waived. Call 407-335-8113 to speak with Jacobs Law Firm about your child support case.

Can child support be waived if both parties agree? Both parties are welcome to agree to waive child support arrears in Florida, but there is no guarantee the child support hearing officer, or the circuit court family law judge will affirm. As you read above, and have likely researched, child support in Florida is intended to provide for a minor child to help them survive, flourish, not be relegated into poverty. The court is not beholden to consider the best interests of the parents in calculating child support, rather, the court’s primary touchstone is whether the minor child is supported, protected, and living in a secure environment. That means the hearing officer, and the circuit court judge have the (generally speaking) authority to override parents’ agreements to waive support. A waiver of child support can be determined not to be in a child’s best interests. The best interests of the children, not the best interests of the payor, are what the court considers first and foremost. If the amount to be paid is de minimis, or less than a certain amount ($50), a judge might agree to the parties paying no child support until or unless there is a substantial change in circumstances.

If you are seeking to waive child support arrears in Florida, it is likely you have arrived at that decision based on some common scenarios. One common situation is where a parent has their rights voluntarily terminated to allow for their child to be adopted by another parent. A child must have two parents in our state. This is often done in exchange for a revocation of any past due child support owing. Another situation that may occur is when the parties are mediating their case and one parent agrees to have less timesharing (this may sound counterintuitive unless you have been in this situation personally) in exchange for a reduction or removal of their child support arrears.

We return to our original question; can child support be waived if both parties agree? The answer is complicated. The court is not obligated to waive child support arrears in Florida or ongoing child support, though it is not necessarily going to disagree with that decision under certain limited circumstances. The ultimate question is what is in the best interests of the children? Call an Orlando child support lawyer today at 407-335-8113.

Child Support Modification Florida

Child Support Modification Florida

Are you looking to modify your child support payments? Filing a petition for modification of child support is generally the right course of action to take. Before any change may be made, a court must decide there has been a substantial change in circumstances. A child support modification in Florida may occur at any time when support payments are being made and you meet the statutory standard for change. This standard for demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances in Florida child support has occurred is rather modest. A substantial change in circumstances change means that if the Department of Revenue, or Department of Administrative Hearings, or the family circuit court is to order a change in child support, that change has to be at least a certain amount of money to justify a deviation. According to the modification of Child Support Florida Statute, Florida Statute 61.30(b), “the difference between the existing monthly obligation [what you pay right now] and the amount provided for under the guidelines shall be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.” Call Jacobs Law Firm today to schedule a consultation with an Orlando Child Support Attorney to discuss your modification of child support, dial 407-335-8113. We can help you calculate and decide whether a modification is appropriate for you.

After you have filed a petition for child support modification Florida (a motion is not enough, you need a petition), there are many reasons a court may agree a substantial change in circumstances has occurred and order a modification of child support in Florida. A primary reason can be a parent’s refusal or failure to see their child. For example, in a recent decision, the Smith Court referred to the modification of Child Support Florida Statute and decided that: “A parent’s failure to regularly exercise the time-sharing schedule set forth in the parenting plan, a court-ordered time-sharing schedule, or a time-sharing arrangement exercised by agreement of the parties not caused by the other parent which resulted in the adjustment of the amount of child support pursuant to subparagraph (a)(10) or paragraph (b) shall be deemed a substantial change of circumstances for purposes of modifying the child support award.” Section 61.30(11)(c), Fla. Stat., and Smith v. Smith, 273 So. 3d 1168, 1169, (1st DCA 2019).

modification of Child Support Florida Statute

This language means that if a parent does not exercise overnight timesharing with their child(ren), and the other parent is not the reason for their absence, the Court has the authority to grant a petition for modification of child support Florida. The Court may also decide the substantial change in circumstances Florida child support standard has been statutorily met as a matter of law.  

The Department of Revenue provides some helpful advice to payors (people paying child support) about what to do while your petition for child support modification Florida is pending. Until or unless a court order commanding you to pay child support is modified, terminated or vacated, you must continue making payments according to your court order. Paying a lower amount of child support could result in sanctions or penalties against you. Keep making your payments pursuant to the modification of Child Support Florida Statute. Asking for a credit and resolving any overpayment later is better than being held in contempt. When you are ready to talk about your child support case, call 407-335-8113 and schedule time with Attorney Jacobs.

legal separation in florida

Legal Separation in Florida

Is there such a thing as legal separation in Florida? Not Can I be engaged while still married in Florida? The answer to this age-old question is not a straightforward yes. There are legal ramifications, social stigmas, and morality concerns that may impact the answer and or advisability as to whether you may get engaged before your divorce is final. You may date while separated in Florida, and you may engage in romantic relationships. There is no such legal distinction as a legal separation in Florida, though there may be such legal precedents in other states. There could be legal, social and moral issues as a result of your decision to engage in romantic relationships while married though separated from your spouse. When you have questions to pressing family law/paternity and divorce law concerns, call Jacobs Law Firm at 407-335-8113. We enjoy speaking with clients about unique facts and helping make complex legal issues such as Florida legal separation understandable.

florida legal separation

Legal separation in Florida is not a legally binding action in Florida. Rather, a Florida legal separation is more of a fact-based situation/state of affairs. In Florida, either spouse may file for divorce from their spouse. Filing for divorce may involve arguments over the date of separation and how that may impact the litigants financially or otherwise. Nevertheless, Florida does not recognize a legal separation and it does not allow for the bifurcation of proceedings automatically. Therefore, in Florida, the answer to our original question of can I be engaged while still married in Florida, is yes. Being engaged does not create a legally binding union in Florida. It does not allow the parties to file a divorce or separation action in the family circuit court as the court would likely not have jurisdiction over such an action. In some instances, spouses plan for a potential divorce by entering into a postnuptial agreement.

Can I be engaged while still married in Florida

Can I be engaged while still married in Florida?

A Florida legal separation, while not an official legal distinction, is more of a factual situation. Legal separation in Florida is more about when the parties separated and what assets and liabilities they have accrued since the time/date they separated. The date of separation could impact child support arrearages, alimony calculations and arrearages, and whether marital assets have been dissipated or otherwise spent in a manner requiring the court to equitably distribute marital property in an unequal manner to establish fairness. Can I be engaged while still married in Florida? Yes you can, but consider how such an entanglement may impact your relationship with your children, your spouse, and how the financial aspects of your relationship may influence a court’s decisions about your finances. Call Jacobs Law Firm today at 407-335-8113.

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Florida

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Florida

How long does an uncontested divorce take in Florida? Since there is no legal separation in Florida, after our Orlando uncontested divorce attorney has carefully reviewed a client’s factual circumstances, we spend time with our client to explain the timeline and procedures involved in their case. An uncontested divorce in Florida is based on the parties’ mutual agreement to work out and resolve all their issues without any litigation. All documents should be prepared, signed and notarized (where appropriate) before the case is filed to preserve its character. How long does an uncontested divorce take near Orlando, Florida? In Orange County, as in many other counties such as Lake and Seminole for example, there are unique procedural court rules your uncontested divorce attorney must follow. In counties such as Lake and Sumter, the procedure is generally routine. Speak with a family lawyer about your amicable dissolution of marriage by calling 407-335-8113. Did you know Jacobs Law Firm practices collaborative divorce in Florida? Find out if collaborative divorce is right for you!

How long does an uncontested divorce take in Florida depends on the parties’ ability to communicate and work together toward an equitable resolution of all issues. For example, if a case involves minor children, the parties will likely engage in extensive talks about pick-ups and drop-offs, overnight timesharing, holiday timesharing, childcare providers, education, and healthcare decisions. Mapping out the life of a minor child is a complicated process requiring the utmost of care and concern. One strategy that may be helpful is to have our client and the other party complete their version of a generic calendar to ensure the parties share common vision for overnight timesharing with the child(ren).

How long does an uncontested divorce take near Orlando, Florida depends again on the parties themselves and the court’s degree of availability. Cases involving both parenting issues and the equitable distribution of marital assets (including qualified domestic relations orders) and liabilities may take longer to prepare and formalize. It is common for spouses to have disagreements when divorcing. This makes the role played by your Orlando uncontested divorce attorney even more important. Is there such a thing as legal separation in Florida?

One of the best parts of helping clients with amicable divorces is getting to know them on a personal level. The life experiences and stories about raising children and successful career voyages are just absolutely amazing to hear. How long does an uncontested divorce take in Florida depends on the parties, the length of time the divorce attorney takes to draft the documents, and ultimately, it may depend on whether a judge’s docket is overloaded. Call Jacobs Law Firm 407-335-8113 today for a consultation about your amicable divorce.

How To Enforce A Child Custody Agreement In Florida

How to Enforce a Child Custody Agreement in Florida

If you need legal help from a divorce and family law/paternity attorney to answer how to enforce a child custody agreement in Florida, call the Jacobs Law Firm for help and guidance when you need it the most. Dial 407-335-8113 today. Your attorney may file a Motion for Enforcement (titled a Motion to Enforce Parenting Plan Florida or a Motion for Civil Enforcement/Contempt Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.960). This Motion does not need to include a count for contempt, though many argue it should. Consider several common situations among parents and decide how you may choose to respond. Placing yourself in the shoes of another parent is a challenge. It is only natural that the further removed two parents and/or former spouses are from their romantic relationship, there can be a degradation of trust about one another’s character and parental abilities and intentions. Over time, many parents see their communications dwindle and the resulting lack of information sharing may cause unforeseeable problems.

How To Enforce A Child Custody Agreement In Florida

How to enforce a child custody agreement in Florida is by considering whether you are prepared for additional litigation in your divorce or paternity case when there are minor children being affected. A Motion for Civil Enforcement/Contempt is designed to help a parent enforce a court-ordered parenting plan. A court has the discretion to enforce a parenting plan, and in doing so, may also hold the other parent in contempt which may involve certain financial or other severe penalties.

A Motion for Civil Enforcement/Contempt in Florida

A Motion for Civil Enforcement/Contempt in Florida is initiated by a parent that wants to inform the family law circuit court about the other parent’s inability, unwillingness, or outright refusal to comply with their Florida parenting plan. Timesharing is seldom honored to the letter of a parenting plan because life happens and circumstances change. Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, clients may want to examine a few hypothetical situations and assess how you would respond. How to enforce a child custody agreement in Florida? Would you file the Motion for Enforcement only, or do you believe a count for contempt is the only way to assure the other parent’s compliance?

A Motion for Civil Enforcement/Contempt in Florida

In scenario #1, Parent 2 is supposed to drop the child off every Friday after school to Parent 1’s house by 6:00 P.M. Instead, Parent 2 brings the minor child home and Parent 2’s girlfriend supervises the child until 8:00 at night before transporting the child to Parent 1’s house. Parent 1 is suspicious of Parent 2’s girlfriend and does not trust her driving safety. Would you file a Motion for Civil Enforcement/Contempt?

In scenario #2, Parent 1 is supposed to follow the clause in the parenting plan about a right of first refusal. Instead, Parent 1 often leaves the minor child at home overnight while Parent 1 goes on a work trip or engages in social activities at night. Parent 2 does not want their child left with a babysitter overnight and wants Parent 1 to abide by the parenting plan by offering them the right to timesharing when Parent 2 is away. Would you file a Motion for Civil Enforcement/Contempt in this situation to enforce the child custody agreement?

In scenario #3, Parent 1 does not allow Parent 2 to have telephone or video communications with their kids even though the parenting plan clearly specifies this should happen every night at 7:30 P.M. Would you choose to file a Motion for Civil Enforcement/Contempt to ask the court to enforce this portion of the parenting plan?

During your hearing on enforcement and contempt, the judge will hear evidence, the testimony of the parties and their witnesses, and will decide how best to resolve the issues before the divorce or family law court. If the court determines the parenting plan has been violated, the court may order the offending party to pay for the movant’s attorney fees, order make-up timesharing, impose jail time, modify the parenting plan, and a host of other remedies may be applied.

How to enforce a child custody agreement in Florida is by standing up for your rights as a responsible parent. Florida family law courts generally prefer that litigants resolve their own differences and work together to parent for the best interest of their children. When there is no reasonable alternative and the facts allow for a good faith Motion For Civil Enforcement/Contempt, call the Jacobs Law Firm paternity attorney Orlando and family lawyer Orlando for help.

Time sharing and child support in Florida

Timesharing and Child Support in Florida

One of the primary questions clients ask is how do time sharing and child support in Florida go together? Call 407-335-8113 today to speak with Attorney Jacobs about your parental rights and child support. Does time sharing affect child support in Florida? This is a great question, and an astute client asks it with good reason. Many family law mediators lecture parents 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. Splitting the issues as mutually exclusive is noble in concept, but foolhardy and impractical in real practice. Honestly, facts are facts, child support is largely based on the number of overnights the parties are allocated/awarded in the timesharing agreement. Why then should any litigant ignore this fact and give up valuable time with their child(ren) and at great financial cost? Jonathan Jacobs is a child custody and child support attorney in Orlando FL. Dial 407-335-8113 to speak with us about your family matters.

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 well-being. Call 407–335-8113 today.