Divorces in Florida Involving Children
When children are involved, the cost of divorces in Florida can quickly escalate. Unfortunately, the less the parents agree, the more expensive the divorce is likely to be. In general, if a couple cannot agree on most issues, the court will step in and dictate details of child custody, such as timesharing and visitation procedures.
Parenting Class Is Required
Even if the parents agree during the divorce process, Florida requires both parents to complete a Florida Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course if the children are under the age of 18. Before a divorce can be finalized, both parents must provide proof of completion of the course. The four-hour course is available online and must be approved by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Florida Child Support
In Florida, regardless of the circumstances, parents do not choose the amount of child support. Therefore, child support will be calculated in all cases following the Florida Child Support Statute. The final figure will consider the income of both parents, the amount of time the parents will spend with the child, the number of children involved, and the child’s or children’s needs, among other things. Using this specific method, courts reduce the number of disputes and, as a result, lower the cost of divorce.
Depending on the parent’s circumstances, failure to pay child support can result in various consequences. For example, unemployed parents who fail to pay may be ordered to participate in a job training program or a work program. The judge can also order the parent to look for work. In addition, child support payments may be deducted from a parent’s paycheck if they are employed. Finally, in some cases, the parent may pay a Support Enforcement Institution, distributing the funds to the other party. As a result, if one parent fails to pay, Support Enforcement can testify in court about the missed payment rather than forcing the other parent to appear in court.
Divorces in Florida : Visitation of Children
Florida refers to the amount of time a parent will spend caring for a child as timesharing with minor children, commonly referred to as child custody. The state does not favor women, instead using a “best interests” test to determine who the child should spend more time with. While the state does not usually prefer evenly splitting a child’s time, it will do so if it does not believe that such an arrangement would interfere with the child’s well-being or education. Factors commonly considered when allocating a child’s time include, but are not limited to, the parents’ health and morality, the parents’ responsibilities, the parent’s knowledge of the child’s interests, schooling, etc., and proof of the parent’s care for the child’s needs. Sometimes psychologists and psychiatrists are called in to help determine who the child or children should live with the most.
Florida has a Shared Parental Responsibility law that applies regardless of where the child spends most of their time. This means that both parents must agree on how a child will be raised in terms of religion, discipline, health, and education, among other things. Parents who disagree on these points must follow whatever decision a judge makes.
As a result of Shared Parental Responsibility, the couple must develop a parenting plan for their child or children. This plan should include the timesharing schedule and some of the mentioned factors, such as health care and the child’s education. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will make one for them that they must follow.
A growing trend is parents wanting to relocate after a divorce has been filed. A parent may not travel more than 50 miles from their residence for more than 60 days without the consent of the former spouses or the court. If a parent wishes to relocate more than 50 miles for any reason, they must first obtain permission.
If both parents agree to the move, they must change the visitation schedule and submit any new arrangements to the court for approval before the parent can relocate. Furthermore, anyone with visitation rights must agree to the plan.
The custodial parent must file a petition for relocation, explaining why the move benefits the child and the consequences for the child if the move is not made. It must also include a revised visitation schedule, new home location, and desired move date. If the noncustodial parent does not agree to the relocation, they have 30 days to file a petition to contest the petition.
If both parents do not agree to the relocation, they will be forced to go to court. When considering a moving request, the court will prioritize the child’s needs over the desires of the parents. The judge will consider many factors, including the child’s relationship with the parent who wishes to relocate and how such a move would affect the child’s well-being.
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