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Resourceful Legal Guidance In Family Law

Lakeland Family Law Blog

Following tragedy, family faces unexpected child custody needs

The vast majority of custody battles play out between a mother and father who have ended their relationship and are struggling to divide parenting time and responsibilities. There are cases, however, in which the parties differ, and where families are faced with child custody needs that are far from the norm. An example is found in a current case that centers on the murder of a mother and the need to provide care for her three children. Parents in Florida and across the nation find it distressing to even consider such circumstances, but this is an issue that faces a number of families each and every year.

The mother was only 35 years old when she was shot and killed by the father of her youngest child. He was then killed by police when he presented a weapon in their presence. That left three kids -- a 1-year-old girl, 8-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl -- without their mother, and authorities placed them in a children's shelter. The mother's extended family immediately stepped in, and her brother asked the court to place the kids in his care.

Same-sex parents face a different sort of paternity challenge

When the Supreme Court ruled to legitimize same-sex marriage back in 2015, many couples were thrilled to have the chance to solidify their relationships and begin building their families, in Florida and elsewhere. Even so, same-sex couples still face challenges when it comes to bringing a child into their family. One of those challenges relates to how paternity is determined, especially when both parents are women.

In one state, a couple is pushing for changes to the way that a child's birth certificate is created. The couple, comprised of two women, is expecting their second child. Because only one of the women shares a genetic link to the children, the state is refusing to list the other mother on the birth certificate as "father" to either child.

What do you mean I'm not legally the father of my child?

If you are like many others in Florida who choose not to marry (at least not yet) and have a child, Florida does not recognize you as the legal father of your child. You may have discovered this fact when someone denied you some parental right. Neither you nor the mother of your child realized at his or her birth that you needed to do anything other than putting your name on the birth certificate in order to establish paternity.

That would have been enough if the two of you were married since the law presumes that a husband is the father of his wife's child. However, when parents are unmarried, the law requires extra steps to ensure parentage.

Track expenses well in advance of military divorce

For Florida spouses who are seriously considering ending their marriage, there is no such thing as being overprepared. In order to reach the most advantageous military divorce settlement, spouses need to pay close attention to current financial status, as well as their projected financial needs for the years ahead. Doing so can help spouses make more informed and, therefore, better decisions when it comes to financial matters, including divorce.

The process begins by tracking current expenses. This includes basic living expenses such as housing, groceries, utilities and fuel. It also encompasses expenses that are less common, but no less relevant. These include seemingly one-time expenditures such as having to replace one's lawnmower, completing major service on a car and urgent veterinary care for pets.

Tips for parents on how to handle child custody

When it becomes clear that a marriage is no longer tenable, many Florida parents are immediately concerned about how a divorce will affect their kids. It is no surprise that going through such a monumental change in the structure of their family will have an impact on children. That said, recent research suggests that the more important factor is how parents handle the divorce and resulting child custody changes.

After decades of divorce research, what has emerged is a pattern in which kids fare better when their parents have an amicable divorce, rather than fighting to the bitter end. Interestingly, it also seems that kids whose parents stay together out of a desire to make things easier on the children do not benefit from those efforts. It may be that, once the marriage has deteriorated to a certain point, staying in the same household offers little to no benefits to the children in the family.

Supreme Court rules on retirement benefits and military divorce

A recent ruling has addressed an issue that faces many military families in Florida and across the nation. The case made its way through the lower courts before finally being taken up by the United States Supreme Court. The outcome clarifies how retirement pay is handled after a military divorce, and gives spouses an idea of how they should plan for their future financial needs.

When the couple divorced in 1991, it was determined that the wife would receive half of her husband's retirement pay once those payments came into effect. When he retired, both parties began receiving monthly payments. Years later, he filed a disability claim, and stated that his degenerative joint disease in a shoulder was the result of his actions during service. That claim was approved, and he began receiving disability payments.

The ins and outs of alimony in Florida

Getting a divorce can be difficult emotionally. Moving on to something new can be a bit intimidating, especially if your dissolution of marriage leaves you financially strapped. Thankfully, there are Florida residents who may qualify to receive alimony as part of their divorce settlements, which can help them stay economically afloat.

So, how does alimony work? Who is eligible? How long may I receive it?

Child custody case centers on prank YouTube video

A couple is facing serious legal challenges based on video content uploaded to their YouTube channel. The couple are parents and stepparents to five children, all of whom are featured on various videos involving family "pranks." As a result of those videos, all five children have been removed from the home, and the parents are facing a serious child custody challenge based on their actions in the videos. The matter has sparked debate in Florida and across the nation.

The family's YouTube channel, DaddyOFive, contained multiple videos in which the parents played pranks on their children. However, in many of the videos, the kids appeared to be traumatized, often brought to tears as their parents screamed profanity at them. In one video, a young boy is accused of ruining the carpet in his bedroom, although his stepmother had actually poured invisible ink on the floor prior to blaming the mess on the child. Another video appears to show the father holding a handgun.

Father wins lengthy child custody fight over adoption

All Florida custody battles are distressing, for both the adults and the children involved. Some cases are more upsetting than others, however, and cases in which an adoption has been wrongfully processed are among the most difficult. An example is found in a child custody case in which a father recently won the right to raise his daughter, who was placed for adoption without his consent.

When the man found out about his girlfriend's pregnancy, he took the steps necessary to secure his paternal rights, filing a paternity petition with the court. However, the girlfriend soon moved to a different state, where the laws were more lenient regarding parental consent to adoption. She gave birth prematurely and signed away her parental rights to her brother and his wife, who have raised the child as their own since 2008. The biological father was not aware that the mother had left the state until after the child was born.

Divorce and child visitation can lead to better parenting

When most Florida parents think about divorce, they do so with a feeling of dread, sure that the change will be a negative one for everyone involved. For parents, the challenges of working through new living arrangements and child visitation can seem daunting. It is important for parents to remember, however, that there are ways to actually improve their parenting skills through a divorce.

In many cases, parents have not been functioning in a healthy relationship for some time prior to filing for divorce. That may have hindered their parenting, even if that change was unintended. Once the marriage is over, both parents may have far more time to focus on their kids. That can have great benefits for all sides.

Law Office of Amanda Salcido
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Lakeland, FL 33803

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Attorney Amanda Salcido has served her country as a member of the U.S. Army JAG Corp for more than 10 years. Her military experience spans over twenty years. Ms. Salcido provides professional legal guidance for service members and non-service members alike.

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