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Brandon Family Law Center, LLC

Supporting Families from Birth to Legacy

Brandon Family Law Center, LLC

Supporting Families from
Birth to Legacy

Serving The Legal Needs
Of Tampa Bay Area
Families Since 1989

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Tampa Family Law Blog

Factors that may warrant a child custody modification

In Florida and around the country, the health and safety of children is a top priority. When a couple with children divorces, they may either come to a custody and visitation agreement on their own or ask a court to order one. However, it may be necessary to ask for a modification to an existing order under certain circumstances. For instance, if a parent ignores the terms of a custody agreement, it may be possible for the custodial parent to ask to change it.

If a parent chooses to move farther away from the child, that may also be grounds for a modification. One may also be granted if the custodial parent moves the child away from the noncustodial parent. When considering a request to modify an existing child custody order, a judge will look at whether the move is motivated by a desire to keep the child away from the other parent.

How a parent may request back child support

Florida parents who are asking for child support as part of their divorce order may sometimes want to seek retroactive support from the date that the couple physically separated. If the parent who has not paid support is a father, the custodial parent might have to show proof that he is aware that the child is his. Custodial parents may need to show proof that they have attempted to collect support from the other parent and that the parent has not paid.

Noncustodial parents may counter this claim if they have receipts showing that they paid support. Even if they have not paid support, they might be able to show that they provided items such as clothing and food. Without receipts, they may still be able to prove their support if they have records of communication or even a witness who can provide testimony that support was given.

Tips for working together to create a parenting plan

Working together to create a parenting plan can be difficult, especially when emotions are running high due to a divorce. But if you can collaborate, not only will you save money and time, you also may preserve your co-parenting relationship. You may not be husband and wife any longer, but you will still be parents for a very long time. Graduations, birthdays and other celebrations will likely be celebrated together.

Common misconceptions about child custody

Florida parents might think that if they cannot afford an attorney in a child custody case, they must represent themselves. However, the right to legal representation is not just for criminal cases. A court can appoint an attorney although a person is not required to use one.

A parent might also assume that if the other parent abandons the family, that parent forfeits custody. However, if one parent has left, the other parent still needs to go through the formal process of filing for custody.

Scarlett Johansson may have international custody battle

Florida celebrity watchers may be interested to learn that actress Scarlett Johansson and her estranged French husband are both seeking primary custody of their 2-year-old daughter. It was reported on March 9 that Johansson has filed for divorce in a New York court using her real name even though she had the option of filing under an alias.

After Johansson had made the issue public, her estranged husband had reportedly asked her to withdraw the divorce action and go back to negotiating. However, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, the court that has jurisdiction over the case is wherever the child has lived for six months. By publicly filing the divorce action, Johansson can claim that she lived in New York and prevent the case from going a French court. Even so, the estranged husband could still potentially file in France, which would result in a bi-national jurisdiction conflict that would have to be resolved before any decisions are made.

Recovering a child from a foreign country following a kidnapping

A Florida parent's worst nightmare could occur if their child is kidnapped by an ex and taken to another country. While prosecutors do have the authority to investigate and potentially prosecute the other parent involved in the kidnapping, they cannot control whether or not foreign authorities will return the child to the United States.

The return of a child is often done through negotiations between the U.S. Department of State and other foreign agencies. Depending on the country where the child is located, the return could potentially be facilitated by the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction. However, both countries involved in the child abduction situation must be signatories. Since the U.S. is a signatory state, the other country would also have to be a signatory state.

3 important tips for moving on after divorce

Divorce is a painful process that can be debilitating if you let it. You alone are responsible for the way you live your new life, but you can benefit from help provided by friends and experts alike. If parting from your ex was a crushing experience, taking a clear-eyed approach to the road ahead is the best antidote. Here are three areas you will want to focus on in moving forward.

How long can late child support be collected?

Florida residents who are divorced and receiving child support might find themselves in a situation where some payments are late and their child is about to turn 18. While in most cases child support orders are terminated by the courts once the child attains majority, there might still be a question about the back-owed support.

Late payments of child support are one of the family law issues that can affect how a family continues with their lives after a divorce. Generally, families should still be able to collect back-owed child support, even after the child turns 18, since the obligation of the paying parent is not automatically removed once the child reaches that age. In most cases, the child support payments must continue until the full amount owed is paid. In some instances, custodial parents might need to go back to court to reopen the order when there are amounts in arrears but the statute of limitations has expired.

New opportunities and challenges for same-sex couples

If you are a Florida resident in a same-sex relationship, you can access legal protections for your family and assets since the recognition of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court of the United States. The legality of same-sex marriage opens up the ability to plan an estate transfer, create prenuptial agreements or advance parental rights. Prejudices remain throughout society, however, and institutional barriers could arise when adopting a child or trying to manage the medical care of an ailing partner.

The application to newly-gained marriage equality rights to existing family law statutes has yet to be established. Your desire to adopt your partner's child or become a parent through a surrogate will still require navigating a legal bureaucracy unaccustomed to same-sex families. If an adoption agency or family court pushes back against your requests, then the support of an attorney might be needed to express your right to be recognized as a legal family.

Adoption and tax incentives

Adoption is a beautiful opportunity for families who want to grow while helping a child in need at the same time. If you are considering adoption, you already know this, but you might not know it can offer some financial benefits as well. There are certain tax incentives that are available for families who choose to adopt. The following information can help you better understand the tax incentives available as well as what eligibility requirements you must meet to qualify for them.

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