Archive: February 2021

February 23, 2021

Understanding Non-Custodial Parenthood and How to Change It

The non-custodial parent is the legal term for the guardian who does not have primary custody of their children. Many people think that, without custody, they would be separated from their children. However, many non-custodial parents enjoy healthy and cordial relationships with their children (and the parent with custody). It is fully possible to be present and provide support for your kids even without being the custodial parent. 

Some of the reasons a parent may be non-custodial are:

  • The parents are divorced and one party was granted custody by the court
  • One parent has had to relocate to find better career opportunities.

Whatever the case may be, it is important to understand your status as a non-custodial parent and figure out what you can do to maintain your relationship with your children. 

Connection Outside Visitation

It should go without saying that you should pay attention and comply with your visitation schedule. It is essential to prove to the court that you want to be present in your children’s lives. If you hope to share custody in the future, you need to make this a priority. 

Remember that familial bonds go beyond legal requirements and it is important to show an interest in your children beyond court-appointed visitation days. If for some reason, you have to be away from your children for work or health, maintaining the connection becomes even more essential. 

Luckily, video conferencing has grown by leaps and bounds. You can maintain a connection with your kids by talking through video calls, video games, and so on. Some other things you can do online, thanks to modern technology, are:

  • Watching movies and shows simultaneously
  • Listening to podcasts together
  • Playing board games online
  • Taking online courses together.

There is no end to the possibilities. There are so many things to do on the internet that the only mistake you can make is not putting in any effort at all. 

Co-Parenting

Divorce happens, and not all marriages end happily or cordially. It is likely that there is some bitterness leftover in your relationship. However, if you share children with another person, you need to aside your differences (no matter how painful they might be) and think of your children. A collaborative relationship with your co-parent is necessary for this to work. 

Ask your former partner to film and photograph important life events, such as graduations, games, performances, first steps, prom, and so on. If possible, ask if you can participate virtually. Make sure to talk to your child about these events in their life. It will remind them that you want to be in their life.

Plan for your custody modification

If you’re hoping to share custody one day, you need to prove to your kids and the court that you are capable of parenting and providing. First and foremost, you need to comply with all court-mandated appointments and regulations. As much as possible, you need to exercise your right to visit them during your scheduled visits. You also need to pay child support and alimony as consistently as possible. 

Another thing you must prove is that you have the appropriate income and space to house your children. The court will likely look into your income documents, bank statements, and tax history. It will also look into the state of your home. If your kids are of a certain age, they will likely need their own rooms. 

Final thoughts

Do not be fooled by the term “non-custodial parent.” The word “parent” is still half of that term. It does not lessen your responsibilities nor does it shrink your importance in your child’s life. As we’ve mentioned before, it is completely possible to have a meaningful and healthy relationship with your children no matter the legalities surrounding your parenthood. 

If you’re looking for family lawyers in Jacksonville, FL, give us a call at Dorsey Law JAX. We can provide you sensitive but aggressive representation in your bid to earn custody of your children. 

February 18, 2021

Family Law: An Overview of Child Custody Law in Florida

Dealing with divorce and separation is more than just delegating assets after the court proceedings; it’s also an issue of handling who gets to have custody of the children. This ruling can vary from state to state, which can complicate how you should approach child custody laws.

Custody laws in Florida recognize that the children involved in divorce and separation cases will still benefit from spending time with both parents. This puts either parent without a clear advantage at the beginning of the court proceedings. Because of this caveat, you have to present enough information to the judge to ensure that your child is in better hands with you than your spouse.

Understanding ground rules of child custody laws

Since family law in Florida strongly emphasizes both parental relationships, a judge imposes a set amount of “time-sharing” where both parents will have visitation and custody time slots allotted to meet their child. In Florida, parents generally have similar custody benefits, unlike other “joint custody rulings” where there can be huge disparities between what one parent’s right over the other. However, parents can lose their time-sharing and visitation rights if there’s valid evidence of domestic violence, neglect, or other forms of child abuse.

Besides custody rights, both parents also have the right to contribute to medical, religious, educational, and legal decisions on the child’s behalf. Although both parents start with equal parental responsibility, a judge can make one parent with the sole decision-making power if the setup affects the child’s well-being.

Although both parents generally share the same rights, one parent will be designated as the primary or custodial parent, while the other is the secondary or noncustodial parent. In simple terms, the custodial parent generally has more influence and decision-making capabilities on the child’s well-being.

Determining child custody in Florida

Florida judges expect parents to put their child’s needs first above their own benefit, which will reflect on what the judge will allow a parent to uphold as a right. Although it can be a vague standard or motivation, there are specific factors that judges will look for in a parent’s evaluation. Listed below are five factors they’ll consider in identifying who the primary parent should be.

  1. A parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs consistently
  2. A parent’s physical and mental state
  3. A parent’s moral fitness
  4. A parent’s willingness to maintain relations between the child and the other parent
  5. A parent’s geographic accessibility to honor the time-sharing schedule

Besides comparing each parent, the judge also needs to factor in the child in question. They also need to see the child’s adjustment to new living dynamics, together if the child has a preference for a particular parent. These will be vital, especially if they’re of sufficient age to understand their family’s current predicament.

Conclusion

Unlike most separation cases in other states, Florida law leans towards the cooperation between each parent to develop a positive relationship for the child’s development. Collaborating with the opposite party is necessary, which is a considerable part of gauging your moral fitness to protect the child from the stress of divorce or separation. It’s your responsibility as an individual to work things out with your previous spouse to ensure that you both have the right capacity to nurture your child’s growth.

Although it can be challenging to make amends with your spouse, it’s necessary to overcome your difference for the sake of your child’s future. If you’re looking for top Jacksonville attorneys, Dorsey Law JAX’s pool of reliable law experts can help. Contact our family law experts by calling us at (904) 394-2865.

February 11, 2021

What You Need to Know About Default Divorce in Florida

One of the defining differences between divorce law in Florida and other states is its no-fault terms. It means you are not required to provide evidence for adultery, abuse, and other reasons to forward your case. You can even expect your case to be granted in just 20 calendar days, mostly if the defendant ignores the petition and doesn’t respond. These terms give you the opportunity to get a default divorce. But what exactly does it entail, and how does it benefit you? 

This article will discuss different queries and their corresponding answers about default divorces in Florida. Take this as an opportunity to move on with your case and get the legal solutions you need. This way, you can live out your new life on your own terms.

What Happens When My Case Falls Into Default? 

Forwarding your default divorce case means you can continue the proceedings without the other party. The Court can even do this without conducting a hearing, and the defaulted party cannot be allowed notice in future court hearings and other legal processes. You just need to consult with an experienced attorney to guarantee you meet all the requirements for your divorce case. 

Typically, you can fall into either a clerk default or judicial default divorce. Clerk default happens when the other party doesn’t answer back in any form to the served petition. On the other hand, judicial default occurs when the party cannot defend against your claims. The Court is effectively in your favor because once default status is claimed, your account can be deemed legitimate. In other words, it’s like the defendant pleads guilty to all your claims. 

The only chance the other party has to attest to the case is when a judicial default is forwarded, requiring notice of hearing served and a chance at Court for the defaulted party to plead against the default divorce. 

How Do I Overturn a Default Divorce in Florida? 

Setting aside a default divorce can be possible, but it’s a generally tedious process. Additionally, every case has various circumstances and can be mishandled if not done properly. 

You have to work closely with your law firm and ensure they are well-versed in Florida law to succeed, especially since overturning requires excusable neglect, a meritorious defense, and due diligence. Read the following definitions to understand better what it takes to overturn a default judgment: 

1. Excusable neglect

Excusable neglect means the defaulted party must give a legitimate reason why they didn’t respond to the summons within the 20-day period. Typically, most of the accused put forward medical-based reasons, such as hospital stay in an intensive care unit. The reasoning cannot be simply a lack of legal knowledge; it must be something compelling to the Court and presented well by an experienced attorney. 

2. Meritorious defense

Presenting a meritorious defense must meet the requirements of Florida law, made in a pleading or affidavit, and drafted professionally. Anything otherwise can mean the default shall remain recognized. It’s best to coordinate with a law firm for further assistance. 

3. Due diligence

Due diligence means the defaulted party is now committed to cooperating after learning about the default divorce case. Remember that the case’s facts can fail since there’s no singular outcome for overturning default cases. The attorney must be equipped with legal expertise to set aside the divorce case. 

Conclusion 

Dealing with default divorce can be challenging, especially if you handle this by yourself. Fortunately, you now have a better understanding of what to expect. You just need the right legal professional to oversee your case and represent you. Seek help from an experienced law firm today. 

Dorsey Law Firm offers the best legal services in Jacksonville, enabling you to handle your divorce case easily. We can also provide you with assistance for criminal law and personal injury concerns. Call us through (904) 394-2865 or schedule your online appointment to find out how we can help you. 

February 2, 2021

Filing For A Divorce In No-Fault Florida: Elements To Consider

Although some people are lucky enough to find love that lasts, most newly married couples end up with a doomed relationship. Lifetime only lasts for months, directly leading to a divorce. This causes emotional turmoil, of course, but the divorce process also comes with legal and financial implications. 

In the state of Florida, for instance, ending a marriage does not come easy. You’ll want to think beyond the years, going as far as your retirement plans, child support, eligibility, and of course, tax and assets. 

It may sound like a lot of trouble, but we’ve curated this guide to help you navigate through such a difficult time. Let’s talk about all the elements you need to consider:

Element #1: Eligibility for a divorce in Florida

If you wish to file for a divorce in Florida, the couple involved must have lived in the state for at least six months. This duration should be before filing the matter with the court, with the exception of military members who reside in Florida, but are currently stationed away from the state. All divorce filings must also be made in Florida’s county, where either of the couples currently resides. 

Element #2: Grounds for divorce in Florida

Before filing for a divorce and finalizing your decisions, it’s important to remember that Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you must only file for a divorce when you know and believe that your marriage is broken, with no hope of picking up the pieces. 

Simply put, you must be able to show that your relationship is over, and there will be no means of reconciliation. This could be due to a cheating spouse, as well as mental incapacitation. 

Element #3: The entire process 

Once you meet the eligibility requirements and grounds for a divorce in Florida, you now have the liberty to file for a divorce with the court. You’ll need to accomplish a form called the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. Here, you’ll become the petitioner for the divorce, and your spouse would be the respondent. 

Once this form has been filed, you now need to present a copy to the respondent. Should they agree to the divorce, they need to accept the service of the papers by filling out and filing another form, now called the Answer and Waiver of Service. This needs to be signed and notarized before filing.

Should they refuse to accept the service of the divorce papers, enlisting the help of a sheriff from the country will be vital. They will then serve the papers to your spouse, in the hopes that they accept the terms. 

Within 45 days of your petition being filed, Florida will also require you to procure a signed financial affidavit. This disclosed information about your current financial status, detailing your income, assets, debts, bank statements, credit cards, and even tax returns.

Enlist The Help Of The Best Jacksonville Attorneys 

As a no-fault state, understand that Florida will be handling your divorce petitions differently. You’ll need to prove with conviction that you’re ending your marriage simply because it’s over—and with no way to repair it. Processes involved will also be challenging, but with the help of this guide and a lawyer, you’ll be able to get through such an emotional time.

For top Jacksonville attorneys, Dorsey Law JAX has you covered. We’ll help make the process easier and convenient for you, especially since divorce can be an uphill battle of emotions, finances, and other complicated matters. Allow our experienced professionals to help—book a consultation today.

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