Archive: February 2024

February 29, 2024

The Role of Parenting Coordination in High-Conflict Divorce Cases in Florida

Divorce cases can be emotionally challenging and stressful, particularly when parents are struggling to reach agreements on co-parenting, custody, and visitation arrangements. High-conflict divorce disputes can lead to long-lasting negative effects on children’s well-being, and at times, courts may intervene to break the deadlock and protect the best interests of the child. One such intervention is the appointment of a parenting coordinator – a neutral third-party professional trained to help resolve conflicts and facilitate communication between parents. In this article, we explore the important role of parenting coordination in high-conflict divorce cases in Florida, discussing how it works, its impact on family dynamics, and the value of skilled legal assistance throughout the process.

As family law specialists, we understand the importance of effective co-parenting and its impact on children’s emotional and psychological well-being. Parenting coordination can be an invaluable tool in addressing and de-escalating high-conflict divorce cases, providing a neutral environment for parents to resolve disputes and work towards the best interests of their child. Our goal is to support clients in understanding the benefits of parenting coordination, navigating the Florida family law system, and equipping them with the necessary tools to foster a healthy and stable post-divorce family environment. Join us as we delve into the ins and outs of parenting coordination in Florida and learn how this unique process can help put the needs of children first in high-conflict divorce situations.

What Is Parenting Coordination in Florida?

Parenting coordination is a non-adversarial dispute resolution process in which a trained professional, known as a parenting coordinator, assists parents in high-conflict divorce cases to communicate effectively and resolve disagreements related to co-parenting, custody, and visitation. The primary goal of this process is to protect the best interests of the child by fostering a healthy post-divorce family environment. In Florida, parenting coordinators are typically appointed by the court or agreed upon by the parents. These professionals come from various backgrounds such as law, psychology, or social work and have received specialized training in mediation, family law, and conflict resolution.

When Is Parenting Coordination Appropriate?

In Florida, parenting coordination is generally considered an appropriate option for high-conflict divorce cases that display the following characteristics:

1. Unresolved disputes regarding child custody, visitation, or co-parenting decisions.

2. History of court interventions, litigation, or multiple contempt actions.

3. Difficulty in communicating or decision-making between parents, resulting in increased stress and tension.

4. A record of domestic violence, substance abuse, or child abuse, where the court determines that the appointment of a parenting coordinator would not pose a risk to the child or either parent.

It is important to note that the court will evaluate each case individually before deciding whether to appoint a parenting coordinator. Additionally, the court can terminate the use of a parenting coordinator if it is determined that the process is no longer beneficial or necessary.

The Role and Responsibilities of a Parenting Coordinator

The role and responsibilities of a parenting coordinator in high-conflict divorce cases include:

1. Facilitating Communication: The parenting coordinator helps parents improve their communication skills, addressing conflicts, and prioritizing the needs of the child.

2. Developing a Parenting Plan: The coordinator works with parents to define and establish a detailed parenting plan, including custody, visitation, and decision-making authority.

3. Conflict Resolution: Upon encountering disagreements, the parenting coordinator assists parents in reaching appropriate resolutions, striving for consensus and mitigating the risk of court intervention.

4. Monitoring Compliance: The parenting coordinator monitors the adherence to the parenting plan, ensuring that parents fulfill their respective responsibilities and uphold their commitments to the child’s best interests.

5. Reporting to the Court: As a neutral third party, the parenting coordinator provides regular reports to the court regarding the progress of the parents’ collaboration, including any issues, concerns, or recommendations.

The Value of Legal Support during Parenting Coordination

While parenting coordination can be an effective way to mitigate high-conflict divorce cases, it is crucial for parents to have reliable legal support during this process. The benefits of engaging a skilled family law attorney throughout parenting coordination include:

1. Protecting Parental Rights: A knowledgeable attorney ensures that both parent’s rights and interests are fairly represented and protected during discussions related to the parenting plan, custody, and visitation matters.

2. Legal Advice: A family law attorney can provide sound legal guidance and insights based on Florida law, helping parents fully understand their obligations and rights during the coordination process.

3. Collaborative Efforts: An attorney can work alongside the parenting coordinator, effectively relaying their client’s concerns and contributing to the development of a mutually beneficial parenting plan.

4. Preparation for Court: Should court intervention become necessary in the parenting coordination process, an attorney can represent their client, ensuring that their position is well articulated and their interests are effectively advocated.


Parenting coordination is a valuable resource for high-conflict divorce cases in Florida, enabling parents to effectively overcome disagreements related to custody, visitation, and co-parenting while prioritizing the best interests of their child. By understanding the concept, purpose, and benefits of parenting coordination, parents can be better equipped to navigate this process and foster a healthy post-divorce family environment. The support of a skilled family law attorney is invaluable during parenting coordination, ensuring that both parents’ rights and interests are safeguarded, and appropriate legal guidance is provided throughout the process. Embrace the possibility of a brighter future for your family with the help of our trusted legal professionals at Dorsey Law JAX, as we guide you through the complexities of Florida’s parenting coordination process with compassion and expertise.

February 22, 2024

The Importance of Establishing Paternity in Florida: Protecting Your Rights and Responsibilities

Family law in Florida encompasses not only divorce, custody, and adoption but also the crucial matter of establishing paternity. Paternity plays a significant role in safeguarding the rights and responsibilities of both parents and ensuring the well-being of the child. Establishing paternity can provide a legal framework for child support, custody, and visitation rights, thus underlining its importance in maintaining a sense of stability and security in the lives of all parties involved. While voluntary acknowledgement of paternity may be sufficient in some cases, disputes or uncertainties may necessitate court intervention or genetic testing to confirm biological parentage. In this article, we delve deeper into the intricacies of establishing paternity in Florida, examining the different methods available, the implications for parental rights and responsibilities, and the advantages of seeking skilled legal guidance throughout the process.

As family law specialists, we understand the many emotions and challenges that can arise when dealing with paternity matters. Our goal is to help parents navigate these complexities with confidence, ensuring the legal certainty and emotional support needed to tackle this crucial aspect of their family lives. By providing factual information and expert advice based on Florida family law, we strive to empower our clients to make informed decisions, fulfill their parental roles, and prioritize the best interests of their children. Join us in exploring the nuances of paternity in Florida and learn how you, too, can protect both your rights and your child’s future in this vital area of family law.

Methods of Establishing Paternity in Florida

There are several ways to establish paternity in Florida, depending on the circumstances surrounding the child’s birth and the level of cooperation between the parents. These methods include:

1. Marriage: If a couple is married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband is automatically presumed to be the child’s legal father.

2. Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity: Both parents can sign a legal document called a Paternity Acknowledgment (Form DH-511), which confirms the man as the child’s father, provided they are in agreement. This form must be signed voluntarily and without coercion, and can be completed at the hospital when the child is born or later at the Florida Department of Health.

3. Administrative Order Based on Genetic Testing: When there is uncertainty regarding the child’s biological father, genetic testing can be requested by either parent or the Florida Department of Revenue, Child Support Program. If the test results reveal the man as being the biological father with a 99% or higher probability, the Florida Department of Revenue can issue an Administrative Order Establishing Paternity.

4. Court Order: If disputes over paternity persist, either parent or the state can file a petition to establish paternity with the court, which will determine fatherhood based on evidence presented, including genetic testing results and testimony from both parents.

Implications for Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Establishing paternity is essential for defining the rights and responsibilities of parents and ensuring the best interests of the child. Some of the major implications of legally recognizing paternity include:

1. Rights to Custody and Visitation: Legal paternity entitles the father to pursue custody and visitation rights, allowing him to be a part of the child’s life and contribute to essential decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.

2. Child Support Obligations: Paternity clarifies the father’s legal responsibility to provide financial support for the child, enabling access to essential resources for the child’s growth and well-being.

3. Inheritance Rights and Benefits: Establishing paternity ensures that the child is eligible to inherit from the father’s estate, claim Social Security benefits, and access healthcare, military, or other benefits from the father’s employment.

4. Accurate Medical History: Knowledge of both biological parents’ medical histories is crucial for addressing potential genetic health risks, ensuring the child receives appropriate preventative care, and making informed healthcare decisions.

Disestablishing Paternity and the Role of the Courts

In certain situations, a man initially presumed or acknowledged to be a child’s father may later discover that he is not biologically related to the child. Florida law allows for the disestablishment of paternity under specific conditions, and it requires the involvement of the courts. Grounds for seeking to disestablish paternity may include newly found evidence, unavailability or withholding of genetic testing results, or misrepresentation by the mother. It is important to note that the courts consider the child’s best interests when determining whether to disestablish paternity, and will take into account factors such as the child’s age, emotional attachment to the presumed father, and any potential harm the child may face through the decision.

Navigating the Complexities with Legal Guidance

A skilled family law attorney can play a vital role in assisting parents through the process of establishing or disestablishing paternity in Florida. Their legal expertise, in-depth understanding of Florida family law, and professional advice offer numerous benefits, from scriptdrafting appropriate documents and interpreting genetic testing results to representing the client in court when disputes arise. Additionally, having access to a knowledgeable attorney can ensure that the parents’ and child’s rights and interests are protected, and that key legal decisions are made with their long-term well-being in mind.

The complexities of establishing paternity in Florida underscore the importance of navigating this crucial facet of family law with care and diligence. The stakes are high, as paternity affects the rights and responsibilities of both parents, and has long-lasting implications for the child’s well-being. By understanding the available methods of establishing paternity, the consequences for parental rights and responsibilities, and the potential challenges that can emerge, parents can better prepare to protect their and their child’s interests during the process. With the assistance of our compassionate and skilled legal team here at Dorsey Law JAX, parents can face the challenges of Florida’s paternity laws with confidence and the assurance that their actions are in the best interests of their child.

February 15, 2024

Understanding Military Divorce in Florida – A Comprehensive Guide to Your Rights and Responsibilities

Divorce is a complicated process for any couple, but for those in the military, additional legal complexities and unique challenges can make it even more daunting. Military divorces involve distinct federal and state laws, which govern issues like military pensions, child custody, and spousal support. Understanding these laws and how they interact with Florida’s family law statutes is essential for reaching a fair and favorable outcome. At Dorsey Law Jax, our skilled attorneys have extensive experience in handling military divorces and are committed to guiding clients through this intricate legal process with expertise and compassion.

In this in-depth guide, we will explore the various aspects of military divorce in Florida, including key differences between civilian and military divorces, the impact of the military lifestyle on divorce proceedings, and the legal protections and rights available to service members and their spouses. By becoming familiar with the challenges and intricacies of military divorce, you can better prepare for the journey ahead and make informed decisions for your family’s future.

Key Differences between Civilian and Military Divorces

Although military divorces in Florida involve many of the same legal issues as civilian divorces, there are essential differences and complexities to consider:

1. Jurisdiction: Establishing jurisdiction can be more challenging in military divorces due to frequent relocations or overseas deployments. The military spouse must either reside, be stationed, or claim legal residency in Florida for the state to have jurisdiction over the divorce.

2. Military Benefits: The division of military benefits, including pensions and healthcare, is governed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), adding an additional layer of consideration to property division.

3. Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA): This federal law provides legal protections to active-duty service members, including the possibility of staying divorce proceedings during deployment or active duty, which can impact the divorce timeline.

4. Child Custody and Visitation: Military requirements, such as deployments or relocations, can make determining child custody and visitation arrangements more complex, requiring flexibility and adaptability on both sides.

Understanding these key differences is essential for navigating the intricacies of military divorce in Florida effectively.

Property Division and Military Pensions in Florida Military Divorces

The division of property in Florida military divorces follows the state’s equitable distribution rules. However, military pensions and other benefits require special consideration under the USFSPA. Some crucial aspects to consider include:

1. Military Pension Division: USFSPA allows states to treat military pensions as marital property, subject to division between the spouses. Florida courts will consider factors such as the length of marriage and military service to determine a fair distribution.

2. The “10-Year Rule”: The Department of Defense (DoD) will only make direct payments of a military spouse’s retirement pay to the former spouse if the couple was married for at least ten years overlapping with ten years of creditable military service.

3. Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP): Military spouses should also consider the SBP, which offers a continued income stream for the surviving spouse. Parties must address SBP coverage in their divorce agreement to ensure the non-military spouse remains protected.

Navigating the complexities of property division in military divorce requires a thorough understanding of both Florida statutes and federal laws, like the USFSPA.

Child Custody and Visitation Concerns in Military Divorces

Determining child custody and visitation arrangements can be particularly challenging in military divorces, as the military lifestyle may involve relocations, deployments, or separated families. Some factors and considerations in these situations include:

1. Parenting Plans: In Florida, military parents must devise a detailed parenting plan that outlines child custody, visitation, decision-making authority, and communication. The plan should account for the possibility of future deployments or relocations, ensuring the best interests of the child remain prioritized.

2. Temporary Custody Modifications: Military families should prepare for temporary custody modifications during a deployment. These arrangements allow the non-deployed parent or a designated caregiver to have temporary custody of the child while the service member is away.

3. Virtual Visitation: In cases where face-to-face visitation isn’t feasible, such as during deployments, Florida law provides for virtual visitation options, like video calls, to encourage ongoing communication between the child and the deployed parent.

Considering these unique factors and creating adaptable custody and visitation plans can help protect the child’s interests in military divorce cases.

Navigating Legal Protections for Service Members in Florida Divorces

Active-duty service members are granted legal protections under the SCRA, such as the ability to request a stay of divorce proceedings during deployment or within 90 days of their return. This safeguard ensures that military personnel can fully focus on their service and have an adequate opportunity to participate in the divorce process. To benefit from these protections, service members must prove that their military duties prevent them from participating in the proceedings.

Equipping Yourself with the Knowledge and Legal Support for Military Divorces

Military divorce in Florida involves unique challenges and complexities that require specialized knowledge and expertise. By understanding the differences between military and civilian divorces, the legal rights and protections for service members, and the intricacies of property division and child custody, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions for your family’s future.

At Dorsey Law Jax, our dedicated and experienced attorneys are passionate about guiding clients through the complexities of military divorce, ensuring their rights and interests are protected every step of the way. With our support and guidance, you can confidently navigate this difficult time and secure the best possible outcome for yourself and your family. Remember that while military divorces are challenging, you don’t have to face them alone.

February 8, 2024

Recognizing and Combating Parental Alienation in Florida – Protecting Your Family’s Well-being

Parental alienation is a growing concern in family law cases, particularly when dealing with child custody and visitation disputes. It occurs when one parent manipulates a child’s emotions and perceptions to damage the relationship with the other parent. The impact of parental alienation on families can be emotionally devastating, often causing lasting harm to parents and children alike. At Dorsey Law JAX, our experienced family law attorneys are dedicated to helping clients recognize and address parental alienation, ensuring that their rights are protected and their children’s best interests are prioritized.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the signs of parental alienation, its effect on families, and strategies to address and combat this manipulative behavior. By understanding the complexities and consequences of parental alienation, you can take proactive steps to protect the well-being of your children and promote healthier parent-child relationships. Our goal is to provide you with invaluable insights and resources to help you navigate the legal challenges and emotional complications that often arise in parental alienation cases.

No family should have to endure the pain inflicted by parental alienation. By familiarizing yourself with its signs and effects and seeking the right support, you can take positive steps to counteract this damaging behavior and secure a brighter, healthier future for your family.

Recognizing the Signs of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can manifest in various ways, making it critical to recognize the signs to address and rectify the issue. Some common indicators of parental alienation include:

1. Abnormal Hostility: The child displays an irrational or sudden hostility towards the targeted parent without a valid reason.

2. One-Sided Views: The child has only negative opinions about the alienated parent, while strongly supporting the alienating parent’s perspective.

3. Rejection without Guilt: The child outright rejects contact or communication with the alienated parent and shows no remorse or guilt about their actions.

4. Unfounded Accusations: The child makes false or exaggerated allegations against the targeted parent, often reflecting the alienating parent’s views.

Becoming familiar with these signs is the first step in identifying and addressing parental alienation in your family law case.

The Impact of Parental Alienation on Families

Parental alienation can cause severe and enduring effects on children and the targeted parent, such as:

1. Damaged Relationships: Parental alienation can lead to the breakdown of the parent-child relationship, disrupting the emotional bond and trust between them.

2. Emotional Distress: The targeted parent experiences feelings of rejection, loss, and helplessness, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues.

3. Developmental Issues: Children subjected to parental alienation may struggle with their emotional and social development, sometimes leading to aggression, low self-esteem, and difficulties in forming healthy relationships.

4. Legal Complications: Parental alienation can impact child custody and visitation disputes, with courts weighing its presence when determining the best interests of the child.

Understanding and acknowledging the consequences of parental alienation is essential to appreciate its severity and take appropriate steps to protect your family’s well-being.

Strategies to Address Parental Alienation

If you suspect parental alienation in your family law case, consider these strategies to address and mitigate its effects:

1.Document Evidence: Gather and document evidence of alienating behaviors, such as emails, text messages, or written records of incidents, which can be useful in legal proceedings.

2. Maintain Communication: Keep trying to communicate with your child, reinforcing your love and concern for their well-being, despite the rejection or hostility you may face.

3. Seek Professional Help: Consult with mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors, for guidance on navigating the emotional challenges and improving communication with your child.

4. Collaborate with an Experienced Attorney: Work with a knowledgeable family law attorney who is experienced in handling parental alienation cases and can provide the legal support and guidance required.

By implementing these strategies, you can better address parental alienation and protect your family from its damaging effects.

Legal Remedies for Parental Alienation in Florida

In Florida, courts recognize the detrimental effects of parental alienation on children and take it into account in custody and visitation disputes. Some possible legal remedies include:

1. Court-Ordered Therapy: Judges may order therapy for the child, the targeted parent, or the entire family to address the underlying issues contributing to alienation.

2. Reunification Programs: In more extreme cases, courts might recommend intensive reunification programs to help rebuild the bond between the targeted parent and the child.

3. Modifications to Custody or Visitation: Courts may adjust custody or visitation arrangements if they believe the current situation is causing harm to the child or exacerbating the alienation.

4. Contempt of Court: If the alienating parent is found to be violating court orders, such as custody or visitation agreements, they may be held in contempt of court, potentially facing fines, loss of custody, or other penalties.

An experienced attorney can help you explore these legal remedies and determine the best course of action to combat parental alienation in your case.

Reclaiming Control and Restoring Family Harmony

Parental alienation is a complex and damaging issue, but by recognizing its signs and understanding its impact, you can take proactive steps to address and overcome this destructive behavior. Employing effective strategies and seeking legal remedies can help protect your family’s well-being and restore a sense of balance and harmony. The compassionate and skilled family law attorneys at Dorsey Law JAX are here to support you on this journey, providing expert advice, guidance, and representation in parental alienation cases. With our help, you can reclaim control of your family’s future and secure the best possible outcomes for you and your children in the face of parental alienation.

February 1, 2024

Navigating Child Custody and Visitation Rights in Florida

Divorce is a challenging life event, but when children are involved, the process becomes even more emotionally charged and complex. In Florida, child custody and visitation rights play a significant role in determining the arrangements for parenting time and decision-making authority after a divorce. As a parent facing these challenges, it is essential to understand Florida’s laws regarding child custody and visitation and prioritize your child’s best interests above all else. Dorsey Law Jax, a top Jacksonville law firm specializing in family law, is committed to helping you navigate the intricacies of child custody and visitation rights in Florida – providing compassionate guidance and unwavering support throughout the legal process.

In this informative guide, we aim to provide an overview of critical concepts and components when navigating child custody and visitation rights in Florida divorce cases. By understanding these aspects – parental responsibility, time-sharing, best interest factors, and the role of parenting plans – you will be better equipped to advocate for your rights and your child’s well-being.

Understanding Parental Responsibility and Time-sharing in Florida

In Florida, child custody arrangements encompass two main components: parental responsibility and time-sharing. Understanding the differences between these two aspects is critical for navigating child custody negotiations and litigation.

  1. Parental Responsibility: This refers to the authority and responsibility of each parent to make decisions regarding their child’s health, education, and welfare. In most cases, the courts in Florida strive to award shared parental responsibility, which means both parents have equal decision-making rights concerning their child.
  2. Time-sharing: Time-sharing deals with the physical aspect of parenting – the time spent by each parent with the child. Florida law encourages both parents to maintain close relationships with their children, and time-sharing schedules aim to balance the child’s time between both parents.

By distinguishing between parental responsibility and time-sharing, parents can better advocate for a custody arrangement that addresses their unique family situation and upholds their child’s best interest.

Factors that Influence Child Custody Decisions in Florida

Florida courts consider various factors when determining child custody and visitation rights, with the overarching goal of promoting what is in the child’s best interest. Some key factors the court will evaluate include:

  1. The emotional and physical health of each parent.
  2. Each parent’s ability and willingness to foster a close relationship between the child and the other parent.
  3. The moral and ethical character of both parents.
  4. Each parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for the child.
  5. The child’s preference, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity to express a reasoned preference.

Understanding these factors can help parents focus on promoting their child’s well-being during the custody process and advocate for arrangements that best support their child’s needs.

Crafting a Parenting Plan During the Divorce Process

To facilitate successful co-parenting arrangements, Florida courts require divorcing parents to develop a comprehensive parenting plan. This legally binding document outlines the details of the child custody arrangement, addressing both parental responsibility and time-sharing. Here are some essential components to consider when creating a parenting plan:

  1. Decision-Making Authority: Clearly outline which parent has decision-making authority for various aspects of the child’s life, such as education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities.
  2. Time-sharing Schedule: Develop a detailed schedule that allocates parenting time for weekdays, weekends, holidays, and special occasions, while considering the child’s school, extracurricular activities, and social commitments.
  3. Communication Guidelines: Establish methods and frequency of communication between the parents, and the child, to ensure open dialogue and efficient problem-solving.
  4. Dispute Resolution Process: Include a process for resolving any disagreements that may arise, such as mediation or arbitration, as an alternative to litigation.

A well-crafted parenting plan can provide stability, minimize conflicts, and lay the foundation for successful co-parenting after divorce.

Modifying Child Custody Arrangements in Florida

In some cases, changes in circumstances or the needs of the child may necessitate modifying the existing child custody arrangement. In Florida, courts will consider modification requests if there is a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances, and if the proposed modification is in the child’s best interest. To request a modification, parents should:

  1. Document the change in circumstances and the reasons for the modification request.
  2. Show evidence that the proposed changes will benefit the child’s well-being.
  3. File a formal petition with the court outlining the desired modifications and provide notice to the other parent.

Understanding the process for modifying child custody arrangements can help parents adapt their co-parenting plans as the needs of their child and family evolve.


When facing child custody and visitation issues during a divorce in Florida, understanding your rights and the legal nuances involved can empower you to make informed decisions that prioritize your child’s best interests. At Dorsey Law Jax, our skilled family law attorneys provide compassionate support and steadfast advocacy to help you navigate the complexities of child custody and visitation.

We understand the importance of ensuring a stable, nurturing environment for your child during and after the divorce process. Trust our experienced team of family lawyers to work diligently on your behalf, ensuring a fair and optimal outcome for your family as you embark on the next chapter of your lives.

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