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Child Custody

Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney

If your marriage has reached the point where you are seeking a divorce and minor children are involved, there are facts you need to be aware of concerning Florida’s child custody laws. At Heekin Litigation Group we understand the emotional stress and trauma affecting everyone involved in a divorce, especially children. Their pain and suffering can leave permanent scars and unnecessary wounds due to the uncertainty of what their life will look like after their parents go their separate ways. Under Florida law, there are actually two types of custody awarded by the State to parents with minor children in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Sole parental responsibility, where one parent has the legal right to make all parental decisions and Joint parental responsibility, where both parents have shared parental responsibilities. In recent years, the Florida Courts have taken a more active role in creating guidelines for divorcing parents who will share the responsibilities of raising a child after the divorce. Under Florida Statute 61.13, the State sets forth guidelines for a “Parenting Plan” that encourages frequent and continued contact between parent and child. The Parenting Plans also specifies each parent’s responsibilities and rights for visitation or time-sharing schedules, healthcare, medical decisions, schools attended, religious instruction, additional financial support, daily activities, transportation and how divorced parents will resolve problems and disputes. These Parenting Plans are very important because they preserve the fundamental rights of parents making shared decisions for their children instead of the Courts imposing its own judgement on what is best for your child. The Court can also take into account the moral fitness of the individual parents, their mental health, ability to care for the child and any evidence of child abuse that might exist. Our Family Law Attorney, Hunter Malin, is experienced in helping parents create a durable and successful parenting plan promoting the best interests of the children. In the final analysis, the Court has jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to dependent children.  Hunter also represents the rights of both mothers and fathers seeking sole or joint custody rights of their children.  Where there are concerns about a child’s safety while in the other parent’s care, a request for supervised visitation may be appropriate.  If there are concerns about a parent’s consumption and use of alcohol and/or drugs, the Court may order drug or alcohol testing.

Child Support Attorney

The Florida Statutes also address child support and have published guidelines on how much financial support one parent must pay to the other parent who maintains the residency and supplies the basic needs of the child or children. The general rule is that both parents have a legal obligation to support their children, according to their individual ability to do so. Raising children and maintaining a residence is an expensive proposition and if a family divorces, the cost of maintaining two homes is just that much more expensive and oftentimes the family’s standard of living diminishes. In determining the amount of child support payments one must pay, the parent with less timesharing becomes responsible to pay child support. For the calculation the gross income of each parent is considered minus any allowable deductions. But not all cases of child support are cut and dry, and there are many extenuating circumstances that might come into play when deciding how much is required for one parent to pay. For example, a business owner’s reported income may not be the business owner’s actual income that should be considered for child support purposes.  Hunter Malin has a tremendous amount of experience dealing with child support and understands that each case has its own unique issues. Additionally, over time, many factors might come into play such as a reduced or increased income obtained by one or more of the parents. If you have child support questions take advantage of our free consultation to discuss the matter by calling our office or filling out one of our online forms requesting an appointment.

Modification of an Agreement

Under Florida Law, modification of a child support order can occur where a difference in one or both of the parent’s income would result in at least a 15% change in the amount of monthly child support paid.  Additionally, child support may be modified where one parent begins having more overnights with the child after the entry of the Final Judgment, thereby increasing the financial burden of that parent in caring for the child. A Supplemental Petition for Modification must be filed with the court and notice served on the other parent coupled with a full financial disclosure of both parent’s incomes. Modification of child support is oftentimes requested due to a drastic change in income of one or both of the parents. Hunter has handled countless divorces with child support and modification issues, and he understands that each case is different.

Why Choose Heekin Litigation Group

Our name says it all. We have extensive trial experience in marital and family law issues, but resolving family disputes and settling legal matters judiciously and at an affordable price is our ultimate goal. Our lead Family Law Attorney, Hunter Malin, understands that compassion coupled with listening to our client’s goals and desires is paramount to our collective success. Our record of litigation and trial experience speaks for itself. When someone seeks the advice and counsel of a Family Law Attorney it is important to have a skilled negotiator as well as a practiced trial attorney. Not all divorces end amicably and sometimes trials offer the only viable solution, with decisions made by judges after being presented with all of the facts. Chances are, if you are considering obtaining the advice of an experienced family law attorney, your spouse, partner or other involved guardian is considering similar legal steps. Don’t be caught blind-sided. Give Hunter a call at 904-355-7000 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case and protect you and your child’s legal rights.

 

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