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Minaya Law Office, PLLC
With an office in Davie, we serve clients in Plantation, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

South Florida Family Law Blog

Common law marriage rights in Florida

Your decision to cohabitate with your romantic partner in Davie rather than to marry is one that is becoming increasingly shared throughout the rest of the U.S. You may have a valid reason not to marry, yet you should also be aware that not doing so could deprive you and/or your partner of certain spousal rights (regardless of whether or not you consider him or her to be your spouse). Many have come to us here at The Minaya Law Offices, PLLC unaware of this fact (and only after having encountered a situation that revealed it). This may prompt you to ask whether Florida recognizes common law marriages at all. 

According to state law, the answer to that question is no. Section 741.211 of the Florida Statutes clearly says that the state does not view such marriages as being legally valid. Thus, when you are not legally married to your partner, you could be kept from making certain financial decisions with him or her, as well as being deprived to have a say in his or her health care treatment. At the same time, however, Florida does recognize common law marriages that were validated in other states. Currently, only 13 states recognize common law marriage, including: 

  • Alabama
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • District of Columbia

The problems that persist with gay marriage laws in florida

Just as society is constantly changing, the regulations and laws that surround it often require adjustment. The 2015 Supreme Court legalizing of gay marriage reshaped countless lives, and made marriage possible for all. Yet, as with any law, this change encompassed small details that made same-sex marriage more complex than it may have seemed. Despite these complexities, some same-sex couples in Floridia wishing to divorce have pushed through the challenges to move on with their lives.

A piece from the Sun Sentinel examined those details found in same-sex marriage legalization, finding that, although legalization has long been under way, a state law banning unions is nevertheless part of the fine print. With the combination of proposed repeals and other bans, some pastors could refuse to marry same-sex partners in the future. This move, known as the "pastor protection" act, is praised by conservatives who argue for the priority of ministers and churches in these situations. Regardless of which side lawmakers take on the matter, it is apparent that the topic is a monumental one deserving of careful time and consideration.

License check reveals arrest warrant for unpaid child support

There may be a number of misconceptions that many in Davie may share about the payment of child support. The first may be that it is only owed by divorced dads. The truth is that women can be ordered to pay child support just as easily as men. In Florida, the non-custodial parent (whether that be the mom or the dad) is required to pay a portion of a family's basic child support obligation based upon his or her contribution to the net monthly income shared between the two parents. Another misconception about child support is that those who owe it can easily get away with not paying it. 

The recent case of a Michigan woman serves to disprove that notion. Law enforcement authorities found her working with a tow truck driver to remove her vehicle from a ditch. Per procedure they ran a check on her drivers' license, which ended up revealing that her driving privileges had been suspended. Another surprise also awaited them: An arrest warrant had been issued against the woman for failing to pay child support. The accident ordeal ended with her being arrested. 

Ways To Help Your Kids Adjust To Visitation

Children are better adjusted if they have parenting time with each parent. If your ex-spouse states discouragement that visits aren’t going so well, brainstorm together about what could be done to improve the situation. Toys and entertaining activities may pacify a child for a time, but continuity between both houses can give your children the structure they need to feel secure. It is hard work to craft a visitation routine that works, but the effort will benefit your children immensely.

Navigating Developmental Needs

Sharing custody time on holidays

For divorced families, the holiday season can be difficult. Tensions between parents can often contribute to a toxic atmosphere that can spoil the festivities for all. Some might suggest that it is best to avoid such tension and only allow children to spend the holidays with one parent. Yet recent studies imply that line of thinking may be wrong. Research data shared by Time Magazine shows that kids who live and spend equal time with both parents report far fewer psychosomatic health problems than those who do not. 

Divorced parents are encouraged to develop a time sharing schedule that is agreeable to both sides. This should include details describing how custody should be shared during the holidays. If parents are unable to come to an agreement over holiday time on their own, the state will impose its own predetermined schedule. That schedule (as shared by the Palm Beach County Bar Association) is as follows: 

  • Winter break: The primary residential parent shall have custody for the first half of winter break in odd years and the second half in even years (vice-versa for the secondary residential parent).
  • Thanksgiving: Children shall spend the entire school break with the primary residential parent in even years, and with the secondary residential parent in odd years. 
  • Labor Day and President's Day weekends: Children shall spend the entire weekend with the primary residential parent in odd years, and with the secondary residential parent in even years. 
  • Memorial Day and Martin Luther King's Birthday weekends: Children shall spend the entire weekend with the primary residential parent in even years, and with the secondary residential parent in odd years. 

Returning to work after your divorce

Securing a spousal support obligation is just the first part to getting back to enjoying your pre-divorce quality of life. Many of the clients that we here at The Minaya Law Offices, PLLC have worked with in Davie fall into the trap of thinking that they can live off alimony for the rest of their lives. Yet in many cases, alimony is only meant to be a temporary solution. It is up to you to put yourself in a position where you do not have to rely on it any more. 

Returning to the workforce following your divorce may seem like a daunting task (especially if you gave up your career to become a stay-at-home mom). Yet know that you can do it. Information shared by Forbes Magazine shows that in 40 percent of American households, a woman is the primary breadwinner. Your concerns are valid, however, as resuming your career may take time. The trasistion can be made easier by sticking to the following steps: 

  • Review your skill set, and the compare that to what you want to do: Simply because your professional training is in one area does not mean you have to return to it. You are essentially embarking on a new career, so make sure you enjoy it.  
  • Consider what training you may need: Going back to school is certainly an option, but understand that will delay you securing gainful employment. Consider which jobs you currently qualify for and what prospects they offer for immediate growth. 
  • Reach out to family and friends: Having personal contacts in business can be just as advantageous as an extensive work history. Do not be afraid to take advantage of them. 

Adopting from foster care in florida

While many Floridians who are family planning are aware that adoption agencies exist in the state, not all are familiar with the process. Welcoming a foster child into a permanent family can be a joyous period of life, but also an overwhelming one. It can be difficult to help a new family member adapt to everyday routines; on top of the tedious process of adopting from foster care, new environments can seem daunting for a child. Nevertheless, adequate time and care can make that transition go all the smoother.

In a 2015 article on adopting from foster care, Today news revered the gradual shifting in attitudes toward foster care in the country. With over 100,000 children in America currently awaiting forever homes, this observation is, indeed, one to celebrate. Even though a large number of Americans hold the misconception that those from foster care are unruly and even dangerous juvenile delinquents, Today reminds its readers that these children often come from neglect and abuse. With that said, it is important that parents avoid taking on more than they can handle -- just one child in any situation requires critical work and commitment.

Do child support obligations end with high school graduation?

Child support can be confusing in Florida. One false step and you can end up in serious debt. You not only owe your child money but you can get into a situation where you owe fees and fines to the state. That is why it is essential to stay on top of your child support payments. However, you are not likely to pay forever. At some point, your obligation ends, but when is that?

According to Patch, in a typical situation, it is assumed that child support ends when a child graduates high school. In some cases, the obligation may end when the child turns 18 even if he or she is not out of school yet. There are some situations, though, where child support does not end when major milestones like these are reached. 

Visitation is a long battle for many grandparents

The potentially complex process of deciding child custody arrangements can leave Florida parents feeling broken and out of options. Yet grandparents often experience similar situations, in which they are led to believe they would see a grandchild grow up but instead are not allowed to see them at all.

This situation is all too common for those battling for visitation rights. In Florida, some grandparents have discovered they do not even have rights to petition a given visitation arrangement. A life without one's grandchildren may seem painful, unnecessary, and without valid reason. Why, then, do so many Floridians deal with this problem today? 

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