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South Florida Family Law Blog

Back child support and international travel

Child support can create a number of challenges in a non-custodial parent's life, whether they have fallen behind and are worried about the consequences they may face or they are having a hard time staying caught up because their income recently dropped. While many people realize that back child support can be problematic with regard to finances, there are other ways in which falling behind on child support can disrupt a person's life. Not only do some face the threat of arrest and a shattered reputation in their community, but unpaid child support may prevent someone from traveling abroad.

For those who owe a certain amount of back child support, successfully applying for a U.S. passport will not be possible. Not only can this throw off travel plans that have been in place for months or even years, but it can also be problematic from a business standpoint, such as interfering with a person's ability to head overseas for work-related purposes. Some people may have to miss a wedding or another family event because of their back child support and custodial parents may also face hardships when they are not receiving what they are owed.

Requesting monitored custody exchanges

While going through a divorce in Davie is certainly difficult, many of the clients that we here at The Minaya Law Offices, PLLC have worked with have seen this process free them from toxic (and in some cases, even abusive) relationships. If your relationship with your ex-spouse had reached such a point, then you may be relieved to have it behind you. That said, your relationship between him or her may be forced to continue if the two of you have children together. While you may be able to safely maintain your distance from your ex-spouse at most times, situations such as custody exchanges may force you to confront him or her in close quarters. 

Custody exchanges in particular can become stressful situations when tension still exists between you and your ex-spouse. Fortunately, you can ask to have such exchanges be monitored or supervised in order to avoid the potential for conflict. Per The Institute for Family Violence Studies, family courts will consider such requests when any of the following elements are present in a custody case: 

  • Family violence 
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Evidence of parental sabotage or alienation

Who gets the dog? 3 FAQs for determining pet custody

It feels like everything is falling apart and everyone is choosing sides, but who is going to get to keep the family dog? You bought him years ago when things were different. You trained him together and playfully argued about who had to take the dog out after dinner.

Now that one of you is moving, it’s time to determine where Fido will live too.

Why are you required to pay alimony?

You and your spouse have recently made the decision to get divorced in Florida and now you are faced with the very real possibility of having to pay alimony. This often-necessary payment could be required because of a number of options. Understanding why alimony is recommended and why you are being asked to pay may reduce your frustrations and aid you in reaching a beneficial agreement with the courts. 

According to Forbes, alimony is a payment that is usually court-ordered. You may be asked to pay it or your spouse may be asked to pay it. This depends on the working status of the both of you and your individual stability in relation to financial security. Some of the reasons why you may be asked to pay alimony include the following:

  • Your spouse has less earning power than you do and will require significant time to rebuild his or her assets and savings.
  • Your spouse helped you excel in your career during the marriage, thus strengthening your earning power. Meanwhile, he or she is relatively unemployable. 
  • Your spouse has a lack of formal work experience because he or she opted to stay home and raise a family during the time you were married. 

Detailing the Federal Tax Refund Offset program

On top of signaling the impending arrival of summer, there is another reason why so many in Plantation look forward to springtime: It is tax season! Every year, countless local residents likely anticipate receiving a big check from Uncle Sam. Some may plan to use that money to pay off debts (such as child support arrears). Yet if potential return recipients have no intention of using those funds to fulfill their child support obligations, those who are expecting it need not worry; the law allows for that money to go directly to them. 

Per the Office of Child Support Enforcement, one can petition that the U.S. Treasury Department to intercept the tax return of the person that owes him or her child support arrears and withhold all or part of it to cover those expenses. Those funds are then diverted to the appropriate local OCSE office, and then given to the support obligee. Not every case, however, qualifies for this Federal Tax Refund Offset program. To be eligible one must first know whether the child support obligor will be receiving a refund at all. If he or she will, then withholding funds is only an option if he or she owes at least $150 in arrears and the custodial parent receives financial assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. If the custodial parent does not receive such assistance, then the obligor must owe more than $500 in arrears for a case to qualify for this option. 

Working past the speed bumps of same-sex divorce

Even with the major progress of same-sex marriage legalization in 2015, countless Americans face speed bumps when attempting to separate. For many, laws surrounding divorce were never clearly laid out from the start; for others, living in different states alone has caused issues. As for Florida's laws, same-sex couples who marry also have the rights to divorce. 

Indeed a liberating event, the nation's 2015 change in law was one to celebrate. The Tampa Bay Times sheds light on the problems, however, that followed the legalization of same-sex marriage, one of which concerned divorce. Previously, same-sex couples who sought separation faced a conundrum when they discovered divorce was not so simple. Known as "wed-lock," gay couples were trapped when Florida refused to divorce couples who had married in other states. Another hiccup in the system involved wills; spouses who sought divorce but could not do so also faced issues when attempting to write wills for family, since Florida law requires that spouses receive assets. 

What does an adoptive parent look like?

Adoptive parents look no different than anyone else you see every day in Florida. They come from all races and every corner of the world. They might be doctors, teachers or construction workers. Perhaps they live on a ranch. Perhaps they live in a bustling city. While every state does have certain requirements of adoptive parents, such as a steady income and stable home, there are no certain characteristics that you must have to be considered a good match for adopting a child. So what do adoptive parents look like?

According to Adoption.org, there are quite a few characteristics that those who adopt share, including age. The majority of adopting parents are older than 30. Among the mothers, 81 percent are between 35 and 44 years old; 50 percent of the total mothers are between 40 and 44.

Courtroom behavior can influence outcome

There is no question that divorce is an emotional subject. Many couples enter the divorce process confused, angry and upset about a relationship that has them going to court. A dissolving or broken relationship, the stress of a major life change and challenge of court is a whirlwind of activity and it can bring out powerful feelings.

While it’s natural to have these feelings, divorce court is an analytical process where finances, property division and child custody are the primary topics. Courtrooms are serious, formal and direct. Impressions and how you present yourself matter along with all the financial details and sordid personal matters. Inappropriate behavior in court can be costly.

What does Florida consider when awarding alimony?

If your Florida marriage is coming to an end, you may have questions and concerns about where you will live, how your life will change and how you are going to support yourself moving forward. You may, too, have questions about whether you will be able to secure, or conversely, have to pay, alimony once the divorce becomes final, and this will ultimately depend on a variety of different factors.

According to the Florida State Legislature, you may be able to receive, or you may have to pay, alimony either periodically, or in a lump-sum format. Furthermore, alimony arrangements can take on a number of different forms, among them bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony and permanent alimony.

Why consider lump-sum alimony?

Like many in Plantation, you may have a lot of misconceptions about alimony. In reality, it is only meant to be a temporary means of assistance while you (or your ex-spouse) work your way back into a position of enjoying a similar standard of living to the one you had while you were married. Alimony may also not be something that you (or your ex-spouse) are required to pay indefinitely. According to the Florida Bar Journal, the court may decide to award a lump-sum alimony payment in your case. 

Just as the name implies, lump-sum alimony is a financial obligation with a clearly defined value. You (or your ex-spouse) may be asked to be pay the entire amount up-front provided that doing so will not place any undue financial hardships on either of you. Even in cases where the court has awarded permanent, rehabilitative or bridge-the-gap alimony, the court may offer you (or your ex-spouse) the chance to pay the entire obligation in a lump-sum. 

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