Steps to Take to Secure Your Family Law Goals in Florida Cases

When starting a case in family law you should have a basic understanding of your problem and the legal consequences tied to it, also you need to have a plan. Here are some steps that you should take to secure your family law goals:

Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that you enter into before you get married and is a condition of the marriage. If a couple gets divorced or one of the spouses dies, default provisions may dictate what happens. However, a prenuptial agreement may allow the spouses to forfeit certain rights or determine certain financial arrangements so that the default laws do not result.

Divorce

Marriage is a legal relationship between two parties. If the couple no longer wants to be married, divorce creates the legal termination of this relationship. Important rights may be implicated by a divorce, including property rights and parental rights.

Legal Separation

Sometimes spouses may not want to get divorced but may want to be apart and have clear guidelines in place regarding their rights. Legal separation agreements have many of the same types of provisions as divorce agreements, such as arrangements regarding the children, child support, spousal support and division of property.

Paternity

Paternity is the legal process of determining who the father of a child is. Typically, a DNA test will be executed to make this determination. The mother of a child may file a paternity suit as a precursor to establish child support. However, the father of a child may also file this type of action in order to establish rights to his or her child.

Spousal Support

Commonly during a proceeding for divorce or legal separation, one spouse may ask for financial support from the other spouse. This money is paid directly to the recipient spouse for a certain amount and duration as determined by the family court.

Child Support

Florida law acknowledges that child support must be provided by both parents. Typically, the non-custodial parent will pay an amount of child support to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child. There are child support guidelines in place to determine how much support should be provided for the child.

Child Custody

Child custody is the legal arrangement that determines with which parent a child will live and how decisions regarding a child will be made.

Emancipation

Emancipation removes the conditions of a child’s minority. It gives the child all the same responsibilities as an adult. He or she must then support himself or herself.

Learn the Law

It is important for you to understand the laws that may apply to your case. For example, if you are going through a divorce where you and your spouse do not agree on how to divide your property, you will need to understand the laws related to Florida property division. You can learn the applicable laws by talking to an experienced Florida family law lawyer. He or she can explain that separate property that is not subject to distribution during a divorce includes assets that you owned before the marriage, subject to a prenuptial agreement or that you received through a gift or inheritance. Marital property includes those assets that you acquired after you were wed.

Each separate case involves its own unique processes and procedures. For example, if you are going through an international adoption, there will be unique steps that you must follow and that may not apply to domestic adoptions. If you are going through a child custody battle, you will need to understand the “best interest of the child” standard and the factors Florida courts consider to make this determination.

Gather Evidence

Family courts may require evidence of a person’s position related to certain legal matters. He or she may need to gather bank statements, insurance documents, deeds, written agreements, pictures, recordings, employment records and other documents and sources of evidence. Provide this evidence to your lawyer and respond to all requests for evidence in a timely manner. If there is a contested hearing, you may also need to call witnesses who can support your version of events. Sometimes the court may also involve neutral third parties who can investigate your claims, such as child custody coordinators or guardian ad litems.

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