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Sarasota Family Law Blog

What can you do about vaccination disagreements?

As a divorced parent in Florida, you should understand the importance of working with your child's other parent. Parenting decisions have to be a cooperative effort. What happens, though, when you disagree on an issue? Finding a solution can be very difficult, especially if you are arguing over vaccinating your child. How can you resolve this dispute?

According to NBC News, one of the best solutions to your co-parenting disagreement is to meet with your child's health care provider and discuss the pros and cons of vaccinations. A doctor can help you to understand the importance of vaccinations while also explaining what risks are involved. You may be able to reach an agreement one way or another. It is also possible that you could decide to get your child some of the vaccinations while passing on other ones.

What visitation rights do Florida grandparents have?

As a Florida grandparent, a time may come when you desire legal custody or visitation with your grandchild or grandchildren. Maybe you are unable to have visits with them at the moment because the child’s parents prefer it that way, or perhaps you want to see your grandchildren more frequently than you currently do. Regardless of your reasoning for desiring visitation, it is important to know that you and the child’s parents must meet certain criteria for your visitation request to undergo consideration.

Per The Spruce, a state law passed in 2015 dictates that grandparents may sue their grandchild’s parents for visitation only in very specific circumstances. For example, if the child’s parents are missing, dead or in vegetative states, you may, as a grandparent, be able to pursue legal visitation with your grandchild.

What can you accomplish with a prenuptial agreement?

If you are getting ready to marry in Florida, congratulations! Marriage can change your life dramatically, but it is not always easy, and it is not always without disagreement. One way to minimize marital disagreements and possibly prevent them before they arise is to create a prenuptial agreement, which is a legally binding contract that applies to you and your future spouse and takes effect once you marry.

The material covered in prenuptial agreements varies broadly from one couple to the next, but many couples, or parties within a couple, decide they need to create them for similar reasons. For example, you may want a prenuptial agreement if you:

Options for establishing paternity

If you are married when you give birth to a child in Florida, your current spouse is considered the other legal parent of the child. However, things get complicated if you are not married, even if you are in a committed relationship and your partner says he or she is the baby's other parent. The law does not immediately recognize that person as the other parent, so you must take steps to secure paternity or parental rights, in the case of a same sex marriage.

The Florida Legislature notes when a child is born outside of a legal marriage, both parents can sign an affidavit that states they are the biological or legal parents of a child. This document must be signed by both people and notarized. You must also include your social security numbers on the form. It then must be filed with the clerk of court. Do note that you have 60 days to void the document. After that time period lapses, the court will legally establish parental rights. To change it after that, you would have to go to court.

Who can help when the police cannot find your child?

Abduction is undoubtedly every parent’s worst nightmare. You love your children and make every decision with the safety and wellbeing in mind. If something were to happen to them, you would do anything to ensure they come home safely.

Reaching out to the police is the first step to getting answers when your child goes missing, but the resources offered by law enforcement are not always sufficient.According to Parents.com, approximately 2,000 children are reported missing each day. Though most of these cases are resolved within 24 hours, the fact remains that many agencies lack the ability to fully investigate cases involving abducted children. You can look to the following three resources for additional assistance.

Understanding Florida adoption laws

Florida residents seeking to adopt a child will be glad to know that there are very few restrictions for doing so. As the Florida Department of Children and Families explains, virtually any Florida adult who has the desire and ability to love a child, provide for his or her basic needs, and is willing to make a lifetime commitment to him or her can adopt a child.

The Florida Bar has prepared a very helpful booklet entitled Consumer Pamphlet: Adoption in Florida that explains the adoption procedure in detail and answers many questions that someone seeking to adopt may have. For instance, Florida has four types of adoption as follows:

  1. Entity adoption
  2. Stepparent adoption
  3. Close relative adoption
  4. Adult adoption

Tips on managing parenting time

While there are many aspects of a divorce in Florida that can be stressful and emotional, splitting the care of your children is considered to be the most difficult by many parents. While it is impossible to control the actions of your ex-spouse, there are things you can do to make your parenting split simpler and more peaceful. We at the Law Office of Philip J. Schipani can not only help you arrange the best schedule for your needs, but also offer tips on how to manage the agreement. 

According to the Florida 8th Judicial Circuit Family Law Advisory Group, one of the most important factors to your success will be mutual respect. While it is understood that you may not love or even like each other anymore, it is possible to maintain respect. If you are struggling with this, it may be helpful to take a few minutes to write down aspects about your ex-spouse's life or personality that you admire. Nobody is perfect, but focusing on the positives may allow you to overlook the negatives and encourage mutual respect.

Domestic violence in Florida

Domestic violence is one of the most serious family law issues in Florida. As the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence points out, under Florida law, many forms of domestic violence, such as assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping and false imprisonment, are criminal offenses if they result in injury to or the death of a family or household member.

All types of domestic violence are serious and represent a form of controlling behavior and/or activity perpetrated by one intimate partner against the other. They are not necessarily aimed at the partner directly and can be exhibited by using the partner’s children against her or him or harming the partner’s pets. Most domestic violence, however, is aimed directly at the partner and can include such diverse behaviors as the following:

  • Unceasing name calling and taunts
  • Extreme possessiveness and jealousy
  • Hiding money and controlling household spending
  • Isolating the partner from friends and family
  • Threats of murder or suicide
  • Insisting on unwanted sexual practices and/or sex on demand

Custody and co-parenting in Florida

One of the biggest concerns of Florida couples considering divorce is their children and the custody and visitation arrangement that will go into effect once the divorce is final. If the parents themselves can come to a co-parenting agreement, this is the most preferable arrangement since it assures that the children will have continuing meaningful contact with both parents whom they love and trust. However, if parents cannot agree, a court will decide the custody arrangement for them.

As FindLaw.com explains, Florida courts are most concerned with the best interests of the children and have wide discretion when it comes to custody and decision-making awards to one parent or the other. In extreme situations, such as a history of child abuse or neglect, the court may decide that neither parent should have custody because it would be harmful to the child's physical or emotional welfare. In such a case, the court may grant guardianship custody to a grandparent, another family member or a close family friend.

Financial preparation for a second marriage

If you have gotten a divorce and are ready to get back into the dating scene, there are a few things to consider before you jump into a second marriage. One of them is your finances.

Your divorce divided your marital assets, perhaps causing you to lose some significant ones. Your credit may have taken a severe hit, and you may still be paying legal fees, child support or alimony. Get your financial state in order first to eliminate avoidable problems in a subsequent marriage, even if you do not ever get a second divorce.

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Law Office of Philip J. Schipani
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