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Jacksonville Divorce Law Blog

Abandonment is a common reason for divorce

Florida residents know that some of the most common grounds for divorce include adultery, intolerable cruelty and irreconcilable differences. However, another reason for filing for divorce can be abandonment otherwise known as desertion. So here is some basic information about the most common forms of abandonment.

There are two types of abandonment that are recognized in Florida; actual abandonment and constructive abandonment. But for a spouse to claim abandonment in their divorce papers there is one major factor that must be present. One spouse must willfully desire to live apart from the other. This means that there is an actual cutting off of the marital relationship. To use it as a reason for divorce, abandonment must have continued for at least one continuous year, the act must have been willful and there must be absolutely no chance that the spouses will get back together.

What is a statement of guardianship?

There are times when a custodial parent believes that they can no longer take care of their child. In situations like this, the custodial parent may then turn to the non-custodial parent to see if they can assume custody. But if the other parent is incarcerated or physically unable to assume custody, the custodial parent may need to assign a guardian for their child. The first step in this process is creating a statement of guardianship. But what is a statement of guardianship and what should be included in it?

A statement of guardianship is a document drawn up by either the custodial parent or both parents that gives another individual the right to care for and make decision on behalf of their child. This document basically re-assigns the child's parental rights to someone else to protect the best interests of the child. It is an important document and the parent should only choose a completely trustworthy person as their child's guardian.

Typical real estate that must be listed in divorce papers

Property division can become a very thorny area during a divorce. There can be many reasons for this including the desire of both parties to remain at their primary residence and the possibility that the couple owned several different kinds of property during their marriage. However, Florida law is very explicit about real estate property during a divorce and family courts insist that all types of real estate are listed in the official divorce papers.

While completing the divorce forms, spouses must identify every type of real estate that they own. They must also identify all real estate that they own separately as well as property that they own with other people such as friends or family members. All property must be identified and any attempt to hide ownership of it during a divorce can lead to problems later on.

Common difficulties with joint custody

Of the many different types of child custody arrangements that can be issued by a court during a divorce, joint custody offers several advantages for both the child and the parents. These include allowing the child to maintain a good relationship with both parents and helping the parents work together to raise their child. But does this type of child custody arrangement also have drawbacks?

One of the disadvantages of joint custody is that this type of child custody arrangement can interfere with many of the activities and people in the child's life. If the child lives some of the time with each parent, it may be difficult for the child to develop healthy strong friendships with other children. This type of arrangement can also prevent the child from participating in typical after-school activities as well.

Mother chooses prison term over probation in child custody case

Last month, this blog reported on a unique child custody case where a mother was convicted of proactively hiding her daughters from her ex-husband who had been awarded custody by a court. This week's blog provides an update on the status of this unusual legal case.

The mother convicted in the case has chosen to go directly to prison in order to serve out her sentence. The judge initially sentenced her to six years of staggered prison and probation terms. Instead, the mother asked the judge to allow her to serve her sentence consecutively, which means that she will go to prison for eight months and will be eligible for parole in about five months. She was also fined $944 (i.e., one dollar a day for each day her daughters were hidden) and told to pay $10,000 to the Minnesota Crimes Victims' Reparation Board.

Does a custodial parent have specific child custody obligations?

Child custody can be one of the most volatile topics during a divorce. And while most courts want to give both parents joint custody of their child, there are times when primary custody is given to only one parent. When those situations arise, it's very important for the custodial parent to remember that they have specific responsibilities regarding their child custody arrangement. But what are some of these specific obligations that a custodial parent has?

One of the prime responsibilities of a custodial parent is to try and maintain the child visitation schedule with the non-custodial parent. A child needs the caring and love of both parents in order to develop properly and adhering to the visitation schedule agreed to by the parents or ordered by a court is one way to help accomplish this. The custodial parent should also remember to notify the custodial parent if they have to change the visitation schedule for any reason.

What factors help determine the best interests of a child?

Many divorced individuals would agree that the most difficult aspect of the divorce process was determining child custody. Florida courts, like most others in the nation, focus on the "best interests of the child" in order to determine if one parent or both parents will have custody. But what factors does the court take into consideration when determining the child's best interest?

For a Florida court, determining the best interest of a child involves a stringent set of statutes that must be taken into account before a judgment can be rendered. These statues consist of 20 specific areas. One of the most important of these statutes is the preference of the individuals involved in the divorce. That means that both parents as well as their child have the opportunity to express their feelings about what parent the child should stay with. If the child is older and the court believes that they can logically state their preference, then the court may give additional legal weight to the child's opinion.

The difference between reasonable and fixed visitation plans

Many divorce courts award both parents joint custody of their child after a divorce believing that it is in the best interests of the child. However, if child custody is not awarded jointly, then one parent becomes the custodial parent, and the non-custodial parent must be given visitation rights to their child. Two of the primary types of visitations that can be awarded are reasonable and fixed visitations. Below is a quick look at these two basic kinds of visitations.

Reasonable visitation means that both parents can get together and decide when the non-custodial parent can spend time with their child. This type of visitation plan works best when both parents are able to communicate and cooperate with each other. A reasonable visitation plan will allow both parents to fit the visitation time into both of their schedules. However, a reasonable visitation plan gives more influence to the custodial parent; this parent can decide what is reasonable and what is not. If the non-custodial parent feels that he or she is not being allowed to see their child enough, then that parent may need to inform their divorce judge about their ex's behavior.

Typical steps that occur during the course of a divorce - Part 1

The divorce process can seem quite confusing to someone going through it for the first time; it can almost feel like trying to find your way through a very dark place. Each step of the procedure requires the former spouse to fill out new forms and reveal aspects of their marriage that they may feel uncomfortable discussing. But it's important to remember that divorce is a legal matter that requires completing specific steps. So here is a quick look at some of the common initial legal steps that usually take place during a divorce.

In Florida, courts do not recognize legal separation, so the first step in this state is for the spouse and their attorney to file a petition for divorce which can also be known as a letter of complaint. In the petition, the spouse who is filing for divorce lists the names and addresses of the couple involved as well as the names and ages of any children they may have. The petition must also include a reason for requesting the divorce.

How can divorcing couples divide up their marital property?

Emotions can run high during a divorce. That's because a judge has to look clinically at every aspect of a couple's life that they are emotionally attached to. The judge must then try and give each of them an equal share of what they once held together. This includes the process of property division, which can be difficult for some divorcing couples to face. However, there are several rational steps that divorcing couples can take that can help them divide up their marital property.

One step that they can take before a divorce trial is to hire a mediator who can help a couple get through any property division topic that the spouses are having trouble agreeing to. A mediator can help because they aren't emotionally involved with either of the spouses so they can remain neutral while discussing this topic. By following the recommendations of the mediator, divorcing couples may be able to agree on all of the aspects of property division before they appear in court.

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