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Draper Law Office Since 1984
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Kissimmee Family Lawyer

Family law is a broad name for many different possible cases – from injunctions due to domestic violence, dissolutions of marriage, and child custody cases. At Draper Law Office, our Kissimmee family lawyers work with you to get through this difficult time by offering a level head and sound legal advice as you go through the process.

Our main focus in family law is the dissolution of marriage, or divorce. Florida is considered a “no fault” divorce state, which means that irreconcilable differences can be valid grounds for a divorce. Divorces can be uncontested or contested: in uncontested cases, the issues such as child custody and division of assets and debts have been settled. In a contested divorce, the parties have not agreed upon one or more of these issues. Even if the divorce is uncontested, it can be important to get an attorney involved so the process of filing the divorce and guiding it through the court system is quick and seamless.

Florida Family Law FAQs

What is the difference between an uncontested and contested divorce?

The parties to an uncontested divorce agree as to all of the issues of the divorce (ie: have settled issues of child custody, assets, debts, etc.). A mutual agreement as to obtaining a divorce only does not constitute an uncontested divorce. A contested divorce is required where the parties do not agree as to one or more of the issues of the divorce. There is opportunity for settlement during a contested divorce, however, the parties will likely need intervention of the court for determination of the issues of the divorce.

Why do I need an attorney to file an uncontested divorce?

Due to the complexity of a martial settlement agreement, it is always advisable to hire an attorney to draft this document or to review it if prepared by another attorney. Once a Martial Settlement Agreement is executed by the parties, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to set aside or withdraw. Moreover, if you are represented by an attorney in an uncontested divorce, some counties allow the parties to bypass the required attendance at a Final Hearing before the Court to finalize the divorce.

What types of custody of children apply in Florida?

In Florida, the terms “sole custody” and “joint custody” are not legal terms. The word custody is broken into two facets in Florida: Parental Responsibility and Primary Residence.

Parental Responsibility refers to the ability to make decisions for the child, whether those decisions be medical, education, religious, etc. In Florida, it is presumed the parents shall share parental responsibility, however, the Court does have the discretion to award one parent sole parental responsibility over the children.

Primary Residence refers to which parent the child primarily lives. One parent will usually be chosen as the primary residential care parent, with the other parent being allowed reasonable rights of visitation. Florida also recognizes rotating custody, which is where the parents have equal time-sharing with the child.

Can I waive my right to collect child support?

The primary residential care parent cannot waive their right to collect child support, as child support is for the benefit of the child. A child support award is determined by the Florida Child Support Guidelines.

When does child support terminate?

In Florida, child support terminates when the child turns 18 years old. However, if the child is still in high school, and has an expectation to graduate, child support shall be extended until the child reaches the age of 19.

Do I have to pay child support where the other parent is restricting visitation?

Yes, as child support has nothing to do with the rights of visitation and contact with the child (and vice versa).

What are the custodial rights of parents who have not been married to each other?

Where the parties are not married, the mother is considered the custodial parent of the child until the father seeks to establish paternity in a court of law. A father does not have “rights” to custody and/or visitation of his child until he has a court order that establishes him as the father. Being named on a birth certificate or having DNA testing is not enough to establish paternity.

What is alimony?

Alimony is monetary support the one spouse pays to another to maintain the receiving spouse’s standard of living. Alimony is subdivided into several categories: lump sum, rehabilitative, and permanent periodic alimony. A party’s alimony award will terminate upon death of either party or upon remarriage of the receiving spouse.

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Contact Our Experienced Kissimmee Family Lawyers Today

Our caring and experienced staff is here to help with your family law issues. Call us now at 866-767-4711 or contact one of our attorneys through our contact page.

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