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Ft. Walton Beach Criminal Defense Blog

Understanding visitation rights under a parenting plan

This Florida family law blog has provided its readers with a number of posts on child custody matters, from information on custodial interference to the basic differences between legal and physical custody. However, there is a related family law topic that often goes hand-in-hand with child custody that many readers may have questions about, and that topic is visitation. This post will explain how a parent may end up with visitation rights in lieu of physical custody after a divorce or separation.

While legal custody is sometimes manageable for parents to share after ending their relationship, shared physical custody can be hard for some divided families to juggle. This may be due to physical distance between the households of the parents, the needs and schedules of the children subject to the custody order or agreement, and other important considerations. When it does not serve the best interests of a child to split his or her time living in each parent's household, then one parent may be granted sole physical custody while the other is granted visitation.

What is alimony?

Articles about celebrity divorces pop up in Florida newspapers from time-to-time, raising questions regarding which party will keep the power couple's real estate holdings and how they will divide up their time with their kids. These stories are interesting from an entertainment angle, but they can also be good tools for readers to learn from when it comes to preparing for and understanding the process of divorce. For example, one divorce-related topic that a reader may want to know more about is alimony.

Alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, is a form of financial support that one former married person provides to their ex after their relationship comes to an end. Alimony may be ordered by a court after a hearing, or the parties to a divorce may agree that one will provide the other with support through what essentially equates to a contract.

Parents can fight for their kids' best interests

Parents often know their kids better than anyone else in the world. Even when Florida kids have strong bonds with their friends and siblings, their parents still have the experience of raising them from their first days of life and witnessing all of their triumphs and failures. As such, parents can be the closest thing to experts on their children's unique wants and needs.

This knowledge can be incredibly important when parents find themselves in the difficult position of negotiating their children's custody and visitation plans. These plans are often made during divorce proceedings and when parents are challenged to work together to find common ground for the sake of their offspring. With the help of family law attorneys, though, many parents can successfully advocate for plans that support their children's best interests.

Enforcement efforts for unpaid child support can be significant

Courts order parents to pay child support for the benefit of their kids when the children's parents do not live together or function as a couple. For example, when a Florida child's parents are married then presumably the parents share in the expenses and responsibilities of taking care of that youth. However, when a child's parents live in separate homes and do not share financial accounts or assets, then it can be more difficult to ensure that each is contributing to the welfare of the child.

If a parent is required to pay child support, that mandate is not optional. It is a judicially enforceable right for the child to receive support from that parent. When a parent fails to keep up with their obligation, then legal action can be taken in an attempt to recover owed support.

What factors can influence my BAC?

A person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can be impacted by many internal and external factors. This post will offer readers a brief discussion of some of the ways a person's BAC may be affected. This information is important for Florida residents facing drunk driving charges to understand as they prepare their criminal defense strategy.

First, a person's BAC may vary depending upon how much food he or she had to eat before and during his or her drinking. The presence of food in a person's stomach may slow the absorption of alcohol into his or her system and therefore the speed at which the person's BAC is raised.

Do you need more than a good realtor when buying a house?

Purchasing a home in Florida is a significant legal and financial transaction. There is an element of financial risk involved with any home purchase, but there are certain things you can do to lower your risk for costly surprises and additional complications.

Many people think all they need when buying a home is to seek the assistance of a real estate agent. While agents often have vast experience and knowledge of real estate law, there are certain things they cannot do. When you are considering making such an important decision, you need an experienced legal ally by your side to ensure the protection of your rights and your long-term interests.

We competently fight for child support modification

The state of Florida sets forth a complex set of guidelines that formulaically dictate how much support a noncustodial parent should pay for the benefit of their children. The guidelines consider the parents' income, the number of children that the parents must provide for, and other important information that can be altered for the family's unique financial situation. Guideline determinations for child support can be changed, though, when circumstances warrant it and when modification supports the best interests of the kids.

Once a family has its child support order or agreement set it may seem as though no problems will derail it. However, child support orders and agreements can be modified from time to time when doing so would serve the parties changing needs.

What is an ignition interlock device?

If a Florida driver is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and then later convicted on those charges, they may face a variety of possible legal consequences. While they may lose their driving privileges either through a license suspension or revocation, they may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their car. The remainder of this post will discuss what an ignition interlock device is and what it is used for.

An ignition interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer. A person must blow into it in order to demonstrate the concentration of alcohol in their body (their "BAC"), but the location of an ignition interlock device is different than where one would expect to find a breathalyzer. While law enforcement officials use breathalyzers on drivers in an attempt to obtain evidence of intoxication, an ignition interlock device is located in a driver's car.

Toward which costs may child support payments be applied?

Contrary to what some readers may believe, child support payments in Florida may be applied to a vast range of child-related expenses. While a child's basic needs must be covered by the financial support provided to them by their parents, child support may also be used to provide a child with educational, enrichment, and entertainment-based opportunities.

First, child support can and should be used to put a roof over a child's head, food on their plate, and clothing on their back. It should also be used to provide a child with medical care and insurance for their health-related needs. It may be used to pay the rent or mortgage for a home where the child lives or for transportation expenses for taking a child to school, appointments, and other commitments.

As a grandparent, when can you seek visitation or custody?

Florida grandparents seeking custody or visitation of their grandchildren know that they have a challenging task ahead of them. Grandparent rights are a complex and difficult legal issue, and often, there are many complications standing between them and their goal of having a significant role in the life of their grandkids. 

If you are a grandparent and you believe that it is appropriate to seek either regular visitation or custody rights of your grandchildren, it is prudent not to attempt to walk through this process alone. You have the right to learn more about your options and understand how the courts determine what is in the best interests of a child.

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