Articles Posted in Parenting

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Thousands of adoptions occur across the United States every year. Most of them proceed very smoothly and without any unexpected surprises.

However, there are a handful of adoptions that do occur that involve unsuspecting problems, and result in heart wrenching stories.

One recent story involves Sonya, a young child adopted by a Tennessee couple. The biological father’s rights were believed to have been terminated. The biological father received a 10 year sentence for illegally transporting firearms. State law provided for termination of his parental rights based upon the ten-year sentence that he received. This sentence paved the way for the adoption Sonya.

Unfortunately for Sonya, her biological father, whom she had never met, negotiated his ten (10) year sentence to 7 1/2 years, which resulted in reinstatement of his parental rights.

As you can well imagine, the outcome for Sonya has not been a pleasant one. The family court judge relied solely on biology, when he voided the adoption and placed Sonya with her biological father. The judge did not consider the best interests of the child, which should always be the paramount concern with this judge or any other judge.

The adoptive parents of bringing this matter back to the attention of the judge for him to consider the best interests of Sonya. You can read more about the story of Sonya by clicking on this link to CNN.

The primary concern for any family court judge should always be the “best interest” standard for the child. Biology, in many, many cases, standing alone, will not result in the “best interest” for a child.

If you are facing possible child custody or visitation issues, experienced Florida family law attorney Alan R. Burton will help you stand up for your rights with your child. He knows how to fight for you and your child. Do not hesitate to contact our offices in Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale for help today.

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Welcome to the 21st Century! With the popularity of Facebook, Twitter and the internet in general, your life has become an open book. You may need to seek the services of a seasoned attorney when social media becomes a central issue in your case.

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Postings to your facebook page can become fodder for your spouse’s lawyer, especially when there are minor children involved. Don;t be fooled thinking that what you are posting is off limits to your spouse. It’s not. As equally important are postings by others, which may have a direct link back to you, whether you were aware of it or not. One such example may be a posting of your underage child under the “influence at a party”. Who was the parent “on call” at the time?

Everything on-line becomes a record, which may be used either in your favor or against you, as the case may be. The electronic age is not limited to social media, but to all aspects of your life, including financial matters.

Banking records are easily reproduced, which will clearly document a trail of your finances.

Privacy today simply does not exist. Be careful what you say or do, as it will most surely be used against you in court.

Source: The Huffington Post, “The Divorce Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You Are Making“, Taryn Hillin, March 18, 2014

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Incredible as it sounds, the Massachusetts legislature is considering such a bill. The proposal should not be considered in a vacuum however, as it applies only in specific situations, when minor children are involved.

The proposal was designed to promote and protect the best interests of the minor children, whose parents are in the midst of a divorce.

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Robert LeClair, a local Massachusetts lawmaker proposed the bill, after going through a bitter divorce himself. The specifics of the bill would be to prohibit the parent in possession of the marital home, from engaging in any type of sexual relationship with a new partner during the parties separation, and prior to the divorce proceedings concluding.

The bill would would have to be passed by the state legislature, and then approved by the governor.

The language of the bill reads as follows:

“In divorce, separation, or 209A( restraining order)proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts,”

The law, if passed, would raise some interesting questions about obtaining the necessary evidence to prove a violation of the law. Since children are generally not allowed to testify in court, absentee spouses will need to become quite creative in order to prove their case. This bill will most certainly keep the private detectives in Massachusetts quite busy.


Source:
The Huffington Post, “Massachusetts Bill Could Ban Sex During Marriage“, Emily Thomas, March 24, 2014

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Divorce often times becomes a power struggle for control over the children. Issues such as time sharing, educational decisions, sports activities, religious upbringing, and medical care are just a few of such issues.

Anger between parents also brings the children into the middle of things. What role should the children play in their parent’s divorce? Whose side should they take, and for whom should they speak on behalf of
The answer to these questions should be apparent. They are not the ones “getting divorced”; their parents are divorcing. It is not their battle, and they should not be a part of the proceedings.
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Divorcing parents in Florida must participate in state mandated parenting education courses before their divorces are finalized by the judge. It is better to participate in this required program early on in order to avoid as much conflict as possible throughout the proceedings.

HBO will be airing a documentary throughout the month of October which deals with divorce from the children’s perspective. Kids will explain the impact of divorce on them, and they offer advice to parents on how they should conduct themselves during the difficult process of divorce.

Any parent who wants to clearly understand what impact the divorce process has on their own children should not miss this HBO documentary, “Don’t Divorce Me! Kid’s Rules for Parents on Divorce.”

If you need any additional information, or assistance in the divorce process, and reducing the potential harm to children, contact an experienced attorney, one who is an advocate for children’s rights. Alan R. Burton, Esq., an attorney with offices in Boca Raton, Florida is ready to advise and assist you.

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Child custody issues, or extensive litigation in order to “win” the title of primary custodian should become a thing of the past. All of the reasons to litigate these issues have been abolished under Florida law.

Instead, Florida has adopted what is now referred to as time sharing with minor children, which is established under the provisions of a parenting plan. The requirements for a parenting plan are found in Florida Statute 61.13.
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Furthermore, the trend today is approximating an equal time sharing arrangement whenever possible. Each case would be decided on its own merits, but if it is geographically feasible based upon the distance between the parents home, and consideration of other statutory factors as found in Florida Statute 61.13, the most likely outcome will be a 50-50 split.

The best interests of the child will always be the guiding principal in consideration of the court approving a parenting plan. The plan, at a minimum, must establish how the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child are to be apportioned; the times each parent is to have with the child; who is to be responsible for the health insurance for the child; and which parent’s address is to be utilized for school purposes.

A parenting plan can be as detailed as the parties require, or it can simply cover the minimum requirements under Florida law.

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Yes!

Facebook is mentioned in at least 33% of all the divorce cases filed in the United States in 2011. This is according to a story aired by ABC News.

There is no doubt that social networking and facebook are and will continue to play an integral part of all of our lives now, and well into the future. Privacy rights are now the exception, rather than the rule. Technology has taken over all aspects of our lives.

Someone is always watching you, and in a divorce proceeding, there are countless ways in which your actions can be used against you by your spouse. Custody and time sharing issues, and marital waste are just too examples.

Information, both helpful and useful, as well as damaging to your case, is just a click away.

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The divorce process becomes more complicated when there are minor children involved. This is especially true when one parent wishes to relocate.

Relocation with minor children in Florida is governed by Florida Statute 61.13001.

If a parent wishes to relocate from south Florida cities such as Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or from anywhere else in Florida, they must comply with Florida Statute 61.13001 if the move is more than 50 miles from their current residence.

The easiest way to comply with the statute is to obtain the written consent from the non-relocating parent, If that consent will not be given, you will then have to file a petition for permission to relocate. The petition is filed in the County that granted the initial divorce decree.

These cases are factually intensive, and each individual case will be heard on its own merits. Some of the relevant factors for the court to consider is whether or not child support is being paid and whether or not it is current; the reason for the requested move; whether or not alternate time sharing arrangements can be made, and who will be paying for those addidtional expenses.
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Relocation cases are important. Do not take them lightly or for granted. BE PREPARED! Feel free to call me if you have unanswered questions about the process, or whether you require any assistance in your quest to either relocate or to defend against such a proceeding.

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Under Florida law, terms such as custodian, primary custodian,and any other use of the term custody have been abolished.

Florida has now adopted what is known as a parenting plan, the provisions of which can be found in Florida Statute 61.13 (2)(b). A parenting plan must include, at a minimum, certain things, as follows: a detailed description as to how the parents will share and be responsible for daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child; the time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child will spend with each parent; a designation of who will be responsible for any and all forms of health care, school-related matters including the address to be used for school boundary determination and registration, and other activities; and the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child.

Developing a parenting plan is an individualized matter, and every plan should be tailored to your family. It is important to consult with an attorney who handles these child issues on a routine basis.

Alan R. Burton, Esq., a Boca Raton, Florida attorney
, has been in practice for over thirty years, and deals primarily with divorce and other family law cases.

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1064682_airbus_a380.jpgIn today’s economy, we see more and more people struggling to find employment. As a result, people are searching over a broader market area then they would normally be looking at, and as a result, more employment opportunities become available to individuals in other states.

This brings up the ever difficult decision a trial judge must face when a parent seeks to relocate with the minor children to another state, or to a new residence that is a substantial distance from their current residence.

Most frequently this situation will arise due to new employment opportunities that may be available to one of the parents.

Relocation of minor children is governed by Florida Statute 61.13001. The provisions of this statute will be applicable whenever a parent wishes to relocate from their current residence, and if the new residence is more than 50 miles from the current residence.

The consequences of not complying with the provisions of the statute could lead to some rather unpleasant consequences for the relocating parent, so it is extremely important to have a clear understanding of all of the provisions of that statute.

There are not only important factual considerations for the court to consider, but procedural ones as well. The petition that is filed, which seeks the ultimate grant of permission to relocate, must contain specific information, including the address of the proposed new residence, the new telephone number, and all the appropriate information regarding the new employment offer. There must be specific warnings to the other parent, in bold type, of the consequences they could suffer by not timely responding to the petition.

If anyone has had any prior experience with the judicial system, the have probably discovered that the judges are busy, and that it takes an extended amount of time to resolve issues that are pending before the courts.

What happens then, if an employment opportunity must be acted on promptly and access to the courts would not be swift? There is a remedy provided under the statute for this very situation.

Under Florida law, if you file a motion seeking expedited relief, for permission to relocate on a temporary basis while your petition is pending, you are entitled to a hearing on that matter within thirty (30) days of filing that request. What I do as a matter of course, is to file that motion right along with the petition, and obtain that hearing very quickly.

These types of cases require close attention to all the details, since the court is guided as to what will be in the best interests of the children. The proper presentation of the relevant evidence and documentation to support the claim for relocation can only increase the likelihood of success in these proceedings.

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dad and daughter desktop.jpgIn 2008, the Florida legislature made substantial changes to the law in reference to minor children. The primary and most significant changes made by the 2008 amendments to section 61.13, Florida Statutes, was the abolishment of the terminology of “primary residential parent.”
The effective date of the amendments were on October 1, 2008, and the changes were to have prospective application only. The changes could not be utilized to effectuate any modifications to agreements that were previously entered into by individuals prior to October 1, 2008. See the case of Hahn v. Hahn, (Fla. 4th DCA 2010).

The Hahn case is an interesting case to read. It clarifies many points of law that have arisen under the 2008 amendments to section 61.13. Although the designation of “primary residential parent” has been removed from the statute, the trial court is still required to consider the best interests of the child if called upon to create a parenting plan. The trial court must still “determine all matters relating to parenting and timesharing of each minor child of the parties in accordance with the best interests of the child. Section 61.13(2)(c)1., Florida Statute (2008)(amended October 1, 2008).

The Hahn case involved modification proceedings that were filed two years after the final judgment was entered, and before the effective date of the new statute. It was error on the part of the trial judge to apply retroactively the provisions of the new statute.