Will I Lose Custody of My Children in Florida?

Will I Lose Custody of My Children in Florida?

Spouses in Palm Beach County, Florida, and surrounding areas may be eager to get out of a bad marriage, but one question can leave you lingering in a miserable marriage for months, or even years: what about my kids? No one wants to subject their children to the pain of a divorce, but even worse is the risk of losing your relationship with your children altogether. You’re right to worry, since worry can spur you to make good decisions and hire a skilled lawyer. But the truth is that, unless you face some unusual circumstances, it’s highly unlikely you’ll lose your kids. The Best Interests of the Child Florida uses the best interest of the child standard, which means that there is no presumption in favor of either parent. Instead, it’s up to the judge to evaluate what is in the child’s best interest. The judge can evaluate a number of factors, including: The ability of each parent to provide for the child The emotional stability of each parent The quality of environment offered by each parent The relationship between the child and parent In most cases, your previous relationship with your child will be what counts most. If you’re a loving, involved parent, you have very little to worry about. If you have a history of addiction, have behaved abusively, or have engaged in domestic violence, though, you very well could lose your children, particularly if the history is recent or you have not sought treatment.  Joint Custody Many judges start from a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of the child and reason backward...

How Should We Tell Our Children We’re Getting Divorced?

Families in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and surrounding areas in Florida, like families across the country, are often tasked with one of the hardest things they’ll ever have to do: tell their children they’re getting divorced. The way you handle this initial conversation sets the tone for the rest of your divorce, and this moment may be something your children remember for the rest of their lives. Don’t reveal your divorce in a fit of anger or without thinking about how you’re going to do it. Your children deserve clear explanations and an environment in which it feels safe to ask questions and share feelings. Here’s how to give that to them. Be Clear and Specific Some parents don’t want to deal with the pain of telling a child a divorce is permanent, so they make the mistake of saying daddy’s going on vacation or that mommy and daddy are going to life separately “for a while.” This creates false hopes that can give rise to intense anxiety and depression. Your child needs to know that divorce is permanent and that you won’t get back together. Try something along the lines of “Mommy and daddy cannot live together anymore. We love you very much, and this has nothing to do with you. We’ll both still see you a lot, but we won’t be seeing each other as much.” Be Age-Appropriate As with everything else in parenting, you need to tailor your conversation to your child’s age and maturity level. You know your child best, but the general rule is to offer more information to older children. Children under the...

Is Valentine’s Day Divorce Season?

Statistically speaking, divorces begin picking up around New Year’s day, and steadily escalating up until about Valentine’s Day. What is the most romantic day of the year for some, then, could very easily turn out to be the worst day ever for those served with divorce papers when they were expecting candy and cards. The truth is that there’s no right time to get divorced. There’s always a holiday around the corner, a major life stressor, a child’s birthday, or some other reason that filing just seems cruel. But many people opt to divorce around Valentine’s Day specifically because they want to avoid cruelty. There are several potential explanations for this strange phenomenon. The Push for a Better New Year New Year’s brings with it big plans for a better life and a fresh start. People trapped in bad marriages, then, may see filing for divorce as the first step toward this new life. Sure, the process is painful, but it does offer a clean relationship slate, and some spouses are so eager to move froward with their lives that they’re ready to file as soon as the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Day.  Surviving the Holidays No one wants to get divorced during the holiday season. Serving your spouse with papers a week before Christmas seems especially cruel, and there’s no living person who looks forward to seeing their kids go through their first divorced Christmas. For couples embroiled in unhappy relationships, then, the urge to divorce may increase as soon as the holidays are gone.  Avoiding More Romance No one wants to turn their life into...

When Should I See a Divorce Lawyer?

If you’re like most Florida residents trapped in an unhappy marriage, you don’t look forward to divorcing – even if you look forward to getting out of the emotional and logistical mess of a miserable relationship. It’s understandable that you might procrastinate, endlessly avoiding the trip to the lawyer that you dread. Procrastination, though, only increases your anxiety, and has the potential to undermine your divorce case. The right time to see a lawyer is as soon as you begin considering divorce as an option. Why You Need a Lawyer Now A lawyer doesn’t just handle your divorce. Your attorney can also offer advice on how your behavior now could affect your divorce in the future. For instance, he may offer guidance on documenting your relationship with your kids, proving abuse if your spouse is abusing you, or gathering evidence supporting your claims about your soon-to-be-ex’s assets. Many newly divorced people make mistakes that haunt them for years. You might deny your ex visitation, exaggerate his temper to create the illusion of abuse, or hide assets. A lawyer can stop you from making these mistakes before they destroy your divorce case.  The No-Obligation Divorce Seeing a lawyer does not obligate you to get divorced. Indeed, many people see divorce attorneys and then decide, based on what they learn, that it would be better to work on the marriage. Your visit to a lawyer could be the only thing that offers you reliable information about what you can expect from a divorce. And everyone deserves to make decisions with a clear head and a fully informed mind, so don’t deny...

Should I Move Out of the House if My Spouse Wants a Divorce?

Residents of Boca Raton, Del Ray, West Palm Beach, Florida, face a serious dilemma when a spouse files for divorce: should I leave the house or go? Leaving might seem like the obvious option, particularly if you’re angry, want to punish your spouse, or hope that he or she will miss you upon seeing that you’re really gone. Storming out of your house in a rage, though, is never a good idea. And even if you carefully contemplate your decision and decide to leave, you could be making a bad choice.   First, You Need a Lawyer If your spouse files for divorce, it’s common to experience a range of emotions, from shock to rage, to intense grief. You may even feel suicidal. These are not the ideal conditions under which to make potentially life-altering decisions. Much as it might pain you to admit, your spouse is no longer just your spouse; they’re also someone who is suing you, and you need to protect yourself.  Talk to a lawyer before you make any rash decisions, and be sure to be honest and upfront with your attorney. If your spouse asks you to leave, explain that he or she had some time to think about the decision, but that the decision is new to you. Consequently, you need to talk to a lawyer first. As long as you’re still married and have no history of abuse, you have every right to stay in the house.   Should I Stay or Should I Go? Sure, it might be more comfortable to leave the house, but it’s often best to stay. Though the law...