Child Custody or Time Sharing in Florida

For the most part, Florida has shied away from the concepts of “custody” in its family law rules and statues. However, this doesn’t mean that such instances do not exist. Florida does advocate for “Time- sharing”. With “Time-sharing” each parent is expected to enjoy a certain amount of time with the child. It could be during daytime, nighttime or during the holidays as long as the child gets to benefit from time spent with both parents. A primary residential parent is determined and designated in addition to determining which of the parents will have sole responsibility when it comes to decision making on things such as school, education and religion in the child’s life. Florida Law appreciates that each child deserves the right to spend time with both parents which is why the law is clear in this regard. According to the Florida Time-Sharing statute in Section 61.13(2)(c)(1), each child deserves the right to have as much time and contact with both parents in the event of a divorce or separation. Parents are encouraged to share in the rights and responsibilities that revolve around the child. The statue doesn’t make any assumptions for or against the amount of time that the child will spend with each parent. That being said however, the ultimate decision as to time-sharing will be based on the child’s best interests. According to Section 61.13(2)(c)(3), 20 factors are listed which help the court determine the time- sharing issue. The first listed factor is the parents’ ability to participate in the time-sharing process. Each parent’s capacity to share and encourage sharing the child with regard to...

Child Support

Help, My ex is underemployed, voluntarily!!! Child Support Modification By: Walid O. Mabrouk, Esq. So perhaps you have been through a divorce. You have dealt with the unfortunate complications and challenges associated with the process. Or perhaps you were never married and you have at least one child in common with another. Maybe you were able to reach an agreement through a court order or a mediation regarding your child(ren)’s rights including child support. After an agreement is reached, many issues can come to surface, including voluntary underemployment of a parent responsible for child support. Many would think, who would do such a thing? However, as frustrating as it sounds, it does unfortunately happen. Underemployment by choice has been addressed both by Florida Statute as well as case law. Just recently, a Florida Court of Appeals dealt with a situation involving an underemployed parent. Not because the parent was looking and could not find a job. It was underemployment by choice. In that case, Carlson v. Carlson, the Fourth District Court of Appeal concluded, “the Magistrate did not abuse her discretion in concluding that the wife’s voluntary underemployment was a substantial change in circumstances warranting a modification in child support”, 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 8325 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. June 1, 2016).  Florida law, through Fla. Stat. 61.30 (2)(b), imputes income to an unemployed or underemployed parent when that underemployment is found to be voluntary, where there is no physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances where a parent has no control. Furthermore, Florida courts have dealt with parents who are paying child support and asking the...

Life and Divorce

Life and divorce can be so tough and unfair. Kids suffer. Parents suffer. What can we ALL possibly do differently? What am I, as an aggressive family law practitioner, doing differently to mitigate the pain and the financial costs? Well, in the last few months, I am doing several things differently to offer more value, greater certainty and to alleviate some of the pain associated with divorce and post-judgment matters.  The main purpose of this blog is to let you know you are not alone, you do not have to be alone and no matter what there are remedies for you. In sharing these remedies, I will also elaborate on how may firm may be able to help you or someone you care about. First, you should know there is NOTHING to be embarrassed about.  EVERYONE has their unique challenges. Today is the best day to start from because if you start from anywhere else, chances are you are living in the past and in your head and you are not truly living to arrive at your new goals. So, make today a fresh start. Whether you or ex suffer from  mental illness, alcoholism, a recent job loss or are catching up with paying down your debt, you are not alone.  All my life I have been so focused on solutions that they have generally come easy to me.  I have even learned to find happiness after losing my dear Mom to suicide almost 30 years ago. As a result of some recent challenges that I have personally endured, I have never been more empathetic or understanding of what its...