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Man Fights for Paternity Rights for Young Son

A father in St. Lucie County is in the midst of a paternity battle in the hopes of gaining parental rights to his biological three year old son. In this unusual circumstance, a Florida law declaring that children born into a marriage belong to that marriage has given the mother’s husband all paternal rights to the child.

After the mother and biological father’s 5 year relationship ended, the mother gave birth to their child during her marriage to her current husband.

The mother hopes that her current husband, the child’s stepfather, will retain his full paternal rights, adhering to the current law. The biological father, who has been fighting for over a year to be acknowledged as the child’s father legally, wishes to be a part of the child’s life, but not to bring him away from his current family.

A guardian ad litem has been appointed by the court to represent the child’s best interests to the judge. She has stated that the boy is very close with his stepfather, and current legal father. As such, she recommended upholding the current legal paternity, as to not disturb the boy’s current family lifestyle. The judge is set to hear testimony from a series of other witnesses before a decision is made.

If you are struggling with a paternity case in the Orlando area, reach out to our team of experienced attorneys today. Call to schedule a consultation, and let us advise you on the best legal steps for your unique situation.

New Parenting Laws Go Into Effect in Florida

In 2017, more than 20 states discussed legislation that promoted sharing custody for children of divorce. This year, Florida is enacting a new law with the goal of efficiently constructing co-parenting plans for divorced or unmarried parents. Under the law, the Department of Revenue will have the right to give parents a “Standard Parenting Time Plan” that would include living arrangements for the child and the division of parental responsibility.

Circuit court judges will establish parenting plans in the event that the parents are unable to compromise on one. It is important to note that this law is only applicable in situations where both parents are fit to be involved in the child’s life.

The hope is that this law and laws like it will heighten the amount of contact between parents lacking custody and their children. An overwhelming amount of custodial parents are mothers, and laws like this one will boost father’s rights. There is a large amount of data to support the fact that co-parenting and the involvement of the father in a child’s life has vast benefits, which include better academic performance and higher self-esteem. This new Florida law will not force parental involvement, but rather will allow parents who are interested in raising their children to have more leeway to do so.

If you are in need of assistance with child custody agreements in Orlando, reach out to our team of attorneys today. We can review your case and advise you on the assistance we can offer you. Call today to schedule a consultation, and let us help make this stressful time a bit easier for you.

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Ruling Handed Down in Cabrera Child Support Case

We have brought you news of Miguel Cabrera’s legal woes since they hit the press, and now a ruling has been handed down by a judge. Instead of receiving the $100,000 per month his ex-mistress wanted, Cabrera will be paying just $12,000 in child support every 30 days.

Cabrera was ordered by a judge to pay $12,247 per month in child support to Belkis Rodriguez for the care of their two children. This amount was exactly what he was paying before the woman took him to court. As part of the order, the children will also be receiving annual passes to Sea World, Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. Cabrera will also be paying tuition for private school, costs associated with daycare, health insurance and for any extracurricular activities.

The award is a temporary one, meaning the woman can fight for more money if she desires to do so. It looks as if this will be the case, as Rodriguez has asked for more information with regards to what Cabrera spends on the three children he has in common with his wife. A judge recently ordered that Cabrera disclose this information despite the baseball star’s stance that it is private information.

For the average person, $12,000 in child support every month seems like an extraordinary amount. However, this amount is not too steep for Cabrera, who brings home what equates to approximately $2.5 million monthly.

If you need assistance with child support in Orlando, please reach out to our team. We can help your children get the monetary compensation they deserve.

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Can Your Spouse Demand Social Media Etiquette?

Rapper Rick Ross has asked a court to order his child’s mother to delete all of her social media posts about him. He also wants the court to order her to suspend all of her social media accounts.

The mother of Ross’s child sued him back in 2007 for paternity. A custody agreement was reached and remains confidential. The case was settled in 2010. Kemp has recently returned to court asking that child support be increased because Ross is making more money.

In February of this year, Ross filed a motion asking the court to stop the woman from discussing child-related issues on social media. He also wants the court to block the woman from having discussions with reporters. Ross claims the woman has made a series of posts across various social media outlets that either “insult or threaten” the rapper.

Additionally, the rapper says that his child’s mother went so far as to encourage the public to disparage him on social media. Ross claims that the woman has made some of her posts, particularly live posts, in the presence of their child. Ross calls this “parental alienation in its most deplorable form.”

Whether or not Ross’s motion will be approved remains to be seen. Because of the popularity of social media, it will be interesting to see if the motion gets approved. In the future, if you blast your ex, soon-to-be ex or the parent of your child on your social media account, you could see it get suspended.

If you need assistance with a paternity issue in Orlando, reach out to our team. We will discuss your needs during a free case evaluation.

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Interfering Grandmother Arrested in Missing Child Case

An Amber alert was issued on August 25, 2017 for a missing four-year-old boy. The child disappeared overnight in Orange County, prompting his family to call law enforcement officials. The child was located safe just before 6 in the morning.

According to the Amber alert, the child had last been seen in Orlando in the 7400 block of Beacon Hill Loop. He was last observed to be wearing a Ninja Turtles T-shirt and light up sneakers. It was presumed that he was in the custody of his grandmother, traveling in a Kia Soul. That proved to be the case, and the boy’s grandmother was taken into custody. She was arrested on a charge of interfering with custody and held on a $2,500 bond.

It is unclear who has legal custody of the child in this case or why the grandmother felt the need to remove the child from his home and leave the area. One thing is for certain: Interfering with custody is a crime, even in emergency situations. When a person who does not have custody of a child removes them from their home or anywhere else, they can be charged with a crime.

Issues of child custody are often complex and require the knowledge and experience of a qualified attorney. If you need assistance with custody or any other family law matter in Orlando, reach out to our team of attorneys. We will review your case with your at no cost and advise you of your legal options.

How the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Your Divorce

Couples considering a divorce in the year 2019 may suddenly find themselves facing unexpected financial repercussions that did not come into effect until the New Year. Namely: alimony payments can no longer be deducted from the payer’s taxable income, and the alimony recipient will most likely not be required to add the payments to their taxable income.

A second change to tax law in 2019 is that no one may file for a personal tax exemption, even if they have dependent children. However, the available Child Tax Credit has doubled for children under the age of 17, making matters of official legal custody still just as important when filing taxes.

In response to these developments, spouses who plan on divorcing will want to consider the financial effects any court-ordered alimony or child custody arrangements will have on their tax returns. They can choose to work with Orlando family law attorneys who will be able to help them strategize in light of these changes — and potentially even use them to request modifications to any pending divorce agreements they have.

Overall, the changes to the tax laws that involve divorce are relatively simple, but how they affect divorce can be quite complex. You can use the following information in conjunction with legal advice from an Orlando family law attorney to ensure you get the optimal outcome for your divorce.

What Is the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), And Why Would It Affect Divorce Proceedings?

Signed into law on December 22, 2017, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) had far-reaching consequences that will take years before they are fully felt. While the law was a windfall for corporations and many tax brackets, others will feel the sting when long-standing tax deductions are no longer available to them.

None of this is meant as a slight towards the law nor a politically aligned statement one way or the other. Even still, the simple fact remains that the TCJA made major changes to tax law that disrupt standard divorce outcomes as they have stood for 75 years. Individuals getting a divorce this year may get caught by surprise if they were not made aware of how the changes the TCJA introduced to tax law will affect them.

The most significant effect of the TCJA is that it reduced tax rates for corporations from 35% to 21%. Individual income tax brackets were also adjusted slightly downward, with the biggest reduction going to households that make $84,200 a year for individuals ($168,400 for couples), reducing their taxable income rate from 28% to 24%. Most of these provisions were written as a temporary measure, and they are set to expire after December 31, 2025 unless new laws make them permanent.

Tax reductions created by the TCJA meant more money left over for many companies and individuals, but the law needed a method to curb the huge corresponding reduction in the government’s tax income. Otherwise, yearly deficit spending would surpass its current record levels, creating a massive budget imbalance.

To achieve their goal of tightening up the budget deficit created by the TCJA, lawmakers went after common tax deductions individuals use to reduce their quantity of taxable income. In fact, most forms of spending no longer qualify individuals for a tax deduction — even individual charitable donations.

Since alimony payments and dependent children similarly no longer qualify an individual for a tax deduction or exemption, the TCJA has had additional consequences for Americans seeking a divorce past December 31, 2018.

How the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Alimony

One of the biggest effects of the TCJA for divorcing couples is that alimony payments no longer reduce the payer’s income and no longer increase the recipient’s. Instead, the payer pays taxes on nearly all of their income earned, regardless of whether some of it went straight from their pocket to their ex-spouse’s by way of alimony payments.

To explain why this is such a big change, let’s back up a bit to the creation of the personal income tax code in the 1940s. At the time, lawmakers were trying to determine ways to determine taxable income in a way that felt fair to their constituents. One such way was to allow individuals who made court ordered alimony payments to simply pretend that income never existed. Instead, the individual who received the alimony payments would report it as their own income.

For example, Person A made $50,000 last year but had to give $1,000 monthly to their ex-spouse, Person B, who started making $18,000 per year after their divorce (not counting alimony).

That total yearly amount of $12,000 reduces Person A’s taxable income to $38,000, lowering the volume of taxes they pay overall and potentially bumping them down to a lower tax bracket. Meanwhile, Person B’s taxable income increases to $30,000 a year.

Since Person A’s taxable income would likely be in a higher tax bracket than Person B’s, such an arrangement typically results in a slightly lower net tax income for the government compared to if Person A reported their alimony payments on their income. Seeking to close any gaps in revenues they can, lawmakers drafting the TCJA decided to eliminate the tax deduction alimony payments once granted.

How the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Child Support and Child Dependents

As mentioned above, the TCJA eliminated all individual tax exemptions. Instead, individuals get a higher standard deduction that applies to their total taxable income.

For divorcing couples, this elimination of the child dependent tax deduction means that receiving full-time legal custody status no longer affects available tax exemptions.

However, individuals can still file for a child tax credit. In fact, this credit has doubled from $1,000 to $2,000. Accordingly, the final agreement on child custody may still have tax consequences for divorcing couples.

How the 2017 TCJA Affects Florida State Income Tax Laws

It is important to note that the elimination of the federal child tax exemption does not apply to Florida’s state income tax. However, changes to Florida tax law intended to reflect the TCJA do eliminate the alimony tax deduction.

Accordingly, individuals should calculate both their projected federal and state income tax debt when filing taxes for 2019 next year.

Why You Should Consider the TCJA Changes in Your Divorce Agreement

Divorce law has remained relatively stable over the past few decades, so major changes like the ones the TCJA act introduced may not be reflected in the legal precedents established.

For example, the alimony calculation guidelines may not take into account the fact that an individual receiving alimony will not pay taxes on that income. An individual undergoing a divorce will want the final decision on alimony and child support to reflect these changes. Accordingly, they may request to a judge or put forth a proposed divorce arrangement that reduces the expected amount of alimony by an amount appropriate to the adjusted tax situation.

Similarly, an individual receiving custody of a child will not necessarily reduce their tax burden just by claiming custody. In turn, they may want to work with Orlando family law attorneys who can make a reasonable request to increase the proposed child support arrangement to reflect their increased tax burden.

How Orlando Family Law Attorneys Can Help You Adjust Your Strategy During Your Divorce

Most of the issues presented above seem like something a divorcing couple will want to discuss with an accountant rather than a lawyer. However, the changes do have a profound effect on the optimal legal strategy they may take during their divorce. They may also want to make changes to their final divorce alimony and child support arrangements as the financial consequences of the 2017 TCJA come fully into view.

So while it is always a great idea to speak with an accountant while assessing your overall financial situation during a divorce, they can only provide part of the picture as far as a complete strategy for accomplishing your overall goals. Working with an experienced Orlando family attorney adds those missing pieces, especially since they will be able to predict how the final tax law will be put into effect and apply to specific circumstances after a divorce.

Consider speaking with a divorce lawyer with knowledge of upcoming law changes if you intend to file for divorce in 2019 and beyond. You can reach out to us via our phone number or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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Post-Divorce: Kids and the Holidays

It’s your first holiday season after your divorce. You are stressed out and anxious, wondering how you can make the holidays as normal as possible for your children. The truth is, the holidays will be different this year, but they don’t have to be worse. Use these tips to make the holidays as easy as possible for you, your ex and the kids.

1. Plan Ahead

Don’t wait until the last minute to make plans with your ex for the holidays. Chances are that one of you were given the kids for the holidays. Decide on what time they will get picked up or dropped off, when they will return home and who will be in charge of transportation. Making these plans in advance will prevent last minute arguments that stress everyone out.

2. Help Shop

Your child will want to purchase a gift for your ex, so let them. If you are able, help them with the cost. Shop for your ex’s presents from the kids just like you did last year. You may opt to allow each child to pick out a single gift and that’s okay, too. Nothing says that you have to sign your name to the card.

3. Make Phone Calls

Even if your child is with you during the holidays, give them a chance to speak with their other parent on the phone. You may even let them FaceTime with your ex. If you have a device that allows for video calling, let your child “see” their other parent.

4. Don’t Sit Home

If you don’t have your children this holiday, don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Attend holiday parties and events so that your mind is occupied. Make plans for a celebration when your children return home. Keep yourself busy so that you don’t have much time to sit and wallow.

5. Share Schedules

If your ex doesn’t have the children often, share with them your children’s regular schedule. Your ex certainly doesn’t have any obligation to stick to it, but having a schedule can help your ex keep your children from becoming grumpy.

6. Don’t Spoil

It’s tempting to spoil your child with presents to try and make up for the fact that one parent will be absent on the holidays. Avoid this temptation. More gifts may distract your child, but they won’t change the situation at hand. Along with this, try to talk to your ex civilly about not trying to compete with one another. It can be really disappointing when you buy the kids an outfit, and your ex buys them a gift worth hundreds.

Don’t get so caught up in the materialism of the holidays that you forget what is really important this year. Keeping things as normal as possible for your children should be a mutual goal between you and your ex. Nothing is going to make things perfect for your kids right now, but this could be the year to start new traditions.

If you need assistance with a family law issue in Orlando, please reach out to our team. We will review your needs during a consultation and provide you with more information. Call today.

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Tips to Help You Succeed in Divorce Court

FAST FACTS

Florida divorce court proceedings may have a few surprises in store for individuals who are not prepared for the state’s unique laws and procedures. Without proper preparation and knowledge of the applicable Florida divorce laws, you could get caught off guard. You could then miss your opportunity to reach the outcome you had in mind.

There are also a number of divorce court tips Orlando family law attorneys know that can help you in general. These tips apply almost across the board to all states, and they can even provide guidance if you haven’t yet decided to file for divorce.

If you already have or are strongly considering filing for divorce in Florida, you can use the following 5 top Florida divorce court tips to help you succeed in achieving your preferred outcome.

Know Why the Divorce Is Proceeding, and Treat the Matter as Objective Fact

If there’s one thing you and your spouse need to agree on during your divorce, it’s why the marriage wasn’t working.

Under Florida law, a marriage cannot be granted dissolution (a divorce) unless the marriage “is irretrievably broken” or the spouse has been mentally incapacitated for at least three years. You or your spouse will therefore need a reason for the divorce, and you will both have to agree more or less that this reason for divorce is sound.

Having grounds for divorce is therefore a critical component of any Florida divorce case. Common reasonings include adultery, abuse, or a spouse that’s rarely present. Other reasonings, like constant conflict or money problems, may need to be explained in greater detail so that a judge knows they cannot be reconciled easily. Otherwise, the judge may recommend counseling for a period of up to three months before the divorce can proceed further.

Know Your Financials Inside and Out, Including Average Monthly Expenses and Income

A divorce is supposed to lay bare every penny and every last scrap of property in a marriage. Courts expect exact numbers for income, expenditures, and assets. They’ll also want explanations for things like occasional expenses, such as vacations, or sporadic income, like the sale of a car.

Financial documents are used not just as an inventory of what each spouse can lay claim to; they also to paint a picture of a lifestyle in general. For instance, if your kids are used to going to Disney World with your extended family once a year, the expenses related to that trip could potentially be a legitimate part of a child support claim if you can justify how it relates to the children’s standard of living.

You should also have accurate estimates for future childcare and other expenses. These costs often take divorced couples by surprise.

Come to your court proceedings prepared to give exact numbers and dates to all transactions, income, expenses, and purchased property. You should also have the information available to back up whether an asset is a joint asset or something belonging just to one spouse.

Practice Your Poker Face

During divorce hearings and trials, a judge will have absolutely zero patience for drama and obvious displays of emotion. Even still, your self control will likely be tested. Your spouse and their divorce attorney will likely present things in their case that they consider a “fact” but you know to be an outright exaggeration. They may also attempt to paint an unflattering picture of you and your past behaviors.

Know that if you react in any way to allegations or assertions, you’ve played into your spouse’s attorney’s hands. Judges base their rulings and decisions on both presented evidence and strength of character. In other words, someone who acts out in court is much less likely to earn sympathy or respect from a ruling judge.

As such, do not roll your eyes or glare or sigh openly in response to your spouse’s or their attorney’s declarations. Use only appropriate language. Definitely do not outburst in order to declare: “that is a lie!” Instead, make a note of the discrepancy and pass it along to your attorney.

Don’t Guess or Fabricate, Say “I Don’t Know”

The absolute worst thing you can do in response to a question from either your attorney or your spouse’s is to start making things up.

Most humans have an innate desire to please others, and that instinct can extend to answering questions in a way that doesn’t gel completely with the known truth. It’s less a desire to mislead and more of what we colloquially call “spitballing” — we’re using what we know to extrapolate into the unknown.

Unfortunately, each guesstimate can dig you into a deeper hole. The judge may take your speculation as truth, or the opposing attorney could use your statements to trap you in a contradiction.

If you do not know the full answer to a question you’re asked, you should never guess or make an estimate unless the lawyer questioning you has their inquiry reaffirmed by the judge. Instead, say “I do not know” if you don’t have that information or “I do not recall at this time” if you think you can determine the information but don’t have it available right now.

Don’t Overplay Your Hand or Outbid Yourself

Legal proceedings involve strategically revealing information at the opportune time. Giving away information that no one asked for could thereby hurt any strategic informational advantage you have.

As such, try to answer any questions as precisely as you can without oversharing. Otherwise, it could be like outbidding yourself in an auction or telling a fellow poker player too much about your hand.

For example, let’s say you were asked a question about your spouse’s mishandling of joint accounts. You do not have to give any examples of how you have used the account for discretionary expenses unless you are specifically asked.

With that said, don’t try to be outright deceptive with the information you withhold or choose to divulge. If a judge or the opposing attorney realizes that you are trying to deliberately mislead through your selective use of facts, it could hurt your case.

You Can Work With Orlando Family Law Attorneys to Strategize Your Divorce Case

Divorce cases can be complex, and some of the legal questions being asked can catch someone by surprise if they are not adequately prepared.

Know that you can strategize for your case and potentially strengthen the body of evidence available when you work with experienced Orlando family law attorneys.

You don’t have to tackle your divorce court appearances alone! Contact us now to get answers to your pressing Florida divorce questions and to begin crafting a smart strategy for your next divorce court appearance.

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How to Prepare for Mediation in Orlando

Mediation can offer substantial advantages and opportunities to all sides of a legal dispute, and individuals who arrive prepared to their mediation are much more likely to be pleased at the outcome.

As experienced Orlando family law attorneys, we’ve seen countless cases resolved through the process of mediation. Typically, clients who are willing to mediate see their cases resolved more quickly and with less administrative costs compared to an adversarial process like a trial. Even clients who do not get the outcome they hoped for during mediation can approach arbitration or a jury trial better prepared and with a better understanding of the other side’s goals.

Achieving progress through your mediation requires fairly extensive preparation, so make sure to study up on the process and your case before you attend your appointment. You can use the following 6 steps to ensure you are better prepared, making you better equipped to effectively pursue your preferred outcome.

Step 1: Read Up on How Mediation Works

Mediation is a relatively unique process among legal proceedings. Neither party will be subject to a binding decision unless they can mutually agree upon one. Each party essentially approaches one another as equals.

The mediator is there not as a figure of authority but rather a figure of neutrality. Their only aim is to make sure each party is clearly understood and that they understand the legal ramifications of certain tentative agreements they discuss.

A mediator will not be allowed to provide explicit legal advice or weigh in on who is more “right” in a matter under dispute. A party therefore cannot “win” the approval of a mediator or get the mediator to favor one possible outcome over another.

Under Florida law (Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act, § 44.401 – 44.406, Florida Statutes), all court-ordered mediations and all mediations overseen by a certified mediator will remain confidential, with few exceptions. Mediations that don’t fall under these categories can still be made confidential with the consent of all parties involved.

In confidence, you can speak as freely as you wish with less concern that your statements will be made public record. The other parties involved will have the information you reveal on their personal record, but they cannot disclose it publicly without your permission in most instances.

Your mediator will attempt to keep the discussion focused and make sure each side understands the others’ positions and desired outcomes. If need be, they will help remove obstacles to agreement by refocusing the discussion into a more productive frame of mind.

Knowing all of this, come to your mediation prepared to learn, educate, discuss, and consider possibilities. Keep calm, keep an open mind, and know that the goal is to try and further discussion in a lower-stakes setting. Ideally, a negotiated agreement can be reached, but even if not, each party will walk away having more awareness of the others’ wishes.

Step 2: Know the Details of Your Case

Unlike trial proceedings or even many arbitrated agreements, a mediator will not always be satisfied just hearing from a party’s representative attorney(s). They may often ask for the party in question to explain their position or put their wishes into their own words.

You are not obligated to respond, of course, but the goal is to get each party to hear the others’ voice, both metaphorically and literally.

You will therefore be expected to at least have a working knowledge of your case. It can greatly benefit you to be able to define in exact terms what your position is, what your goals are, and what legal facts you will use to pursue your desired outcome.

For instance, if you think you deserve full custody of a child given your former spouse’s lifestyle and behaviors, you should know personally what laws or case precedents support your position. Even if you never explain the details of your case out loud, your knowledge will affect your ability to engage in active discussion and be figuratively present at the table.

Step 3: Have Goals in Mind, But Don’t Approach Mediation with Rigid Expectations

You and any representative Orlando family law attorneys should have a specific agreement to propose to the other party as well as an ideal outcome in mind. You should also be aware of which parts of your ideal outcome you would be willing to compromise on as a concession to help everyone reach a consensus.

In other words, you should be specific regarding your proposed agreement terms, but not insist that those are the only terms that are acceptable. Otherwise, the mediation will reach a stalemate and both parties may as well walk away rather than waste time repeating themselves.

With that said, you should be prepared to walk away from mediation if you don’t see a way forward to an agreement. Don’t think you have to reach an agreement during your first mediation appointment or through mediation at all. Your goal is just to try, and to see what comes out of the attempt.

Step 4: Be Prepared to Arrive at Your Mediation on Time

Mediations operate within a limited time window. If you arrive late to your mediation or miss your appointment entirely, you will have missed one of your opportunities to pursue a non-adversarial resolution.

Your mediator or the other party may even consider your absence an indication that you don’t take the process seriously, resulting in potential consequences like the case moving forward to another method of dispute resolution.

To prevent this outcome, know the exact date, time, building, and room your mediation will take place. Also have your transportation plan arranged well ahead of time — many buildings in Orlando have complex parking processes or only have far away parking options. Predict how much time it will take for you to park your vehicle and make your way to the planned meeting room with time to spare.


Step 5: Leave Adversarial Intentions at the Door

Only arrange a mediation appointment if you intend to negotiate and discuss your dispute in a respectful way. A mediation is not the place to simply restate a prior rejected offer or level accusations at the other party with no other possibilities in mind. You also won’t likely be presenting “surprise” evidence or motions at the mediation except in unusual circumstances.

Know that a mediation isn’t a trial, and that you aren’t there to “prove” anything. You are trying to reach an understanding as well as an agreement.

Step 6: Be Willing to Continue Mediation or Move On Based on the Results of Your Appointment(s)

Very few mediated agreements spring forth in just one meeting. You can expect to meet several times in order to make progress and ensure the full extent of your position is understood. It may take several appointments before you even begin to see a possible compromise both sides would agree to.

That said, don’t assume you’re forced to continue if you see no possibility of progress. Mediation is a voluntary process that only concludes when both parties either agree to a negotiated settlement (which is a legally binding contract) or one party decides they no longer want to continue meeting.

Prepare for Your Mediation with Experienced Orlando Family Law Attorneys at Your Side

The more prepared you are for your mediation, the better equipped you will be to have a productive discussion.

You can always rely upon the expert advice of Orlando family law attorneys to get help reviewing your case, prepare possible offers, and set your expectations appropriately. With a skilled attorney at your side, you can increase the possibility of reaching a satisfactory outcome.

If you think mediation might be the best course of action for your Orlando family law case, you can reach out to our highly experienced and qualified attorneys today. Give us a call or use our contact form, and you’ll receive a free consultation.


Maintaining Your Fathers’ Rights Through the Holiday Season

  • Approximately one in every six custodial parents is a father.
  • About 26.6 percent of children live with a custodial parent.
  • 54.7 percent of custodial parents have only one child.

Each state tends to have its own recommendations when it comes to a holiday schedule for divorced parents, but a typical arrangement has parents rotating holidays. If your divorce is amicable, you may want to come up with a schedule between the two of you. In any case, having a calendar or schedule for the year can help your child adjust to holidays without both parents.

If you and your soon-to-be ex are struggling to come up with a schedule, we have some ideas for you. As Orlando family law attorneys, we know that holidays can be difficult for families dealing with divorce. We also know that fathers sometimes get the raw end of the deal when it comes to custody. Here are some ways that parents we have worked with have divided their time.

1. Alternate Holidays

One of the most typical ways, as we have already mentioned, is to rotate holidays. For example, you may have every other holiday with your child this year, while your ex has the ones that are left. You can switch next year. When you choose to use this method, you won’t miss a major holiday with your child for more than a single year in a row.

Depending on work schedules, some parents choose to have their child for each holiday this year, and then for no holidays next year. This can be extreme, but if it works, it works. Just remember that your feelings about this arrangement may change when the first holiday pops up.

2. Split Holidays

If there are holidays that are special in your family, you may want to split the day. For example, you may spend the morning of Christmas with your child and then their other parent may pick them up for the afternoon. You may choose to do this for every holiday or just the ones that have a major place in your family’s traditions.

Keep in mind that this arrangement can be difficult for parents who live far apart. Reconsider if your child is going to spend hours traveling to get to the other parent’s home. There is probably a better arrangement to be made.

3. Have Two Holidays

Another idea is to have a holiday twice. For example, you and your child may celebrate Easter the weekend before the actual holiday if they will be going to spend time with your ex on the day of.

You can do this for almost any holiday. It’s a good way to create new traditions with your child that they can carry with them into adulthood.

4. Have Fixed Holidays

You can also schedule a fixed holiday with your child. Your ex can have other holidays. This can work if you think one holiday is more important than the one your spouse would prefer.

For example, if Halloween is something you really enjoy but could take or leave Christmas and your spouse feels the opposite, you may want to have a fixed arrangement.

5. Share Birthdays (If Possible)

Birthdays can be difficult to fit into a schedule. Your child’s birthday can be spent with both parents together — assuming you can get along — or with each parent at different times of the day.

You may also just decide to alternate birthday years. You should let your child spend time with the birthday parent if they choose to do so.

6. Schedule for 3-Day Weekends

If you have a school-aged child, don’t forget to consider the holidays that mean a three-day weekend for your little one. You will want to take a close look at how these three-day holidays will effect your own work schedule as you are creating the holiday schedule for your child.

You may want to alternate the weekends or split them. You may also want to give the holiday to the parent who had the child for the whole weekend.


What Holidays Do You Include?

You’ll of course think of the major holidays, but there may be more that you forget about. You don’t want to wake up to realize it’s a holiday and need to make arrangements for your child in accordance with your visitation decree.

When you are creating a schedule for the holidays, sit down with a typical calendar along with your child’s school calendar. This will give you an idea of what days they may have off during the upcoming school year. You’ll also want to sit down with your work calendar or your own school calendar. All of these things will give you a pretty clear picture of what you’ll need to divide.

One tip: If you can’t get the time off work but your ex can, don’t greedily take the holiday only to put your child into daycare or with a babysitter simply because it’s “your holiday.” This isn’t fair to anyone involved and can quickly turn an amicable meeting on its head. Never make a decision with the goal of hurting your ex.

Our Orlando Family Law Attorneys are Here for You

If you and your spouse are having difficulty coming up with a custody arrangement or a holiday visitation schedule, we can help. Our Orlando family law attorneys have worked with divorcing couples like you and have helped mediate mutually acceptable agreements.

Call now to schedule your free consultation and discover more about how we can assist you.