Establishing Paternity


Are you a father of a child born out of wedlock? Have you established yourself as your child’s legal father? There is a common misconception that an unmarried father, whose name is on their child’s birth certificate, has established paternity of the child. This is not true. While being on the birth certificate can be used as evidence of paternity, it DOES NOT establish paternity.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Under Florida law, a mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child, and she is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless a court order is entered stating otherwise. Essentially, this means the mother may leave the State before a paternity order is entered, and she cannot be ordered to return until a paternity order is entered. However, a court may look negatively upon a mother who has reason to believe a certain man is the child’s father and effectively does everything she can to alienate the child from the father.

Mothers in need of child support will only be granted child support once paternity has been established. The Department of Revenue has the authority to establish paternity in an administrative child support proceeding. The Department of Revenue does not have the authority to establish a timesharing schedule or rule on parental responsibility. Either the mother or the putative father may initiate a paternity proceeding in the circuit court that can decide all issues of paternity, child support, timesharing, and parental responsibility.

Visit our website at http://www.attorneygrossman.com/contested-divorce-and-paternity.html for more information on paternity and child custody. If you have any additional questions pertaining to paternity, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with Keith or Danielle. If you are in need of more information on this issue or other family law issues, email Keith@AtorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

 


Update Beneficiary Designations After Divorce


Finding a new place to live, moving all of your possessions, opening a new bank account, updating insurance policies, are just a few of the many things one must do after a divorce is finalized. Another issue that arises after a divorce that may not immediately occur to you is the need to revise your Last Will and Testament. Many people don’t give much thought to another traumatic event, their passing.

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By not revising your Will after a divorce, you leave yourself and your loved ones open to legal battles that could take a chunk out of the estate you planned to leave as your legacy. This issue recently came up in Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals.

A couple had finalized their divorce in October 2012 when one month later, the ex-husband passed away, having never revised his Will from 2005. In the Will, he left much of his estate to his then wife and her niece and nephew. After his death, the man’s mother contested the Will arguing that since her son was divorced at the time he died, the Will is null and void. A nearly three-year battle ensued, when finally, on July 1 of this year, the Court ruled in the mother’s favor.

The court sited Section 732.507(2), Florida Statutes (2012), which states: “Any provision of a will executed by a married person that affects the spouse of that person shall become void upon the divorce of that person or upon the dissolution or annulment of the marriage.” So, regardless of the man dying, the Will is deemed void as soon as the marriage is legally ended.

Had the man updated his Will immediately upon getting a divorce, he could have helped his mother avoid a costly court battle.

If you are in need of more information on this issue or other family law issues, email Keith@AtorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

 


Same-Sex Marriage Given the Green Light by Supreme Court, What Does This Mean for Same-Sex Divorce?


On Friday, June 26 the United States Supreme Court ruled that under the Constitution marriage is a fundamental right inherent in individual liberty that shall apply with equal force to same-sex couples. Here is the opinion ( http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf). States can no longer refuse to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses nor can they refuse to recognize such licenses from other states. At the time, 36 states already had similar laws in place. This latest ruling means that the U.S. now joins nearly two dozen other countries that recognize or allow same-sex marriage nationwide. This decision also clarifies the question as to whether the courts can grant same-sex divorces.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, based its decision on the below principles and traditions.

  1. The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and it guarantees equal protection.
  2. The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy.
  3. The right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.
  4. This ruling safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education.
  5. Marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order. States have contributed to the fundamental character of marriage by placing it at the center of many facets of the legal and social order. There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle.

Here in Florida, this process began in earnest back in January right after the Sunshine State joined 35 other states in legalizing same-sex marriage. Prior to January, Florida wouldn’t allow for same-sex divorces because they didn’t recognize these types of marriages. For example, Florida would not allow a same-sex couple married legally in Connecticut to get a divorce in Florida because at the time Florida didn’t consider it a legal marriage. These couples were stuck in limbo.

Now that has all changed. Officials say last-month’s decision could lead to a flurry of litigation, with the outcomes hard to determine because the process is still so new.

We urge anyone that is thinking about seeking a divorce to get in touch with us for more information. E-mail Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

 

Photo by Serge Bertasius Photography on freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?


The biggest divorce mistakes


Whether you’re happily married now, or hoping to be one day, the one thing you’d probably rather not think about, is divorce. Yet for at least half of all married couples, that’s something that is on the horizon. Here are a few no-no’s that experts say divorcing couples are prone to commit.

Grossman Divorce Attorney

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Forcing kids to take sides: Many splitting spouses try to use the children as pawns in their nasty games against their ex. Experts say don’t force them to choose one parent over the other but instead always remind them that the two of you love them and will always have a relationship with them. Remember, while you are divorcing your spouse, your children are not divorcing either parent.
  1. Not meeting with a therapist: It is expected that you confide in your attorney, but remember that they aren’t mental health professionals. Attorneys are trained to handle the law, not to figure out why your ex was so controlling or how you knew walking down the aisle that marriage was a bad idea. A qualified mental health professional is better equipped to help you manage this change in your life. We would be happy to refer you to a mental health profession.
  1. Fighting over personal property: Another mistake divorcing couples make, which can be quite costly, is fighting to the bitter end over who gets the “things,” i.e. flat screen TV, DVD collection, football season tickets, etc. By the time you finish battling it out over who gets what, you’ve spent more on attorney’s fees than the “things” are even worth.
  1. Jumping into a new relationship: Finally, the mistake of thinking that jumping into another relationship right after your divorce is a good idea. Remember, you just went through one of the most stressful and isolating experiences you could ever go through. You will likely need some time to process the experience and heal so that you can best prepare yourself for any future relationships. Not taking the time to figure out what went wrong in the previous relationship will likely doom you to repeat the same mistakes in the rebound relationship.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?