How To Tell The Children

If you’re at the point where you need to tell your children about your divorce...

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Step Parent Adoption

Step-Parent Adoption is a legal procedure in which an adult becomes the legal...

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Family Relocation

Unless an agreement is reached, the parent who desires to relocate must file a...

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Parents need to understand that the court is not equipped to handle the effects of a divorce upon a child. Families should consider outside resources to assist children with the change in their family dynamics, for which they did not ask for. Referrals should be made to assist the children with their relationship with their divorcing parents.

Children of all ages need a resource to address their views to assist them to develop their skills, resolve their own disputes, and have someone to talk to in a safe neutral environment. In my opinion the effects of divorce upon children are permanent. It is the responsibility of the divorcing parents to help the children grow to be mentally health, stable, independent persons in spite of their parents’ actions.

The 2008 changes to the Shared Parental Responsibility Act require a parenting plan to be developed in every divorce case involving minor children. A parenting plan is a document created to govern the relationship between the parents and the children. There are two components: decisions about the upbringing of the children, and a timesharing schedule. The parenting plan must be developed and agreed to by the parents, and approved by the court. If the parents cannot agree upon a parenting plan, then the parenting plan will be established by the court at trial.

Child support is the responsibility of both parents. Typically, child support is thought of as one parent paying the other parent money for the child. This is not correct. The calculation of child support will determine that amount that each parent will be required to pay for the support of the child.

How To Tell The Children

If you’re at the point where you need to tell your children about your divorce, keep these ideas in mind during your first few conversations with the kids:
  1. Have both parents tell the child(ren) about the divorce together
  2. All children need to be told about the divorce at the same time whenever possible
  3. It’s best to present divorce as a serious decision made after considerable thought, but with sadness, reluctance and sorrow for the pain it causes the child
  4. Offer clear, honest explanations about the divorce. Avoid elaborate details of your marital problems (ie. Affairs, sexual problems)
  5. Reassure your child that the divorce does not weaken the bond between the parent and the child
  6. Give your child clear sense of an established place in each parent’s home (ie. their own room, place for toys, toiletries)
  7. Know before you talk with the children what will happen next. Children need concrete details-where will I live, when will I see each parent, will I go to the same school. Predictability leads to stability in a child’s life
  8. Focus on what will happen to each child, describe basic changes (ie. living arrangements, time with the other parent)
  9. Extend an invitation to your child to make suggestions that will be considered
  10. Assure your child he/she will be told of all major developments and changes
  11. Stress that your child is not responsible for the divorce, but that this is an issue between the adults
  12. Give your child permission to love both parents
  13. Give your child a time frame of the divorce and expected changes.

Informative Videos

Video can make complicated family law related matters easier to understand. We try to produce videos explaining some of the more complicated issues that we receive questions on frequently.

Family Relocation

Pursuant to Florida Statute 61.13001 relocation means moving a child more than 50 miles from the child’s principal place of residence. If the parents agree to the relocation of the child’s principal residence, you can satisfy the court requirements by signing a written agreement and have the agreement ratified by the court.

Unless an agreement is reached, the parent who desires to relocate must file a Petition to Relocate and serve it upon the other parent and every other person entitled to access or to time sharing with the child.

Adoption By A Step-Parent

Step-Parent Adoption is a legal procedure in which an adult becomes the legal parent of someone who is not his or her biological child. Stepparent adoption is adoption of a marital partner’s child.

Legally, there is no difference between an adopted child and a biological child for consent, surnames, custody, child support, inheritance and property laws, incest, criminal law, and so on. In most adoptions, the relationship between the child and both biological parents is terminated. In a stepparent adoption, only the noncustodial parent loses parental rights.

For some, it’s a matter of protecting the child from legal snafus around inheritance. For others, it’s an attempt to give equal status to all kids living in the household. The action itself may be a ritual of public commitment, like a wedding ceremony. For others, it’s just making legal what’s already a reality; the commitment, and the actions of parenting, have taken place long before.

Why is a step parent adoption important? A child with a legal father is more likely to:

  1. Have a stronger sense of family;
  2. Develop a strong bond with the father;
  3. Do well in school;
  4. Have better health care;
  5. Receive child support;
  6. Have inheritance rights;
  7. Have rights to social security, veterans and other benefits;
  8. The adoptive stepparent will have a say on legal decisions about the child;
  9. The adoptive stepparent will have the right to regular contact with the child if case of divorce with the biological parent.