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Q: What areas are included in family law?
A: Divorce, child custody, parental responsibility, child support, alimony, property division, domestic violence, judgment modification, judgment enforcement, paternity, disestablishment of paternity, name change and adoption, are some of the areas.
Q: What is collaborative divorce?
A: A divorce process where all parties are committed to negotiating through the process, rather than having the court determine issues. Each party may have their own attorney, but experts may be jointly hired if both parties agree. Many collaborative divorces involve mental health professionals to assist the parties through the process.
There is agreement that the parties will not take advantage of each other, move assets, cancel insurance policies or place assets at risk. Additionally, the parties agree to communicate in a civil and constructive manner.
Collaborative divorces are generally considered to be less stressful and easier than traditional divorces.
Q: What is paternity?
Paternity is the legal process in which a man’s legal ties to his natural and biological child are established. Prior to an establishment of paternity, an unwed mother has exclusive rights over the child, superior to all others.
Q: What is time sharing?
Time sharing was formerly referred physical custody in Florida Statute. Time sharing refers to who a child actually spends time with on a specified day and time.
Q: What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility was formerly referred to as legal custody. Parental responsibility has to do with a parent’s ability to make major decisions relating to the child such as religious upbringing, education and medical treatment. Except in limited circumstances, parental responsibility is always shared by both parents.
Q: What is adoption?
A: A legal process where a child is permanently separated from his or her birth parent(s) and relatives and transferred into a new family. All legal ties to the former family are forever severed and the new family is established as the child’s legal parents. The new family is responsible for the care and guidance of the child from that point on, free from any unwanted interference from the former family or family members.
Q: What steps are involved in a stepparent adoption?
A: Most stepparent adoptions result from an absent parent. The parent may be absent because he or she is deceased, has abandoned the child or children, or has not maintained a relationship with the child or children.
Sometimes a parent consents to the adoption believing it to be in the child's best interest. If the other parent has regular contact with the child and will not consent to adoption, Florida law will generally not allow a stepparent adoption to proceed.
The adoption documents are filed in the Circuit Court in the county where the stepparent resides. Once this process if finalized by the Court, the adopted child will receive a new birth certificate, showing the new parent listed on the birth certificate, and also showing the child's new name.
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