Articles Posted in Family Law

Family Law Attorney in JacksonvilleIf you’re being investigated by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), you’re probably wondering if you need a lawyer. While many calls to DCF see no action taken, some may result in serious changes to your family’s current situation. Hiring a family law attorney can help protect you and your parental rights. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with the DCF.

What is the DCF?

The Department of Children and Families, or DCF, is a state government agency responsible for protecting children and helping troubled families. In cases of abuse and neglect, the DCF investigates any calls or reports that a child may be at risk. An investigation may go to court to try to remove a child from their home if they conclude that the child is in a harmful environment. The DCF also provides support services for families who are in turmoil, places children in foster care and arranges adoptions.

Jacksonville Divorce AttorneyThe divorce rate among couples who are over 50 has been rising in the past few decades. On top of the emotional difficulty of divorcing later in life, there’s often a profound financial impact. This is especially true when dealing with retirement. If it looks like you may be headed towards a “gray divorce”, be sure to consult with an experienced divorce attorney. Here’s what you need to know about divorcing in retirement.


Permanent alimony is generally granted after a long-term marriage (over 17 years). In Florida, the court merely requires that an award of permanent alimony is more likely than not to be appropriate. The amount can vary dramatically, but you should expect alimony to be a factor when divorcing in your senior years. Work with a reputable divorce lawyer to ensure alimony is awarded fairly in your case.

Jacksonville Divorce AttorneyThere are plenty of divorce-related myths circulating out there. Sometimes, it can be hard to know what to believe. The Jacksonville divorce attorneys at Parker & DuFresne want to help you separate the facts from the fiction. Here are some of the most common myths about divorce in the state of Florida.

1. The divorce rate is rising faster than ever.

It’s no longer true that the divorce rate in the United States in on the rise. In fact, divorce has been steadily declining since the 1980s, especially among college educated couples. Approximately 70% of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary.

gay adoption in JacksonvilleIt’s hard to believe that gay adoption was completely illegal for over 30 years in the state of Florida. But in 2010, the Florida Court of Appeals ruled that the law prohibiting LGBT adoption was unconstitutional. Still, the adoption process for gay and lesbian couples may vary slightly from that of a heterosexual couple. The following information should help you better understand the process of gay adoption in Florida.

Ways to Adopt

Many LGBT people and gay couples have successfully adopted children into their families since gay adoption has become legal in Florida. There are several ways to go about adoption in Florida.

parental rights of unmarried fathersNavigating child custody, visitation and child support is complicated and can be emotionally trying. Unmarried fathers may feel frustrated that they don’t have the same rights as other parents. Dealing with this difficult subject is much easier if you know your paternal visitation rights in Florida. Contacting a family law expert in Jacksonville can help. Here are some important facts that you should be aware of.

Do I need to establish paternity in Florida?

Married fathers are automatically considered the biological father of any children born during the marriage. If you’re an unmarried father who is not named on the birth certificate, you’re known as a putative father. You may petition to have your name added to the birth certificate, but you will also have to establish your paternity. You do not have any rights to your child until it is proven to the court that you are the biological father.

jacksonville divorce attorneyEnding a marriage is a hard choice to make, and unfortunately, it is not always a mutual decision. When one party wants a divorce, and the other does not, it can be an incredibly frustrating situation. In Florida, only one spouse has to want a divorce for a request to be granted, but it does create a few complications. If you find yourself in this position, here are the steps you and your Jacksonville divorce attorney will go through to complete the process.

Filing for divorce.

If your spouse does not wish to sign a petition for an uncontested divorce, you will need to file for a contested divorce. You will then need to have your spouse served with papers. This should be done by a sheriff’s deputy in the county in which your spouse lives or by a professional process server. This way it is clearly documented that the petition has been delivered in case you need to request a default judgment after 20 days without a response. In a contested divorce, it is very wise to hire an attorney who specializes in divorce due to the complexities of the type of situation. The emotional and financial consequences are too high to risk not having professional representation.

family law attorney in JacksonvilleChild support can be a difficult and emotional issue to navigate. The main purpose of child support is to ensure that the needs of children of divorced parents are being met. If you’re going through a divorce you may be confused about how child support figures are calculated, and it may be a major source of conflict between you and your former spouse.

Parents facing a divorce are often concerned about the amount they should expect to pay or the amount which they will receive. It’s important to know that each state has its own guidelines, and your family law attorney in Jacksonville can help you understand these.

Florida law uses an “Income Shares Model” for determining child support, which attempts to calculate how much would have been spent on raising the child if the parents were not divorcing. That amount is then divided between the parents based on their income. To determine this, an income affidavit must be filed by each parent listing their gross income. Gross income includes but is not limited to:

jacksonville divorce attorneyDividing assets in a divorce can be a very difficult process. Things become even more complex when there are significant assets involved or if the couple divorcing is at all hostile. Since all states have different laws regarding the division of assets, it’s important that you thoroughly understand your state’s specific laws. You may want to seek the expertise of a Jacksonville divorce attorney to guide you through Florida’s specific laws.

In a divorce, only marital assets and liabilities are divided. This refers to all property acquired during the marriage, regardless of ownership or title. One of the first things you should do together is complete a list of all marital assets. If you can do so amicably, it makes the entire process faster and easier. Items that must be on this list include: your home, joint property such as land or vacation homes, any vehicles, valuables like jewelry and artwork, household belongings such as furniture and appliances, bank accounts, securities and retirement plans.

In the state of Florida, the law calls for an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. A judge will set aside all non-marital property, also known as separate property. This is any property that each spouse previously owned and brought into the marriage. But be aware that this is not always so straight-forward, as some non-marital assets can become mixed with the marital property. An experienced Jacksonville divorce attorney can advise you on the technicalities of separate assets.

visitation during paternity actionWhen a man is not named on a child’s birth certificate, a paternity action is needed to determine that the man is the child’s biological father and to establish his rights and responsibilities. A paternity action is the legal process used to establish the paternity of a child. This is most often done by using DNA analysis of a swab test or a blood test. In the state of Florida, a paternity action may be filed by the child’s mother, the man involved or even by the child.

Some of the reasons a paternity action may be needed include:

• To verify a child’s identity or to give a child a needed identity.

divorce disclosuresIn a divorce or family law case, people are often concerned that their former spouse or significant other will not be entirely straightforward with their financial information. Through a procedure called mandatory disclosure , the state of Florida mandates that each party is fully informed about the other party’s financial situation.

In simple terms, a mandatory disclosure means that the financial information of both parties in a divorce or other family law case are required to be disclosed. It specifically requires that financial affidavits be exchanged, and this requirement is not able to be waived. Mandatory disclosures must be filed within 45 days of the case being served. They must also be continually updated whenever there is a substantial change in one of the party’s financial circumstances.

On top of the financial affidavit, there are additional documents required which help demonstrate the debts and assets of each party. These documents are furnished as a way to support the numerical figures on the affidavit. Some of these documents may not always be necessary and can potentially be waived if agreed upon by both parties.