What Consequences Could I Face If I Don’t Pay Child Support

Child support for minor children is a legal obligation that a parent has after a divorce. If a parent refuses to pay, they may face serious legal consequences. The following video describes some of the penalties associated with refusing to pay child support. For more information, speak to a Sarasota family law lawyer today. 

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Fathers’ Rights

Florida law does not make any presumptions as to which parent is more fit; rather, it has established as a goal a shared-parent model where both mother and father participate in decision making and spend time with the child. However, as a practical reality, a Sarasota child custody attorney often sees the need for fathers to fight for their rights.

Establishing Custody and Time-sharing Rights

A Sarasota child custody lawyer will advise that at the onset of a child custody case, each parent has equal rights and a custody plan will be developed that is in the best interests of the child. At this stage, the father should assert his intention to do whatever is necessary to have the maximum time with his child as possible. Some considerations a Sarasota child custody lawyer will suggest, if at all possible, are: • Live in a home within the child’s existing school district so overnight visits are as easy as possible • Live in a home large enough and comfortable enough to accommodate overnight, weekend and summer visits • Willingness to adjust his work schedule to accommodate spending more time with the child Often, however, it is impossible for a father to provide 50 percent of the care for his child and the mother is awarded custody. As the non-custodial parent, the father is all too often excluded from major decisions and finds the mother is not complying with the visitation schedule. A Sarasota child custody lawyer can assist in negotiating a solution with the mother or returning to court to enforce the existing order or modify the existing order to ensure the father’s rights are protected.

Unwed Fathers

Paternity must be established before any parenting rights can be asserted. Under Florida law, a child conceived or born during marriage is presumed to be the child of the wife and husband. Absent any claims to the contrary, the husband automatically has equal parenting rights. If a child is born to an unmarried woman, no presumption arises as to the identity of the father. The biological father of a child who is unmarried to the child’s mother has a right to file a claim of paternity to establish his parenting rights. A failure to exercise these rights could result in losing them. Under Florida law, the paternity of a child can be established by agreement of the mother and father, court order or operation of law. DNA testing is a fast, simple and relatively expensive way to accurately determine paternity.

Contact a Sarasota Child Custody Attorney for Legal Advice

Psychologists are in clear agreement that a child is far better off and better adjusted when both parents are intimately involved. The court is more willing to actively protect a father’s rights regarding custody and visitation when support payments are current. For any questions regarding your rights, your child’s interests or your legal options, call Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A., a Sarasota child custody attorney group, at 941.954.1700.

How Will the Judge Decide Custody?

If you have children and are getting divorced from a spouse, you should talk to a Sarasota child custody attorney about how custody will be decided. State laws vary, but any family law judge will generally try to rule in the best interests of the children. For some examples of common factors that judges consider, read on.

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How to Arrange Contact Schedules for Young Children After a Divorce

Clients of a Sarasota family law attorney often ask for advice about creating a contact schedule with children after the divorce.

For children, especially younger children, it’s important to formulate a consistent contact schedule after a divorce. The following strategies should be followed depending on the age of the children:

Maintain consistency for babies up to 18 months.

It’s important to keep the contact shorter but to have them happen more often. Both parents should strive to have similar atmospheres at each home. When babysitters are needed, consistency is key there too. Keep the same bathing, eating and bedtime schedules. Use the same baby food.

From age 18 months to three-years-old, the goal is a structured method of care.

For such practices as toilet training, both parents should agree on its consistency. All routines must be the same from one home to the other. Because children are inherently dependent and require constant nurturing at a young age in order to develop into healthy and happy teenagers and adults, it is absolutely vital to maintain a loving and structured environment at all times. This lets the child know that they are safe and loved.

Be predictable and provide positive reinforcement as to the next visit for children age three to five.

Both parents should keep a calendar with highlights detailing when the next visit will be with each parent. Don’t change the schedule unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Contact an Sarasota family law attorney

If you have questions about contact schedules for young children after a divorce, call Sarasota family law attorney Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A. at 941.954.1700 today.


How Does The Judge Determine Alimony?

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is often the most contentious aspect of divorce proceedings. It refers to payments that one former spouse makes to the other following a divorce. Judges calculate alimony payments according to certain considerations and regulations which your attorney can explain to you. Here are some of the key considerations that go into calculating spousal support according to a Sarasota family lawyer. 

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Sarasota Family Attorney offers Nine Ways to Avoid Conflict

Divorce is one of the most emotionally trying times in a person’s life. It can be very difficult to navigate your way through a divorce without coming into conflict with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. A Sarasota family attorney suggests the following tips for minimizing arguments:

  1. Take a break

    If the issue is a significant one and the discussion is becoming heated, you could suggest a 24-hour ‘cool-down’ period to consider potential solutions.

  2. Brainstorm

    Try to come up with as many possible solutions as you can. This will show your willingness to find an answer and to negotiate.

  3. Be willing to compromise

    You can trade favors. You could agree to do something your ex wants in exchange for something that you want.

  4. Be willing to apologize

    You should prepare yourself to offer an apology, whether or not you are at fault. Offering an apology can go a long way toward resolving a conflict.

  5. Change direction

    If you notice your spouse speaking more loudly and quickly, you should switch gears and start speaking more slowly and quietly. This should help to reduce the tension.

  6. Hedge your bets

    You can soften your language by hedging. For example, you could begin sentences with phrases like: “Maybe you could____,” or “Maybe we could try___.”

  7. Lead with a positive

    If you need to say something negative or ask for something, try sandwiching your request between two positives. For example, you could thank your spouse for something he or she has done for you and follow by re-affirming your appreciation.

  8. Restate your spouse’s position

    Rephrase your spouse’s statement to demonstrate that you are listening. For instance, you could say, “What you are asking for is ________.”

  9. Take your share of the blame

    Express your willingness to accept your share of the conflict and let your spouse know that you want to resolve the issue.

These techniques will help you navigate the difficult process of negotiating a divorce agreement while keeping conflict to a minimum. A Sarasota family attorney may also be able to help you manage the divorce process while protecting your interests. Please call the office of Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A., at 941.954.1700, to schedule a private consultation.

10 Common Divorce Mistakes

Couples might go into the process of ending a marriage with the best of intentions regarding working out their differences. However, if they make any one of these 10 mistakes, they can find themselves dealing with unnecessary stress and facing numerous financial problems. They can learn about these mistakes by hiring a family lawyer.

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Keeping Children Protected

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In this blog, a family attorney in Sarasota discusses how children can and should be shielded from the damage that the divorce of their parents can cause.

Overlooked by the System
While children are and ought to be of primary importance to their parents, their position with the court is less central. If their safety or welfare is not in jeopardy, the court is unlikely to pay much attention to them during the divorce proceedings beyond settling such issues as custody or alimony.

Children Are Survivors
It has long been known that children are tougher than they seem. They can recover from the trauma of the dissolution of their parents’ marriage as long as they are properly considered while the case is in progress. Part of this consideration is exclusion from the circumstances surrounding the divorce.

A divorce separates a married couple. They, and not their children, are the primary participants. At no time should children be forced or dragged into the proceedings as though they had any part in the conflict that separated the couple. Arguments, recriminations, accusations and other such outbursts should not take place in the children’s presence, if at all. This places children squarely between their parents, possibly forcing them to take sides. Further, in no way should children be urged to “report” to one parent what the other says or does, and a child’s affections should never be held over the head of a parent as a means of coercion or any kind of threat. Finally and above all, it is vital that parents remember that these are their children, not pawns to be used as part of a divorce procedure.

Seek Experienced Counsel
Engage the services of a skilled, experienced family attorney in Sarasota to assist you in your divorce proceedings. Contact attorney Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A. by calling 941.954.1700 today.

To-Do List

Red Pen and Checklist

While divorce can sometimes make spouses feel powerless, your Sarasota family attorney can explain that a spouse is an essential part of a case. He or she can assist in the family law case by helping to organize and prepare information that can assist his or her legal team.

Career Steps

One of the primary concerns that clients express to their Sarasota family attorney is what they will do to support themselves. While there are several career-related tasks that an individual may be able to complete to assist his or her case, the actual steps depend on the person’s current condition. For example, if the person is currently employed, he or she should let the boss know if legal appointments or court dates may cause missed work. Individuals who are not currently employed will want to update their resume, research potential positions and begin going on interviews.

Record Keeping

One of the most important ways that a spouse can assist his or her legal team is to gather and organize documents. Some of the documents that are important to locate and organize include:

  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Insurance policies and valuations

Additionally, spouses should begin considering which assets they would like to keep and which they can live without. Then, they should prepare a list of these assets and give it to their Sarasota family attorney, along with photographs depicting these items and the date that they were taken.

If you would like more information on how you can assist your legal team in your divorce case, contact Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A. at 941.954.1700.

Facing Domestic Violence? Contact a Sarasota Family Lawyer Immediately

If you are in an immediate domestic violence situation, we encourage you to call Florida’s domestic violence hotline right away: 1-800-500-1119. From there, a Sarasota family 9000808
is one of the most helpful resources as you begin to navigate the legal implications of this type of incident. Whether you are in need of a protection from abuse order or would like to establish an initial custody determination for your children, you should undoubtedly seek the services of a compassionate legal advocate.

Domestic Violence Under Florida Law
Domestic violence is a specially defined type of assault perpetrated against a victim who maintains a close relationship with the attacker. Not every assault falls within the definition of domestic violence; however the term refers to a wide variety of assaultive conduct, including:

  • Aggravated assault;
  • Battery & aggravated battery;
  • Sexual assault & battery;
  • Stalking;
  • Kidnapping;
  • False imprisonment; and
  • Any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of a family member.

In order for the domestic violence law to apply, the assault must be against a person within the definition of “family member” or “household member.” Under current Florida laws, this definition includes the following individuals:

  • Spouse or former spouse;
  • Persons related by blood or marriage;
  • Persons living together as a family or those who have lived together in the past as a family; and
  • Co-parents of a child, regardless of whether they have been married.

The law also attaches a caveat to the definition of “family member” or “household member” in that they either must be currently living together or have in the past lived together in the same single dwelling; this does not apply to co-parents, however.

If you believe your situation meets the above-listed criteria under Florida’s domestic violence laws, we urge you to protect yourself, your family and your rights, contact an attorney right away.

Call a Sarasota Family Lawyer Today
If you are facing unspeakable violence, we encourage you to come forward immediately and reach out to a Sarasota family lawyer for help. To speak to a compassionate, non-judgmental lawyer in the Sarasota area, call Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A. at 941.954.1700.