Why Paternity Cases are So Heart Wrenching

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

With more and more unwed parents, certain issues regarding their children raise their ugly heads.  For example, a father wants to be in a child’s life.  He is paying child support.  The mother is remarried or has another relationship and doesn’t want him around.  The father has to petition the court for his paternity rights.  Or the mother knows who the dad is, but the dad accepts no responsibility as a parent for either supporting the child or having a relationship and spending time with the child.  It is the mother who has to petition the court for paternity rights.  

What mothers and fathers fail to understand in these paternity cases, is it is the child’s rights to two loving supportive parents under the law that is violated.  The child suffers when the parents can’t agree or cooperate.

What mothers and fathers also fail to understand is that just because one party is not paying child support (in violation of court orders or otherwise,) that does not give the other parent rights to with hold the child from the non paying parent.   Time sharing and paying child support are two distinct and separate causes of action.  A mother may rationalize that if the father is not paying, he should not have the joy of seeing the child.  In these cases, it is the child who suffers.  There are court proceedings as recourse for the mother in these types of cases.

A paternity determination is simple if the mother has SOME idea of who the father might be.  A cheek swap of the child and the father in question will collect DNA and tell paternity with almost 100% certainty.  In cases where the mother does not know who the father could be, the child grows up fatherless unless another man in the mother’s life takes over emotionally as well as financially. For more information about this or other family law topics, call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, PA at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

 

“Custody” is now called “time sharing” under the law in Florida

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It used to be called “custody”.  It used to imply rightful possession of a child.  It used to cause the other parent to be the “visiting” parent, or the “non custodial parent” who gets to “visit” with the child/ren.  You can begin to see how this terminology used to cause undue fighting and voluminous litigation between parents.

The Florida legislature, in all their wisdom, finally changed the law several years ago.  But bad habits die hard and sometimes I have clients revert back to the old language of the law.  Like “primary residential parent”.

Last week in court, an opposing party called the child “my” child.  The judge was quick to correct him by stating it is “a child of both of you.  You, mister, do not own a child.”  Public policy in Florida warrants that a child has a right to a relationship with both a mother and a father.  That is why the custody language was changed.

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Things You Can Waive In Divorce Court

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

 There are certain things you can waive when going through the divorce process.  Why would you waive certain rights?  See below:

1.  SERVICE OF PROCESS.  You can sign a document waiving your right to be served divorce papers by a sheriff or a process server.  Then your spouse or his/her attorney can simply mail you the petition for dissolution of marriage.  It is less embarassing than being served at work, or at home in front of your family.  I often have the opposing side waive service of process when there is an amicable divorce.

2.  FILING AN ANSWER AND COUNTER PETITION.  You can waive your right to file an answer within 20 days or a counter petition for dissolution of marriage.  This speeds up the process, costs less money and where there is already a marital settlement agreement, it is unnecessary.

3.  RIGHTS TO MARITAL PROPERTY.  You can waive your rights to any marital property in order to get a settlement on the table.  It serves as an inducement.

4.  RIGHTS TO ALIMONY and ATTORNEY FEES.  You may be entitled to collect alimony and attorneys fees, but you can waive your rights and get more of the marital estate or less of the marital debt.  This is done in the marital settlement negotiations.

5.  RIGHT TO DISCLOSURE.  You or your spouse can waive your entitlement to extensive discovery of the family finances.  This saves time and money, especially if  you both know exactly what the marital assets and debts are.

One thing spouses cannot waive is YOUR CHILD”S RIGHT TO SUPPORT FROM BOTH PARENTS.  So if you are considering a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, and want more information, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Your rights in divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Husbands and wives (and children, too) have certain protected rights in divorce matters.  For example, children have the right to a relationship with both parents unless a relationship is detrimental to the child in some way (physical abuse for example).   Both parents can fight for major timesharing with children.  Husbands and wives have the right to investigate if substantial marital monies are being dissipated or wasted by the other party.   The point is that there are many rights that are protected under family law.

The issue is not to confuse RIGHTS with prevailing at trial.  For example, a party may have the right to litigate an issue, but that does not mean that he/she will win on that point.   

Bringing a disputed issue before the judge is a right.  Whether or not you will win, is another matter.  A win will be determined by the evidence presented, and the testimony.  It is important to keep in mind that judges in family court use their discretion and subjective opinions and impressions of the parties, along with the application of family law.  So if you find you are going to trial, it is best to be represented by counsel.

For more information about your rights in divorce court, consult with one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

What makes a parent “unfit”.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

When it comes to time sharing with children, or paternity actions where the father is finally adjudicated the father by DNA testing, the court has to determine the best interests of the child/ren.  The same holds true for cases where a parent wants to relocate and the other parent does not give permission and a court order is sought.

Allegations of “unfit parent” can arise to thwart the relationship of the “undesireable” parent.  However, “undesireable” is not the same as “unfit”. 

Under the laws of the State of Florida, BOTH child and parent have rights,  UNLESS a parent is adjudicated “unfit” in a court of law.  The case law defines “unfit” as a parent who is unable to take care of him or herself…unable to take care of the child…one who abandons, abuses or neglects a child…an alcoholic, a drug abuser, a party person til 3 am every night…you get the picture.

Parents may not agree with parenting styles or decisionmaking or even lifestyles of the other parent, but that is not enough to make a parent “unfit” in the eyes of the law.  

The way courts handle an unfit parent is to order supervised time sharing, order parenting classes, order the parent to counseling, order the parent to a psych evaluation, and to take normal rights away until the parent is rehabilitated and the child is safe with that parent. 

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.