Summer Doesn’t Have to Mean Conflict With Your Ex

It’s that time of year again in South Florida. The days are longer, the weather hotter and the afternoon’s wetter. Summer is here. That also means summer vacation for the children is upon us. For divorced parents, this time also means heightened stress and potential conflict with your ex-spouse.

However, this does not have to be the case. As we often tell our clients, communication is key. Whether it is the details for out-of-town vacations or the new schedule for summer camps, a clear and open line of communication between co-parents is often the lynchpin of a stress and conflict free summer. Communication should not stop with your ex-spouse. Talk with your children about your summer plans to prepare them for the upcoming schedule.

Also, preparation is important for a smooth summer. Make sure all documentation necessary to effectuate trips (passports, written parental consents, court orders, etc.) are in place well before any summer travel plans are booked. Lastly, don’t make the summer about you! Find ways to incorporate your children’s wishes and best interests into any summer plans and leave any bad-blood and competition with your ex-spouse out of the equation. Children want to be with their parents, but, most of all, they want to be with a happy parent who is focused on them. Becoming distracted by an unhealthy and destructive sense of competition with your ex-spouse can have long term consequences for both you and your children.

However, despite your best efforts, we here at Benjamin & Melmer, LLC understand that conflict and strife may be unavoidable. In such cases, we are here to offer you the effective and healthy representation you deserve. Call our Office today to schedule a consultation to go over your legal rights when the heat of summer turns into legal complications with your ex-spouse.

Here is one good article on tips for a divorced parent to navigate summer vacation:

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Avoiding Child Support Leads To Serious Legal Trouble

Child-SupportRecently, a Broward County man mysteriously disappeared while paddle-boarding in the Atlantic Ocean. George Theoharis disappeared on March 20, 2018, the very same day he was set to appear in Family Court to answer for allegations from his ex-Wife that he owed nearly half a million dollars in back child support payments.

This disappearance may be serious. Or it may be a not-so-subtle attempt at avoiding an obscene amount of child support arrears. If it is the latter, Mr. Theoharis is employing a terrible legal strategy. Back child support can lead to serious legal repercussions. A judge can find that one’s failure to pay child support was an intentional act, and therefore find you in contempt of court. Contempt of court carries extremely serious legal repercussions, including fines, payment of legal fees and, in extreme cases, even jail time. Needless to say, a decision not to pay child support is never a good idea.

However, circumstances can often arise where paying child support can be financially impossible. In such limited circumstances, rather than intentionally disobeying a court order, which is never a good idea, we here at Benjamin & Melmer, LLC recommend you consult with an experienced Family Law attorney to review your legal options. You may be able to file a Supplemental Petition to Amend Child Support or have another legal remedy at your disposal. However, what is never recommended is to simply run away and burry your head in the sand. The ostrich approach will surely leave you in a worse position than you already are.

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What to do When the Other Parent isn’t Exercising Their Timesharing

Some people might not see this as a problem, particularly in high conflict relationships.  You don’t have to deal with the other parent and you have a monopoly on your child’s time.   However, there are some real considerations, chief among them is whether the other parent, despite not exercising their time-sharing, is still getting credit in the child support guidelines for that time.  Remember, the two biggest factors in calculating child support are the parties’ net incomes and the number of overnights that each parent gets with the child on any given year.  So, its possible the other parent is deriving a big benefit from time-sharing they aren’t even using.  Well, thankfully the Florida legislature has provided you with an answer to this dilemma.  Florida Statute 61.30 allows a parent to request a modification of child support when the other parent isn’t exercising their time-sharing, so long as that parent wasn’t being unreasonably prevented from doing so.  In fact, that modification can go all the way back to when the other parent stopped exercising that time-sharing.  Depending on what the change in child support amounts to and the length of time during which the other parent wasn’t visiting, this can amount to a fairly large amount of money.   Please note though, that absent the court modifying the time-sharing schedule as well, this modification will only cover the time that the other parent wasn’t visiting, it does not change the child support moving forward (Andrews v. Andrews, 219 So. 3d 1006 (2nd DCA, FLA).  Thus, another consideration might be for the primary parent to seek a modification of the time-sharing schedule as well in order to make the child support modification permanent.

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How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer

1. Know What Is Important to You – In any one divorce case there are endless issues that can be fought over. From child custody and child support to alimony and attorney’s fees. If you don’t narrow down the issues in order of importance to you, you will spend a great deal of time and money litigating everything. Know what your not willing to back down on and what you are willing to negotiate on will give the lawyer you do choose a better understanding of what you are looking for and can ensure you have reasonable expectations when it comes to results.

2. Stay Focused on Your Goals – Often times the other side will attempt to make things difficult during a divorce, particularly when there is a lot of animosity amongst the parties. The nature reaction can sometimes be to fight fire with fire, but in doing so, you often lose sight of what your goals are for the case and you begin to fight over things that have little or no importance to you. Stay focused and be the bigger person.

3. Have Realistic Expectations – The worst thing you can do is go in to a divorce with unrealistic expectations. Not only does that make it very difficult for your divorce lawyer to effectively represent you and you will never fully be satisfied. A good divorce attorney will manage your expectations and give you a realistic result based upon your goals and those issues that are important to you. It’s important to always remember that an attorney’s job is not to tell you what you want to hear, its to tell you what you need to hear, particularly when it comes to what kind of result you can expect. So please do disregard an attorney during a consultation simply because he is not telling you exactly what you want to hear, chances are that’s a quality divorce lawyer.

4. Ask for Referrals – The best place to start when searching for the right divorce lawyer is by asking your friends and family. Not only are they more likely to steer you in the right direction, but usually a referral is based on a positive experience they had with that particular divorce attorney. Please keep in mind that the facts and results for every case are different and you cannot hire an attorney expecting the same results that a friend or family member may have received.

5. Do Your Research – Whether it’s a divorce lawyer that was referred to you or one you found on the internet, you need to do your research. Like many other professional service providers, you can find reviews and disciplinary histories for most attorneys. In addition, nowadays almost every attorney has a website that you can browse to get information on the divorce attorney’s experience and accomplishments.

6. Sit Down With More Than One Attorney – In most cases you will want to sit down with more than one attorney in order to find the right divorce lawyer for you. Sure there are people who will hit it off right away and skip this step, but for the vast majority you will want to shop around to find the best fit.

7. Cost Should Always Be a Consideration – Just because you’re not a millionaire, doesn’t mean you can’t find a quality attorney. There are plenty of divorce lawyers who do amazing work at a reasonable price and aren’t knocking on your door on the 1st of the month when you haven’t paid last month’s balance in full. Whenever you meet with a potential divorce attorney you should ask about any cost saving measures they can employ and whether or not they offer payment plans.

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Desmond Hatchett: Man With 30 Kids Requests Child-Support Break

A 33-year-old Knoxville, Tenn. man with 30 children appeared in court this week to ask the state for child-support help, Memphis news station WREG reported Wednesday.

Desmond Hatchett has fathered 30 children — which is believed to be the record in Knox county, according to the Los Angeles Times — with 11 different women. His youngest children are toddlers and his oldest is 14.

Hatchett reportedly asked the court to give him a break on his payments, claiming that he’s struggling to make ends meet with his minimum-wage job. Currently, the state requires him to divide 50 percent of his earnings among the 11 women, some of whom receive as little as $1.49 a month, WREG reports.

How did Hatchett come to father so many children? “I had four kids in the same year. Twice,” he told Volunteer TV in 2009. He also told a local news station that year that he was “done” having kids (he had only 21 at the time).

Hatchett isn’t the only serial father to make headlines. NFL player Antonio Cromartie, 28, famously fathered 10 children by eight women in six states.

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