Busted! Don’t Believe These Myths About Florida Family Law!
Going through a divorce or domestic legal trials isn’t always easy, especially if one has to go through them alone. For comfort, opinions, and guidance, most people first consult with family or friends who went through similar situations. Unfortunately, this most often leads to the spread of incorrect or misleading facts.
If you are one of the parties involved in a domestic legal matter, you need to understand that your situation is not necessarily the same as your friend’s or relative’s. Similarly, each jurisdiction has a different set of family laws, which means that rules vary from state to state. For this reason, it’s crucial not to rely on legal information shared by family and friends. Instead, lean on them solely for emotional support and on an experienced and knowledgeable professional for legal assistance.
To help you understand the difference between facts and falsehoods about family law, the legal experts at The Quattro Firm LLC have debunked some of the most widely believed myths about Florida family law.
Myth 1: Women always win in a custody battle.
People often come to see us and tell us that they cannot “win” in a custody dispute because the “woman” always wins. This is not accurate. I believe that the media and movies have sensationalized the idea of family law to the extent that all men believe that a woman will always be determined to be the better caregiver and the one who is awarded full or majority timesharing. This is simply inaccurate. As we tell all of our clients, no one “wins” in a family law case. By the time that a family law case has reached litigation, a family is being torn apart. There is no “winner” in such a situation. When it comes to custody and timesharing, Florida does favor equal timesharing. Florida law favors children having the ability to have two parents who are able to communicate and make effective parenting decisions by putting them first, rather than thinking of their own selfish motives. However, this is not always possible. Sometimes one parent must be awarded the majority time over the other. Some families choose to have less than equal timesharing due to long-distance parenting and job scheduling. Others must fight for their children and request majority timesharing. In such a case, the gender of the litigant makes no difference. While social media and Hollywood have presented the idea of a father being the one with more custody as being impossible, it’s really not. If a mother is not being truthful, is selfish, is not keeping her child’s needs before her own, or in other ways is not keeping a child safe, then a father can and will be awarded sole custody or majority timesharing. The burden is always on the litigant, presenting the matter for review, but gender is never a basis for awarding custody.
Myth 2: I’m on the birth certificate, so I’m the father.
Men often call to say that they are concerned about their child and are shocked when they must seek a paternity case. If a party is unmarried when a woman gives birth, despite what a birth certificate may say, the father does not have rights to the child until a paternity order is entered. Such an order can happen through the Department of Revenue in a child support matter, or it can happen in Circuit Court. Often, if the father is named in the birth certificate, the Department of Revenue will not conduct any paternity testing and will not order paternity. Their job is to assess child support. They also do not award timesharing. If a father wants to be sure that his rights to his child are fully protected, he must seek a paternity action in circuit court.
Myth 3: I have no money, so I don’t need an estate plan.
People often believe that if they haven’t built up many assets that they don’t need an estate plan. However, an estate plan covers much more than the transference of your IRA and stocks. An estate plan tells your loved ones if you want to be cremated, if you want to donate your organs, if you believe you’d like to be kept alive by artificial means, and who you’d like to care for your children if you are incapacitated or in the event of your death. Regardless of the size of your estate, anyone needs an estate plan.
If you’re looking to steer clear of myths like these, reach out to The Quattro Firm LLC. As one of the top attorneys in West Palm Beach, Florida, we will provide you with information to help you with all of your family law-related issues. We also practice in the areas of family law, divorce law, civil litigation, and estate planning law in and around West Palm Beach, FL.