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Author: Serena Baldacchino

Recent revisions to Florida alimony law have clarified what the courts will consider when ruling on an initial award of alimony or a petition to modify or terminate alimony based on the would-be recipient’s/recipient’s “supportive relationship.” These revisions recognize that the financial needs of the party who is seeking an award of alimony, or already has an alimony award, may be reduced when such a supportive relationship exists.
In general, Florida courts consider a child’s current best interests and the family’s present circumstances when ordering a parenting plan in a dissolution of marriage or paternity action. Prospective-based analyses of children’s future best interests are to be avoided. There is a recent trend, however, in allowing for timesharing planning and adjustments around future events if an event is “reasonably and objectively certain to occur at an identifiable time in the future,” i.e., when the use of a crystal ball is not needed.
For families experiencing the turmoil that so often comes with divorce or separation, co-parenting counseling can help.
It is the public policy in Florida that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the marriage is dissolved or the parents separate and to “encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys of childrearing.” Ideally, parents are mature enough to learn to successfully co-parent for the sake of their child. What happens, then, if a minor child resists spending time or communicating with one parent?
Ah, the holidays! The Christmas trees, the eggnog, the hustle, the bustle, the arguing with your ex over timesharing with the kids . . .. Few things can put a damper on what is usually the best time of year for children like seeing their parents stressed and arguing over who gets them and when. A thoughtful and well-drafted parenting plan can go a long way toward ensuring your family’s holiday season is a joyous and tranquil one.
Timing, as they say, is everything in life; the same is certainly true in the realm of Family Law matters. The various Volusia County Family Law rules and statutes are rife with time designations and triggering events which, if overlooked, can greatly impact the result in any given case.