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Category: Marital and Family Law

In consulting with prospective clients regarding a family law case, including a dissolution of marriage case, one question that is often asked by the person is if they need to file or disclose to the Court in the case their financial information. Understandably, many people are hesitant or reluctant to place with the Court file […]

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.
Both the Florida House and the Florida Senate this week passed in their respective chambers their versions of ‘Greyson’s Law’. This was approved with widespread support by the Florida Legislature in both the House and the Senate.
Parenting and time-sharing agreements often encompass an array of topics which may arise when navigating the world of co-parenting. Often, the topics which come to mind first are time-sharing, child support, and parental responsibility. However, some of the less common issues can prove just as important when preempting disagreements and issues between the parties.
The third spousal right for discussion is “elective share.”  Absent a valid waiver of spousal rights, the elective share serves as a floor for inheritance. It presents a surviving husband or wife with the opportunity to make sure they receive at least thirty percent of the deceased spouse’s “augmented estate” or “elective estate.”  A keen reader may notice the absence of the phrase “probate estate.”  This is because the elective share applies to more than just assets that pass-through probate and which are controlled by a Last Will and Testament.  The augmented estate includes a large swath of assets, including property held in a revocable trust, jointly held property, property with a right of survivorship, and certain property transferred prior to death. 
We are in the midst of the 2023 legislative session, and both the Florida House and the Florida Senate are working on a variety of new proposed legislation in Tallahassee. One such proposed law change would give fathers, whose child or children are born out of wedlock, one step closer to gaining equal parental rights.
Florida Statute 61.30 dictates the terms and requirements surrounding retroactive child support. Retroactive, or otherwise known as “back-owed,” child support, can be ordered relative to a certain period of time.
The second of several rights enjoyed by a surviving spouse (absent a proper, formal waiver) is that of “family allowance.”  Family allowance is the concept that the surviving spouse and certain “lineal heirs” of the decedent the are entitled to money during probate administration.  The policy behind family allowance is to private ongoing financial support, for those who need it, while a decedent’s assets are tied up in probate. 
Clients and their children are often shocked to learn that a surviving spouse has certain minimum rights to the deceased spouse’s property under Florida law.  These rights exist by virtue of marriage and can only be waived in a very particular manner.  They include the right to inheritance as a “pretermitted spouse, family allowance, elective share, homestead, and preference in appointment as personal representative.  For part one of this multi-part blog, I will address the concept of a pretermitted spouse and family allowance.
Chapter 61 of Florida Statutes covers an array of topics that surround parenting issues, to include parental decision making for minor children. Every family and every case has a different set of circumstances but the consistent factor throughout the court’s consideration in a parenting plan is the best interests of the children. When it comes to parental responsibility, the best interests of the child vary from case to case.