In any family law matter, you need a competent and zealous attorney on your side. Whether it is divorce, paternity, or a modification, the Family First Firm brings a trained and experienced attorney and support staff to each client’s case.

We will take care of your case from start to finish and keep you informed of every step that is taken on your behalf. Lastly, we will never inflame a legal situation for our own gain. Often times, the first question asked of a potential client is “Can the marriage be saved? If so, save it”. Our clients and their interests come first – always.

Please read below to learn more about how we can help you.

Divorce

As an Orlando family lawyer and estate attorney I know that going through a separation or divorce is painful and challenging, especially when minor children are involved. So many questions run through people’s heads:

  • Who will get custody of the children?
  • Who will get to live in the house?
  • How will our assets be divided?

These are normal questions that all people ask their divorce attorney under normal circumstances. Alimony and child custody are the two biggest concerns in most divorces.

Sometimes, however, situations become escalated and fears of physical violence or games that produce mental anguish can make things all the more ubiquitously painful. Many Orlando family lawyers will try to mediate cases prior to filing for divorce in situations where tension can have a harmful effect upon the children, but there will always be those cases where a divorce lawyer must take direct action to see to the welfare of the child and use court intervention to provide stable, safe child custody. In these cases you will require the assistance of an experienced Orlando family law attorney to file emergency orders to show cause and get your case heard swiftly by the courts.

Paternity

As a family law attorney in Orlando I know all too well the results of family strife and strained paternal relations. The statutes regarding paternity in Florida were created to assert the bonds between father and child, and to affirm that relationship for the purpose of financial and emotional guardianship. Paternity suits can be initiated by either male of female and for the purpose of establishing a relationship, verifying a relationship, or repudiating a relationship.

It is assumed by the State of Florida that if a couple is married that the male spouse is the father of any child born during the union. Married parents assume all rights, privileges, and responsibilities of that child or children. Custody is in this case established by law, not by testing.

Due to the changing shape of society many children are born out of wedlock and without a father at the hospital with the ability to have his name added to the birth certificate, a family lawyer may have to file on his behalf (or the mother’s behest) for a paternity judgment. Visitation rights, financial responsibilities, medical decision-making and even donor assistance are all important reasons for addressing the issue of paternity and appealing to the courts for legal rights.

Paternity can be established through a court judgment and appropriate genetic verification, thus enabling the child to receive visitation with his or her father, military benefits, inheritances, and medical treatment. Or, if all parties are amenable to finding the actual results of such a test, or if both parents acknowledge the paternity of the child it can be handled almost entirely outside of a courtroom by updating the birth record with the Florida Office of Vital Statistics.

“Custody” & Child Support

Florida has eliminated the term “custody” and has replaced it with the term “time-sharing”. Despite this change in terminology, they deal with the same concept. Child custody (or time-sharing) is always a difficult situation to resolve when both parties wish to be the sole custodial guardian. These are the times when the will and fortitude of an Orlando child custody lawyer is sorely tested. Most of the time, these things are worked out prior to either individual seeking legal counsel, but when it has not been ironed out sparks can and do fly. Children are all that’s left of a marriage and both parties want to hold on. We love our children and we want them with us. This is a simple and understandable concept. It is my job as an Orlando family law attorney to work with both parents and opposing counsel to figure out what is the best environment for the child.

Florida demands that both parents, not just the custodial parent, provide financial assistance (child support) for minor children. This demand came at the behest of the good people of the State of Florida who understand that children need attention and appropriate care. Child support payments are determined by many things, including:

  • Monthly income
  • Time sharing/custodial situation
  • Daycare, school, health care expenses
  • Trusts and assets

The courts use specific calculations and percentages when awarding child support, making it less of a punishment and more of a duty or obligation on the non-custodial parent.

Child support belongs solely to the children, not the parent, and therefore is separate from alimony discussions. Should a parent be found to be using child support for any purpose other than for the care of the minor children to whom it was awarded, that parent can be brought back in front of the courts.
This happens less than rumor allows, but more frequently than it should. If you believe your children’s support payments are going for things that are not related to their care, speak to a child support lawyer immediately for assistance.

Alimony

Florida family lawyers understand the full level of acrimony that comes with the word “alimony” in Florida.  The two words even rhyme!  Most recently the governor’s veto of the bill that would make alimony temporary caused a huge stir among citizens and family law and divorce attorneys.  Many people feel that the lifelong association with alimony is unfair and unjust, but the governor’s belief is that we currently have a system where alimony can be redressed by the courts through “divorce modification” and that creating a set of firm resolutions removes the discretion of the judge from the scenario.  Regardless of where people stand on this issue, the fact remains that the laws have not changed and the courts continue to be the final adjudicator of monetary and child custody settlements.

Alimony, or spousal support, is dependent upon many things such as:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The standard of living of all parties in the marriage
  • Current finances of each spouse
  • Health, age, and medical conditions of all involved parties
  • Contributions to the marriage (note this is not always financial)

An Orlando family law attorney must make a good case before the court as to what you deserve to pay or receive from the marriage.  Most Orlando alimony lawyers know that alimony is the most contested aspect of divorces—sometimes even over child custody.  It is a battle from beginning to end.  Your emotions and strength will be put under pressure, your beliefs will be tested, and the person across the aisle from you, that person you loved so much for so many years will seem like a complete stranger.