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Family Law

The term family law refers to all legal matters affecting the family, including spouses, former spouses, unmarried parents, grandparents, guardians, children, and cohabitants.

According to Florida Stat. § 61.001 laws affecting the family were established for three reasons:

  • To preserve the integrity of marriage and to safeguard family relationships;
  • To promote the amicable settlement of disputes that arise between parties to a marriage; and
  • To mitigate the potential harm to the spouses and their children caused by the process of legal dissolution of marriage.

The following practice areas fall within the purview of family law.            

  • Premarital Agreements or Prenuptial Agreements
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Annulment
  • Child Support
  • Child Custody or Time-Sharing
  • Domestic Violence and Protective Orders
  • Guardianship
  • Paternity
  • Post-Judgment Proceedings

Each practice area has its own legal requirements, obstacles, and benefits. It is imperative to consult an experienced Palm Beach family law attorney to discuss your legal options and guide you through your family law matter.

West Palm Beach Family Law Attorneys

The West Palm Beach family law attorneys of Quality Family Law know your family is the center of your world. The Quality Family Law will work diligently to explain your legal options and help you select the best path for you and your family.

With a division exclusively dedicated to family law, Quality Family Law is especially knowledgeable in all areas of family law, including prenuptial agreements, annulments, child support, child custody, paternity, and guardianship.

Quality Family Law proudly serves individuals and families throughout Palm Beach County, Florida, including West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, Wellington, and surrounding areas.

Contact Quality Family Law at (561) 557-8686 or submit an online form to discuss your legal options.

Florida Family Law Information Center

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An annulment is the legal process of invalidating a marriage. An annulment declares the marriage was never valid and effectively never occurred. Unlike a divorce, which may be granted for any reason, an annulment can only be granted in limited circumstances including the following:

  • Spouses never lived together as husband and wife;
  • Spouses never consummated the marriage;
  • Either party was an unemancipated minor under the age of 18 and did not receive parental consent to marry;
  • Marriage occurred under fraud or duress. Either party did not enter into the marriage freely or voluntarily;
  • Either party had a mental incapacity or physical disability affecting sexual life at the time the parties entered into marriage;
  • Either party entered the marriage under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Bigamy or either party was legally married to another person at the time he or she entered the marriage; or
  • Incest

The practice and procedure of obtaining an annulment can be complex. There is no Florida statute governing annulments at this time. As a result, it is highly recommended to consult an attorney who is well-versed in the annulment process.

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Child Custody/Time-Sharing

Under Florida Stat. § 61.13 matters involving child custody and visitation are referred to as time-sharing. Time-sharing arrangements are determined by either the agreement of the parents or the court according to the best interest of the child.

One or both parents may have legal custody and/or physical custody of the child. Legal custody refers to the legal right to make decisions for and on behalf of the child. Physical custody refers to where the child primarily resides.

The best interest of the child is determined based on a variety of factors listed in Florida Stat. §61.13(3), which include the demonstrated capacity of each parent to facilitate a close and continuing child-parent relationship, moral fitness of the parents, the mental and physical health of each parent, and any other factor the court deems relevant.

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Child Support

Both parents have the legal obligation to support minor children. Generally, when the parents are divorced or unmarried, one parent will be ordered to pay child support. Child support refers to the regular, usually monthly payments, the made to the party with possession of the child to cover the child’s expenses, including childcare, housing, food, clothing, and other necessities.

When calculating child support, Florida courts use child support guidelines listed in Florida Stat. §61.30.  The guidelines list the recommended monthly child support obligation based on an individual’s monthly net income and the number of children included in the child support order.

The court may deviate from the child support guidelines based on certain factors, including needs of the children, age, standard of living, and financial situation.

Generally, child support terminates upon the minor child’s 18th birthday. However, there are specific circumstances in which a child support allegation may be extended.

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Cohabitation Agreements

A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract between two persons who reside together. Similar to prenuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements govern what occurs in the event the persons decide to no longer reside together or death of either party.

Cohabitation agreements may cover a wide array of issues, including the following:

  • Division of property (i.e. home, furniture, appliances, etc.)
  • Ownership of pets and animals
  • Payment of health insurance, life insurance, etc.

These agreements can be entered by any persons who choose to live together regardless of marital status, gender, or relationship type. Generally, cohabitation agreements are effective upon execution; however, parties may choose to have a future effective date or event.

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Domestic Violence and Protective Orders

The State of Florida provides protection for victims of domestic violence, stalking, dating violence, and sexual violence through protective orders also known as injunctions or restraining orders. A protection order is a court order which requires an alleged abuser to refrain from contacting or harming a domestic violence victim.

Protective orders may be ordered on a temporary or permanent basis depending on the circumstances of the case. A protective order prohibits an alleged abuser from engaging in the following conduct:

  • Contacting the victim, directly or through a third-party, via telephone, text, social media, or in person;
  • Visiting the victim’s home, work, school, etc.;
  • Residing in the same residence with the victim; and
  • Any other provision the court believes is necessary for the protection of the victim and/or his or her children.

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Paternity or the recognition of a child’s father grants the father certain rights and obligations, including the legal right to visitation, obligation to financially support the child, and more. Paternity is automatically established if the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth. However, there are several ways paternity may be established.

Paternity may be established in the following ways:

  • Marriage- Paternity is automatically established when the parents of the child are married.
  • Acknowledgment of Paternity- Unmarried parents of the child may sign a legal document acknowledging the father of the child.
  • Genetic Testing-Genetic testing also referred to as DNA testing at an independent, accredited lab can establish paternity.
  • Court Order- A judge will order the paternity (usually following a genetic test) in court.
  • Legitimation- The mother and natural father of the child marry after the birth of the child and update the child’s birth record with the Office of Vital Statistics.

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Prenuptial Agreements/Premarital Agreements

Premarital agreements also referred to as prenuptial agreements or “prenups” are agreements entered by two persons expecting to marry. The agreement governs what happens in the event of death or divorce of the parties.

Similar to cohabitation agreements, premarital agreement governs medical decisions, division of marital property, division of debt, payment of insurance, etc. Premarital or prenuptial agreements are effective upon the date the parties enter the marriage.

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Quality Family Law ǀ Palm Beach County Family Law Lawyers

The Palm Beach County family lawyers of Quality Family Law have the skill, experience, and compassion to help you will all of your family law needs, including prenuptial agreements, establishment of paternity, protective order or restraining orders, child support, and child custody.

Contact Quality Family Law at (561) 557-8686 or submit an online form to schedule a confidential consultation. Quality Family Law proudly serves clients throughout Florida, including Palm Beach County and surround areas.

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