Ivan K. Clements, Jr., P.A.
Attorney at Law

Family Law

Ivan K. Clements, Jr., P.A. helps with problems relating to Divorce, Alimony, Child Support, Child Custody, Property Distributions, Post-Divorce proceedings, Injunctions for Protection, and Adoptions.
 Parental Responsibility. On October 1, 2008, some far reaching changes were made to Florida’s Parental Responsibility Law. The terms “custody,” “primary residential parent,” and “rotating custody” were deleted from the law. The new law requires a detailed Parenting Plan in every case involving child issues. Florida gives both parents "Shared Parental Responsibility,” which means both parents are equal, both are entitled to participate in the decisions regarding their children, and both are equally responsible as parents. In rare cases, one parent is given “Sole Parental Responsibility,” usually by agreement between the parents or in cases of confirmed and provable child abuse or abandonment.

Time-Sharing. The word “visitation” has been eliminated from Florida’s Family Law. We now use “time-sharing”. The terms “custodial parent”, “primary residential parent”, “non-custodial parent,” and “secondary residential parent” have been stricken from the shared parental responsibility law. The parents should work together to create what is called a Parenting Plan to govern their relationships with their children. The Parenting Plan must contain a time-sharing schedule that specifies the time, including overnights and holidays, which the children will spend with each parent. The Parenting Plan must include an address to be used to determine the school zone for the children.

Child Support. Child support is governed by Florida Child Support Guidelines. The calculation of child support is based on the net income of each parent, the cost of any daycare or afterschool care (because of a working parent), cost of health insurance for the minor children, and the number of overnights during the year the children spend with each parent. Child Support terminates on a child’s 18th birthday unless the Court decides, or the parents agree, that child support should continue until the child’s graduation from high school, if there is a reasonable expectation of graduation prior to reaching the age of 19 years. Child support may also be awarded for a dependent person beyond the age of 18, when dependency is due to a mental or physical incapacity that began prior to the child reaching the age of majority.

Alimony (Spousal Support). Alimony, or spousal support, may be awarded to a spouse based on that spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay. Florida Law sets forth numerous factors for the Court to consider in determining whether to award alimony to one spouse. In an appropriate case, the Court may award alimony in the form of bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, permanent, or any combination of these forms of alimony.

Property Distribution. Florida requires “equitable distribution” of marital assets (property) and liabilities (debts). The Courts begin with the presumption that the division of marital assets and liabilities should be equal. The liabilities and assets must be identified, classified as either marital or non-marital, or a combination thereof, and valued. Once those steps are taken, the distribution can be determined.

Domestic Violence. Domestic violence is a growing and serious problem in our nation. Domestic violence occurs in all groups regardless of religion, age, income, education level, marital status, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity. Children witnessing violence between their parents is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. There is help available for victims of domestic violence.

Temporary Relief. You may be entitled to temporary relief while your case is progressing through the system. Temporary relief may involve child related issues, such as parental responsibility, visitation/time-sharing, child support, relocation, alimony, and attorney’s fees and costs.

Modification. Sometimes circumstances change after your divorce that justifies a modification of child support, time-sharing/visitation, alimony, and parental responsibility. If a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the previous order, you may be entitled to relief.

Enforcement. The Courts are available to enforce orders made in the initial Final Judgment or Order. This includes the enforcement of child support, alimony, time sharing and other matters when there has been a violation of a previous order or non-payment of support.

Attorney’s Fees and Costs. You may be entitled have your attorney’s fees and costs paid by the other parent in your case. The primary factors in determining whether you receive attorney’s fees and costs from your spouse or the other party are your need for the contribution to fees and costs and the present ability of the other spouse or party to contribute. The major purpose of awarding attorney’s fees in a dissolution proceeding is to ensure that both parties have equal access to competent representation by an attorney.

Mediation. All cases in Volusia County are referred to mediation prior to going to trial. Mediation allows the parties to participate in the negotiation and resolution of their case by using a neutral mediator. If the divorcing parties cannot resolve their issues then the issue will be decided by a trial judge. Trial should be the last resort in any case. Mediation allows your full participation in deciding the outcome of your divorce case.

Contact Ivan K. Clements, Jr., if you having any questions and need legal help regarding family law.