Common Mistakes Attorneys See In Divorce Cases
These Are The Most Common Mistakes Made By Parents In Divorce Proceedings in Orlando, FL Along With Explanations
When two people are going through a divorce it is not hard to imagine that there are very highly charged emotional issues working behind the scenes that influence a parent’s decisions when the split is taking place. Divorce attorneys in Orlando, FL see all types of causes for emotional hurt one parent may have been unfaithful, moved out with the children, or surprised the other spouse with an unexpected petition for dissolution of marriage. One common problem in divorce litigation is that the parties’ have a hard time making logical decisions due to the hurt that they are feeling which can lead to them unwittingly short circuiting their case.
No matter what the emotional issues are in your case it is important to remain focused enough to avoid some of the most common mistakes that parents make in their divorce cases in Orlando and in all of Florida. Of course this list does not cover all possible mistakes which is why it is important to contact a divorce attorney in Orlando, FL, however, I have listed the most common mistakes that I see here.
1. I Am Hurt So I Am Going To Refuse Them Contact With The Child
This is one of the most common errors in judgment that I see as an attorney in divorce cases here in Orlando. One parent is beyond upset with their spouse and decides that there is some behavior going on that warrants “protecting” the child from that spouse by not permitting contact.
This is conduct that really upsets judges in dissolution of marriage cases if it is done without a very very good reason. The reason is that the courts believe that it is extremely important for children to have ongoing contact with both parents and that all the studies show that a child that has a good relationship with both parents is far less likely to grow up with issues that can develop in children of divorced parents.
Many judges take the position that if there is something going on that is a direct danger to the child’s safety then there are Police, DCF, and emergency pleadings available. If a parent is withholding contact with a child stating a safety concerns that they already knew about during the marriage and did not take issue with it then they are opening themselves up to a possible rude awakening when their case goes to court.
There is a standing administrative order for divorce cases with children in the ninth judicial which encompasses Orlando. The administrative order essentially says that any parent considering themselves the majority time-sharing parent who unreasonable withholds contact with the child from the other parent should have their time-sharing called into question. The judges take these administrative orders very seriously and parties to divorce cases must be very careful when they withhold contact from the other parent.
The administrative order is available to view here.
2. We Have A Child, but, They Keep Harassing Me So I Blocked Their Phone Number From Calling Me
The problem here is that if you have the child with you a majority of the time you cannot block the other parent’s phone number as this is their only means by which to have communication with their child. I understand that they could reach you if they contacted the grandparents or emailed or by some other means, but the question then becomes; if they could contact you by some other means then why bother blocking their number in the first place?
If there are true concerns of harassing or stalking then you should contact law enforcement. By blocking the other parents number you are very likely to only provide a fantastic argument to the other side that you are alienating the other parent from the child which, if proven to the judge, can get you a time-sharing order that you are not happy with.
All the information in section 1 above also applies to this section also.
3. We Just Separated And I Removed The Other Spouse From The Health Insurance, Car Insurance, Etc.
Remember the administrative order I mentioned above that applies to divorce cases? Well they also apply to issues related to normal household affairs such as paying bills, keeping insurance policies active, and more. The administrative order basically requires everyone to maintain the status quo until a divorce judge issues a ruling or the parties settle. You will always want to be extremely careful when you make any changes to insurance policies as this can make you look like you are unreasonably attempting to punish the other side and judges do not like that at all.
It is also very important to note that this also applies payment of other household bills such as mortgage, utilities, car payments, and all other bills that have been part of normal household business.
4. I Need Money To Live So I Am Not Paying Any Child Support Right Now
Here is another issue we see mainly for Husbands, but it sometimes applies to Wives, where the other spouse has the kids the majority of the time and there is no voluntary child support being paid. It is always smart to be making some voluntary payments even before there is an order because there will likely be an order for you to pay back support for that period anyway and it reduces the number of allegations that the other side may throw your way as the litigation moves forward.
Of course other factors may play in here such as if the spouse who has the kids the majority of the time makes a disproportionately larger income than you do then voluntary support payments may not be needed, however, before you make that decision talk to an attorney.
5. My New Boyfriend/Girlfriend is a Better Parent Than The Other Parent So The Kids Are Better Off Not Even Seeing The Other Parent
If this is your position at any point then you will want to see a divorce lawyer right away. The problem here is that most of the time the judge will not agree with you and will come down pretty hard on you for taking this approach.
The courts feel very strongly that there is only one Mother and only one Father and that step parents and significant others should never attempt or be held out to replace the other parent. This means that you should never force, or even permit, a child to call a step parent mom or dad as these are reserved only for the actual parents.
These are but a few of the possible pitfalls that await unsuspecting divorce litigants. It is important for anyone who has a contested case involving children to contact competent legal counsel. It is simply too easy to make bad decisions if you try to go it alone.
The Law Offices of Sean Smallwood, P.A. offers payment plans for many of our clients so call today at 407-574-6155
Sean Smallwood is an Orlando divorce attorney for the law firm Sean Smallwood, Orlando Divorce & Family Law P.A. where he represents clients in all areas of family law and divorce. 100% of the practice is devoted to family law. As an attorney in Orlando, he has helped many families with a wide variety of family law cases including Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, and many other issues.