Family Law

Family Law encompasses several matters from dissolution of marriage (divorce), modification and/or enforcement of child support, paternity, domestic violence, and many more family-related issues. Being involved in a family law matter can be one of the most difficult periods of one's life. At Barbara Leach Law, we are sensitive to each client's personal circumstances and do our best to meet each individual's needs in their difficult, and, at times, confusing time.


How do I know if I'm entitled to alimony?


The Court's decision to award alimony is based upon several factors including the financial resources, education, and employment opportunities of each party.


Is there more than one type of alimony?

Yes. Listed below are the different types of alimony with brief descriptions of each:


Permanent Alimony: This type of alimony is exactly how it sounds - an alimony award that is to be paid periodically and permanently by the paying party. Two factors that the Court considers when determining permanent alimony are the duration of the marriage and any disparity between the parties' income.


Lump Sum Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded as a one-time payment of a specific amount.


Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded in order to provide a party with the ability to become self-supporting by attaining the necessary education and/or skills needed to find a supportive job. The related costs for the education or training are considered when determining rehabilitative alimony.


Bridge the Gap Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded in order to assist a party in the transition from a marriage to being single for costs such as finding a job, moving expenses, new rental expenses, furniture, etc. This type of alimony is usually short-term and temporary.


What is a Parenting Plan?


A Parenting Plan is a written document that is agreed upon by both parties and entered by the Court which explicitly determines how the co-parenting of a child, or children, will be done between two (2) divorced or unmarried parents.  It is a tool for parents to use to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings and by which they can resolve disagreements.  There is almost always a Parenting Plan entered in a Paternity or Dissolution of Marriage action in which children are involved.


How does the Court determine the amount of child support?


Child support is determined by the income of both parents, the number of children entitled to support, and the amount of time each parent will be spending with the child(ren), pursuant to the Parenting Plan.  The Florida Child Support Guidelines give a basis for the calculation of the amount of support for which each parent is responsible.  The Child Support Guidelines use the numbers reported in each parent's Financial Affidavit, which is required by both parties in ALL child support proceedings, to calculate the monthly child support obligation of the paying party.  In unique situations, one can request to deviate from the Child Support Guidelines mentioned above, but ordinarily, the Court follows the amounts calculated by the Guidelines.


What does "paternity" mean in the Court's language?


Paternity is what needs to be established in order for the Court to rule on a party's right or responsibility to see or support a child.  In a situation where the parties were not married but have a child together, the Court must determine paternity.  Paternity can be determined as a matter of law when a party is listed on the child's birth certificate.  Otherwise, it can be established by an agreement between both parties that the parties engaged in intercourse which resulted in the child's birth.  In the event that both parties do not agree to the paternity, a paternity test could be administered.

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