Zachary A. VanDyke, PA
Panama City Attorney
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child custody and support Archives

Why courts focus on the best interests of the child

It is not uncommon while going through divorce proceedings involving children to hear the courts talk about the best interests of the children. While the philosophy of course sounds noble, it is inherently vague. What exactly is meant by the "best interests of the child" and how can this philosophy in court affect decisions such as child custody, child support and even property division?

Denying access to your child: A mistake to avoid

When you have a child in your custody but also have a parenting plan you're supposed to follow, the last thing the court wants to see is your refusing visitation to the other parent. Unless there are extreme circumstances, like situations involving abuse, there is no reason you should violate a court order.

Reasonable and fixed visitation

When two parents in Florida decide to end their relationship, it can be a very emotional time not only for them, but also for any children they have. While sometimes a parenting plan can be reached out of court, other times the parents need to turn to a judge to issue a child custody and visitation order. In general, there are two types of visitation: reasonable visitation and fixed visitation.

When may a child support order in Florida be reviewed?

In Florida, the amount of child support a noncustodial parent pays is based on each parent's income, as well as the child's needs. However, as time marches on, a person's situation changes. For example, either the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent may lose his or her job -- or, conversely, get a raise and a promotion. Or perhaps the noncustodial parent has suffered an injury or illness and is unable to work. Or, it simply could be that as the child grows up his or her financial needs change. What it took financially to raise a toddler may not be the same as what it takes financially to raise a teenager.

Helping parents create a parenting plan after a divorce

When two people in Panama City go through a divorce, they experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Of course, there may be sadness that the union didn't last, but there may also be relief to be free from a broken marriage. Similarly, when a child's parent's divorce, it is also an emotional time for the child, especially if the child's parents are hostile towards one another. Therefore, parents who are pursuing a divorce should try to stay amicable, as they may both still be responsible for parenting together even after the divorce is over.

Fathers, here are some facts about joint custody and your rights

You were shocked when your wife decided she wanted to get a divorce, and you immediately felt threatened. You have a family, two children you love, and you thought everything was fine. Now, you're worried that she'll win custody and get alimony, stripping you of your financial independence and taking away your children.

What factors are considered in parental relocation cases?

Parents in Florida, even if they are no longer in a relationship, want to retain a meaningful relationship with their child. However, one's life circumstances may change, leading one parent to desire to move away, which could affect theircurrent parenting plan. If one parent wants to relocate with the child and the other parent contests it, the court will be responsible for deciding whether or not to approve the relocation. When doing so, the following factors will be considered.

Complicated custody dispute involves biological father's rights

When a Florida couple shares a child and is no longer together, visitation rights can be among the most complicated issues that they will face. Not only do the parents want to see the child and play a key role in his or her development, but they also want to adhere to the best interests of the child. Normally, the couple will either come to an agreement on a parenting plan or the court will help for one to be formulated. In certain cases, however, there will be a custody dispute. Some are more complicated than others. Regardless, having legal help is an imperative.

What are important points about child relocation in Florida?

When Florida parents are no longer together as a couple, it is not unusual for the custodial parent to want to relocate with the child. With relocation, the principal residence of the person who has custody of the child will change from what it was at the time of the previous agreement for time-sharing or the pending action to establish or modify the time-sharing agreement.


Zachary A. Vandyke, P.A.
502 Harmon Ave
Panama City, FL 32401

Phone: 850-851-0864
Fax: 850-215-6459
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