Fort Walton Beach, FL based ASG Legal is recommending that the community learn more about recent changes to the state's laws, specifically those regarding child custody and alimony. Given the wide-ranging impact these changes are expected to have, the firm seeks to share their perspective to help people learn how they may be impacted.
The first change the firm wishes to discuss is a new bill that aims to keep children safe during custody battles. Signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, “Greyson’s Law” went into effect on July 1, and it will oblige family courts to consider whether threats made against ex-partners or spouses constitute an ongoing threat to the children involved, when establishing parenting plans and time-sharing schedules.
ASG Legal points out that courts will consider whether the child is at high risk of a variety of abuses, including physical or sexual violence, neglect, abandonment and more. Previously, the Florida statute gave courts some direction when making such decisions, but the new bill has laid the groundwork for a more structured approach that will help the involved parties develop a parenting plan that emphasizes the child’s safety.
As a firm whose practice areas include divorce and family law, ASG Legal has worked with numerous families to help courts determine child custody and visitation. They explain that child custody in the state of Florida is considered in terms of Parental Responsibility and Timesharing. Both terms are descriptive of the areas they cover.
Prior to Greyson’s Law, the firm says certain circumstances may have given courts cause to have timesharing be supervised by a third party. This may have been prompted by the involvement of domestic violence, illegal drugs and so on. From now on, the firm expects that other factors may be considered as well, including threats, harassment and more. This would also give attorneys more avenues to pursue during custody hearings if a child’s safety is in question. ASG Legal invites interested parties to get in touch if they would like to learn more. Click To View the Company Facebook Page.
Gov. DeSantis also signed into law substantial changes to Florida’s time-sharing statute. There is now a presumption of equal time-sharing, meaning that parents spend equal amounts of time with their children. Previously, judges were required to evaluate multiple statutory factors when creating or modifying a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule, but there was no assumed starting point regarding the amount of time parents should spend with their children. Now, judges are required to evaluate those same factors but should start from the premise that parents should have equal time with their children.
In addition to creating a presumption of equal time-sharing, Florida law now makes it easier for parents to modify prior parenting plans. Previously, a parent seeking to modify a prior parenting plan would need to show that there had been a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances since the entry of the last court order. Now, parents only have to show a substantial and material change of circumstances; the requirement that the change be unanticipated has been removed.
Gov. DeSantis has also signed a measure that introduces broad changes to the state’s alimony laws. One change may be of interest to certain parties as it essentially removes ‘permanent alimony.’ The push to remove permanent alimony has been highly contested for some time, with heated debate going back several years. In fact, Gov. DeSantis previously vetoed a similar bill only a year ago, and former Gov. Rick Scott also vetoed two bills that had comparable objectives.
However, the elimination of permanent alimony is not the only change the bill makes. It has also codified a process by which ex-spouses who make alimony payments will be able to request adjustments to their alimony agreements when they reach retirement. Judges receiving such requests will be able to determine whether alimony (or support or maintenance payments) should be reduced or terminated outright, based on several factors related to the parties involved.
ASG Legal says the condition and lifestyle of both parties will be considered. This may include the economic impact on the recipient of the alimony as well as the paying party’s age, health and even the motivation for them seeking retirement (judges will also consider whether they are likely to return to work in the future). There may be a trend tied to each industry as well, since one prominent factor that will be considered is the typical retirement age of the paying party’s occupation. However, this remains to be seen.
Clients are welcome to contact the firm if they believe the recent legal changes will have an impact on a potential or ongoing case, they are involved in, and can request a consultation with ASG Legal’s Michael Goodson, who is a Board-Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law. ASG Legal can be reached via phone or email, and clients may visit the firm’s offices at 909 Mar Walt Dr # 1014, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547.
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909 Mar Walt Drive, Suite 1014
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547-6711