Mediation is a process that takes place within, not separate from, divorce and family law cases in Florida. Judges may refer all contested family law matters to mediation and they almost always do. There are very few exceptions where Judges do not refer cases to mediation.
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party facilitates a negotiation between the two parties in order to resolve all or some of the issues by agreement. It is often informal, neutral, and is intended to be non-adversarial. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties and their attorneys to resolve any conflicts without a judges’ intervention. But remember, judges usually require parties to go through mediation prior to allowing the parties to have a trial.
A mediation is a confidential event, meaning that all communications during mediation are confidential. What happens at mediation stays at mediation. Participants in a mediation may not later talk about or disclose what was communicated at mediation.
The goal of mediation is to resolve the issues between the parties by agreement and then have the agreement memorialized into a written contract between the parties. Parties are not required to come to an agreement during mediation and failure to agree is referred to as an impasse. Mediation is purely a voluntary process, no one can force anyone to sign an agreement.
While mediation is supposed to be non-adversarial out-of-court process, having an attorney at mediation will improve your chances of coming to a fair settlement. Often times the two parties come to an agreement but do not have the knowledge or skill to fully capture the intent of the agreement in writing. Items may be left out or the agreement may not be enforceable if mistakes are made. A poorly written settlement agreement may cost the parties more in the long run. Consult with an attorney before attending mediation or before signing any settlement agreements. You may be giving up rights you did not even know that you had.
Another rapper is in the news this week regarding child custody disagreements in the midst of a pending divorce. Wiz Khalifa took to Twitter to let the world know that he was not happy with what his current wife Amber Rose was doing with the child.
If you are in the middle of divorce, don’t take to social media to bash your child’s mother. Bad move. You can bet the court will consider those tweets. Wiz has not followed my tip:
Take down all social networking sites, websites, etc. You can go back to enjoying all of your social media sites once the divorce is finalized. But keep in mind that a recent survey of divorce lawyers has shown that social media platforms such as Facebook are becoming central to many divorces and may provide yourself with information that can be twisted and turned against you. The interconnected world we live in makes it very easy to learn all sorts of information about a person. One of the first things I do whenever I get a new divorce case is immediately run Google search of the opposing party. You would be amazed what I have found. There is no reason to make it easy for your spouse’s attorney to access information about you. If you have a blog, Twitter, Google+ Facebook, or any other such web page, take it down immediately. Even if there is nothing particularly damning on it, your spouse may have your password and be able to log into the page and make changes to ruin your reputation. Take control of your life. Consider it the same as locking your front door to avoid tempting your spouse or other persons from entering and wandering around. It is one less thing you will have to worry about.
By now it’s pretty much common knowledge that Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose are no longer an item. After Amber filed for divorce due to the rapper’s alleged cheating ways, she hasn’t shied away from the spotlight at all.
She’s a frequent hot topic on the blog circuit for her racy outfits, but Wiz has opted to keep it lowkey — for the most part. He’s even gone as far as complimenting her after one of her gravity-defying Instagram posts went viral.
But things are beginning to sour between the two and Khalifa doesn’t seem too pleased with her recent behavior concerning their son, Sebastian, according to a series of recent tweets. We’re reading between the Twitter lines here since he doesn’t mention his ex-wife by name, but it’s pretty clear who he’s referring to.
“a woman who would do something to a kid to spite that kids father is a foul creature,” Wiz writes. “Sucks when people try to use that against you but the cool part is figuring out how much self control you have.”
“That” is likely his son, which seems to be stuck in the battle between his parents.
While Amber has yet to react on social media with her own side of the story, something tells us this won’t be the last we hear of these two.
Pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 401.020, a child’s parent has the right to have the name of a child under the age of 18 changed by the district court. However, pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 403.110(1) and (3), there are safeguards to mitigate potential harm to spouses and their children:
This chapter shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes, which are to:
(1) Strengthen and preserve the integrity of marriage and safeguard family relationships;
(2) Promote the amicable settlement of disputes that have arisen between parties to a marriage;
(3) Mitigate the potential harm to the spouses and their children caused by the process of legal dissolution of marriage;
(4) Make reasonable provision for spouse and minor children during and after litigation; and
(5) Make the law of legal dissolution of marriage effective for dealing with the realities of matrimonial experience by making irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship the sole basis for its dissolution.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that having the child bear the father’s last name is important to preserving family relations and the public policy favoring preservation of family relationships outweighs the statutory right to apply for one parent to unilaterally apply for a name change. Any name change of a child will not only be reviewed under the “best interests of the child” standard; but requires the parent requesting the name change to prove through ‘clear and convincing’ proof that the name change will promote the best interests of a child or children. The high burden of proof is necessary in order to balance a natural father’s protectable right to have his children bear his name, against what is best for the child or children.
Even in cases where the child has expressed a desire to have both her father’s surname and her mother’s new surname; the court has stood firm. The fact that a proposed name would include the father’s surname does not exempt it from the grounds established by the supreme court. The father had the right to have the child bear his name to the exclusion of all others.
Most people believe that the obligation to pay child support ends when a child turns 18. While the age of majority is 18, child support does not always terminate just because a child turns 18.
Child support terminates when the order requiring the payment of the child support dictates payments must end. Kentucky Statutes state that unless there is a written agreement stating when child support will end or unless the termination is provided in a court order/divorce decree, child support will be terminated when the child turns 18 unless the child is a high school student. If the child turns 18 while still in high school, the child support will continue until the end of the school year or until the child turns 19.
If a child is emancipated due to marriage instead of age, the child support obligation ends on the date emancipation. The obligation to pay back child support does not terminate.
The statute referenced above is as follows:
Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the decree, provisions for the support of a child shall be terminated by emancipation of the child unless the child is a high school student when he reaches the age of eighteen (18). In cases where the child becomes emancipated because of age, but not due to marriage, while still a high school student, the court-ordered support shall continue while the child is a high school student, but not beyond completion of the school year during which the child reaches the age of nineteen (19) years. Provisions for the support of the child shall not be terminated by the death of a parent obligated to support the child. If a parent obligated to pay support dies, the amount of support may be modified, revoked, or commuted to a lump-sum payment, to the extent just and appropriate in the circumstances. Emancipation of the child shall not terminate the obligation of child support arrearages that accrued while the child was an unemancipated minor.
A qualified marital and family law attorney can review a child support order to determine whether child support will automatically terminate upon certain circumstances. Such an attorney can also assist with an application for modification of support. Please contact the Ken Turner Law Firm if we can be of assistance to you.