Attorneys who practice in the area of civil litigation are responsible for a myriad of items. For example, an attorney representing a client in civil court must not only be familiar with the relevant state law that is the basis of the impending action, but they must also demonstrate a working knowledge of rules of evidence and civil procedure in order to properly represent their clients before the court. Laws and rules on procedure and evidence change at times, with some standards being amended more often than others. An experienced attorney in the area of civil litigation keeps informed of these changes, as they not only should, but are required to do.
Cases involving parents as opposing parties over the custody of their children present unique issues and difficulties to overcome for everyone involved. Emotions often run high, especially if the custody case is being worked out in the context of a divorce. However, Florida child custody law is set up to encourage parents to work together to design a parenting plan that will enable both parents to share the responsibility of raising their children and to contribute to the care, control, and maintenance of their minor children.
The 2014 legislative session is upon us in Florida, and there is no shortage of issues expected to be addressed. A recent article highlighted some of the key issues that have arisen in the state recently, and gave some insight as to what sort of action Florida citizens can expect from their elected officials concerning each topic.
Topics to be Addressed
Some of the topics especially relevant in the legal field include the following:
Tax cuts: It is well known that the governor’s number one priority this year is to make tax cuts and eliminate some fees – in the amount of $500 million. Members of the legislature are on board with doing away with certain vehicle fees and holding a sales tax holiday during back-to-school time. However, there are a number of other issues associated with the cuts that need to be addressed.
The issue of divorce is something that affects a huge portion of families across America. It is often a sensitive and emotionally charged topic, especially when children are involved. A recent article by Florida Today discussed the potential trend among states to favor custody arrangements in which parents share equal custody. According to the article, lawmakers from states across the country are re-evaluating their child custody laws in light of advocates who say that parents who are divorced should share custody of their children.
Best Interest of the Children
Those who say that shared custody is ideal argue that it is in the best interest of the children to spend an even amount of time with both of their parents. They say that the only situations in which custody should be awarded to one parent are those involving abuse or substance abuse.Read More
The issue of same-sex marriage has been playing out in the media and in the legal arena for years. Now, a number of states are being forced to address the issue by way of hearing and ruling on lawsuits that have been filed by same-sex couples. As reported by the Miami Herald, Florida is no exception.
More specifically, six same-sex couples sued in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for the right to marry. Many of the couples are living together and some have children. They stated that they are aiming to marry in the state in which they live in order to have their relationships recognized in the eyes of the law.
The Plaintiff’s complaint argues that Florida’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage results in a denial of fundamental rights, dignity, and equality, which is supposed to be afforded to all citizens by the United States Constitution.Read More
Far too many families in Florida and throughout the country are affected by domestic violence. Recognizing the damage done by these crimes, the justice system includes a variety of tools to both protect those harmed and punish residents who commit domestic violence. But not all disagreements between family members actually rise to the level of domestic violence as envisioned by the law. It is critical for residents who have questions about this issue to understand the basics of the applicable rules.
The Florida legislature defines “domestic violence” to be “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” When a Florida resident believes they were a victim of domestic violence, an injunction for protection can be sought. In these cases a court orders an abuser to stay away from the harmed family member. Importantly, the victim can be anyone in the household, as the provision is not limited solely to disputes between spouses.Read More
Florida has added over 200 new laws to their books in the last several months. While some had gone into effect in the latter part of 2013, some will begin with the New Year in 2014. Naples News reported on a number of the new laws, and the topics they cover range from sex trafficking to the state of Florida’s foster care program. Notably, also included is an increase in the amount of Florida’s minimum wage from $7.79 per hour to $7.93, which is higher than the federal minimum wage at $7.25.
Some of the new laws taking effect in 2014 include:
- Victims of human-trafficking can get criminal records expunged for crimes committed while they were being threatened, forced, or coerced. Typically the relevant charges would include prostitution. This measure accompanied a previous bill which made it illegal for certain massage businesses to operate between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m.Read More