Divorce and Family Law
Hiring a Family Law Attorney:
The hiring of an attorney for your family law case is an important decision and one that should not be based upon advertisements alone. Give us a call and we will be happy to discuss our qualifications with you. Charles Scott has been practicing marital and family law in Pinellas County, Florida since 1993 and we recognize how important and difficult a time this is in our clients’ lives. We aggressively represent our clients with compassion, confidentiality, and dedication to protecting your rights.
We represent individuals in the following family law cases:
Family Law in St. Petersburg Today
We utilize the latest technology and techniques in representing our Family Law cases, including computerized legal research, online public records for instant access to court dockets, scientific DNA paternity testing, professional mediators, psychological evaluations, expert witnesses, home studies, and custody evaluators. These state of the art techniques, where appropriate, allow us to litigate family law issues using scientific, quantitative, and qualitative techniques rather than legal arguments alone.
We offer a free half hour consultation on any of the above family law matters. During the consultation we will review your legal matter, discuss your rights and the options available to resolve those issues. If you have been served with a petition (lawsuit), you are required to file an answer within twenty days of being served. In many cases, it is appropriate to file a counter petition setting forth your side of the case. There are many options to settle a family law case, including mediation prior to trial. During the consultation, we will also discuss the legal fees and costs estimated for your particular case.
Child support in Florida is based upon Florida Child Support guidelines contained in Florida Statutes Section 61. Child support is calculated based upon the income of the mother and father, after tax (take home pay), and is arrived at using a “Child Support Guidelines Worksheet” and the child support table contained in Section 61. The Child support calculation may include day care expenses and health insurance if appropriate. There may be reductions in child support if you are already paying child support on another child, or if you have dependent children living in your household, or if the child in questions spends a significant amount of time living with you.
Parental Responsibility and Custody
In Florida, most courts award shared parental responsibility, which means that each parent has a voice in raising the children, in making important decisions pertaining to the children, and in sharing information about the children. The term custody has been removed from Florida Law for the most part and replaced with “parenting plan”. The parties are now required to prepare a detailed parenting plan in accordance with a Florida Supreme Court form. The parenting plan outlines the time sharing arrangement for the children and covers daily, and weekly time sharing in addition to holidays, birthdays, and other special days.
In cases involving minor children, Florida Statutes section 61.21 requires parents to attend a parenting class called “children and divorce” for divorcing and separating parents who have minor children. The focus is on the concerns parents have regarding their decisions to divorce, and the impact this process will have on their children. Parents have the opportunity to learn effective ways of communicating with each other and to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children. This course is mandatory and both parties must provide a certificate of completion of this course before a final hearing may be set in your case.
Pro Se Litigants
Often clients ask for direction on how to represent themselves in their family law case. The free famliy law consultation is not intended to give you advice on how to represent yourself, however. Scott and Fenderson offers document preparation services for prose litigants who cannot afford a lawyer. For those who wish to represent themselves in court, we can assisst you in the preparation of all necessary forms and pleadings at a cost comparable to paralegal services. The difference is that your forms will be prepared by a lawyer and not a paralegal service. Our forms are drafted by attorneys and not simply fill-in-the-blank or check-the-box type forms like those use by paralegal services. If you choose to represent your self in court, you should be aware that paralegal services do not include appearances in court by a lawyer.
If you or a loved one needs legal representation in matters regarding Family Law, call the St. Petersburg Family Law Attorneys at Scott and Fenderson PLLC today at 727-321-0099, or submit the case evaluation form and we will be happy to discuss your case with you. The consultation is free and you will speak with a lawyer, not a paralegal or intake specialist.