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Family Law
We have provided representation throughout the State of Florida, and advised, counseled and represented clients across the country whose cases originated in or been transferred to local venues. We handle all family law matters. Our professional advocacy is for all our Clients, regardless of whether they are the Petitioner or the Respondent of a Family Law matter. This diversity helps to focus our thinking on all matters relating to family law and eliminates many of philosophical and ethical problems which occur from consistently representing only a husband or a wife. We are proud of the commitment that our office has to our clients.
Mr. Fousek is on the Lee County Guardian Ad Litem Committee and is available to serve as the guardian in your case.  With Mr. Fousek's investigative background, he can determine all of the issues in your case in a full and fair way, so that the Judge in your case has complete information to base his/her decision upon.  Guardians can help the Court to determine the truth in your case.  In many cases, both parents make claims against the other  parent to better situate their position with the Court and the only way the Court can know the truth is through the use of a guardian ad litem.
Children are our most precious resource. We must protect them from undue hurt and turmoil. One of the most difficult and painful parts of a dissolution of marriage concerns the children. You should remember that in a dissolution action, you are ending your marriage to your spouse. Neither of you are ending your relationship with your children. You will no longer be husband and wife, but you will always remain a father and mother to your children.
Divorce is a major personal crisis for adults and children. The stress can produce physical symptoms as well as behavioral and emotional problems. Children of different ages may react differently to divorce — from irritability in infants to drug use in adolescents. Recognizing the signs of trouble early and helping children deal with them may prevent serious future problems. You and your spouse can work out the parenting issues, avoid or minimize the harm to the children and avoid a court fight. However, if you are unable to resolve these issues, the court must decide them for you.
WHEN PARENTS ARE NOT TOGETHER, Remember the Children still have rights.
     Every kid has rights, particularly when mom and dad are splitting up. Below are some things parents shouldn’t forget -- and kids shouldn’t let them --when the family is in the midst of a break-up.
     Kids have the right to love both your parents. Kids also have the right to be loved by both of them. That means they shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to see their dad or your mom at any time. It’s important for them to have both parents in their life, particularly during difficult times such as a break-up of their parents.
     They do not have to choose one parent over the other. If they have an opinion about which parent you want to live with, they should let it be known. But nobody can force them to make that choice. If the Parties can’t work it out, a judge may make the decision for them.
     They are entitled to all the feelings they are having. Don’t let them be embarrassed by what they are feeling. It is scary when parents break up, and they are allowed to be scared. Or angry. Or sad. Or whatever.
     They have the right to be in a safe environment. This means that nobody is allowed to put them in danger, either physically or emotionally. If one of their parents is hurting them, they should tell someone -- either the other parent or a trusted adult like a teacher. This does not mean to make up things or for one parent to try to use this as a way to gain an advantage over the other.
     Kids don’t belong in the middle of their parents’ break-up. Sometimes parents may get so caught up in their own problems that they forget that their children are just kids, and that they can’t handle their adult worries. If they start putting the kids in the middle of their dispute, the children need to remind them that it’s their fight, not theirs.
     Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are still part of your childrens' life. Even if the children are living with one parent, they still have the right to see relatives on the non custodial parent’s side. They will always be a part of their lives, even if the Parties aren’t together anymore.
     Kids have the right to be a child. Kids shouldn’t worry about adult problems. They should concentrate their school work, their friends, activities, etc. The Parties (both parties) just need their childrens' love. They can handle the rest.
----Special Concerns of Children Committee, Florida, March, 1998 (Modified from the original format to allow parents to relate)
The former law in Florida was the concept of shared parental responsibility, which provided a framework for effective co-parenting. It is the current public policy of the State of Florida to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing through Parenting Plans.   Parenting Plans , like shared parental responsibility before them, is a court ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities and in which both parents confer with each other, so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the children will be determined jointly.  The parenting plan contains all the information for visitation, contact with each parent and their extended family members.  The concept of parenting plan is intended to protect the children's right to an ongoing relationship with both parents and to give the parents a guide to dealing with the other parent on issues that arise in child rearing.
Parenting Plans are a positive alternative for handling the restructure of a divorced family. However, when there is child abuse, family violence, or continuous parental conflict, the court may find that shared parenting in a parenting plan would be harmful to the children. In such a case, the court may order a parenting plan, where only one parent makes decisions regarding the children and no time sharing with the offending parent. If the court finds that both parents are unfit, it can award custody of the children to a third party or the state could take custody of the children for their safety.
Florida's public policy is to ensure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after separation and divorce. Among the decisions that parents will need to make is how the children's time will be shared between the parents. If the children live most of the time with one parent, that parent used to be called the "primary residential parent." The other parent was often called the "secondary residential parent."   Under the Parenting Plan structure now in effect in Florida, neither parent is designated "residential Parent."  Under Florida law, the father is given the same consideration as the mother in determining primary residence for the children, but for the most part, it is simply a time sharing schedule which allows the children to spend more time with one parent than the other and is intended to not prejudice the rights of the parent who has less time sharing than the other.
The time spent with both parents now is referred to as time sharing," or "parenting" schedules are the most commonly used terms. The schedule can be as flexible or structured as is needed for your family. For some families, nearly equal time sharing may work well. If the parents cannot agree on a time sharing schedule, the court must decide, considering the following factors:
   The parent who is more likely to allow the children frequent contact with the other parent.
   The love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the children and each parent. It is important for the children to maintain these ties if they are to reach their          
   maximum potential.
   The devotion of the parent to the best interest of the children.
   A child should not be used as a pawn or a weapon.
   The ability and desire of each parent to provide food, clothing, shelter, and other needs of the children.
   The willingness to provide is more important than the ability, since
   the court can order child support.
   The court will also consider: (a) the stability of each proposed home; (b) the success the children have enjoyed in each home; (c) the morals of each parent; (d) the physical
   and emotional health of each parent; and (e) the reasonable preference of the children, if the court finds that they are mature enough to express an opinion. The court will
   also consider any other relevant factors.
   (Taken from the Florida Bar Consumer Pamphlets)
Each parent has the responsibility of making day-to-day decisions regarding the children's care, maintenance and welfare while the children are in his or her care. The parents consult with one another on questions related to religious upbringing, discipline, financial matters, moral training, social and recreational activities, and non-emergency medical and dental care. Each parent takes an active role in providing a sound moral, social, economic and educational environment for the children and in amicably resolving any disputes that arise.
The parents should at all times conduct themselves and their activities in a way that will promote the welfare and best interests of the children.
Each parent must notify the other parent promptly of any serious illness or accident affecting the children.
Each parent has access to records and information pertaining to the minor children, including but not limited to medical, dental, and school records.
Both parents are entitled to authorize emergency medical treatment for the children.
Both parents have an affirmative duty under Florida law to promote a good relationship between the children and the other parent. Both parents must attempt to insure that the children have unhampered contact and free access with both parents. If either parent plans to move to a new location, the children's right to frequent and continuing contact and access with both parents must be considered.
Neither parent may do anything to hamper the natural development of the children's love and respect for the other parent. Each parent must make all reasonable efforts to encourage and facilitate communication between the other parent and the children — in person, by telephone, and through the mail. Neither parent should do anything that would estrange the children from the other parent or that would injure the children's opinion of either parent.
Tips for Parents:
1. Tell your children that you love them and will always love them.
2. Tell your children mom and dad will always take care of them.
3. Assure your children mom and dad will always be their parents, even though they may not be married any more.
4. Comfort your children. Tell them there will be happy times and sad times, but soon we will all be happier.
5. Tell your children the truth about what is happening in age-appropriate language.
6. Tell your children you want to know how they feel and their feelings are important to both mom and dad.
7. Share your feelings with your children without expecting them to solve your problems.
8. Work on a relationship with your former spouse for the children's sake. Although the marriage has failed, the divorce can be successful.
9. Maintain an active relationship with your children. Remember, you are the adult.
10. Keep promises to your children and be on time. Children of all ages need security.
11. Do fun things together with your children.
12. Let your children know mom and dad each have a home. Tell them they will have a place in both homes.
13. Tell them and show them you love your children.
14. Don't question children after their visits with the other parent.
15. Don't force your children to make adult decisions, such as who to invite to a graduation ceremony or a birthday party.
16. Never lie to your children.
17. Don't drop out of your children's lives. They will always need you.
18. Don't expect children to readily accept changes in their lives without considering their feelings too.
The above is not legal advice. That can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant law. See Terms of Use on our home page.