Family Law

FAMILY LAW PRACTICE AREAS

DIVORCE

Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences one can face.  Not only may a person be faced with emotional pain and loss, but one is also often faced with confusing and stressful legal matters regarding division of marital property, responsibility for financial liabilities, spousal support, parenting time, and support for minor children.

Uncontested Divorce

A divorce proceeding can be much quicker and simpler when the parties can reach a mutually agreeable resolution with regard to every item at issue in the dissolution of their marriage.  When the parties can agree on parenting time, support, property division and responsibility for financial liabilities, and there are no issues left to be decided by the court, a divorce attorney can draft the appropriate documents, file them with the court, and finalize the divorce within between 30 and 60 days in most cases.

Contested Divorce

While many divorces can be resolved by agreement of the parties, sometimes parties simply cannot agree on everything.  When issues are contested, usually the court will direct the parties to mediation to attempt to resolve matters.  If, after mediation the parties are still at odds with regard to one or more issues, then the court will schedule a final hearing to determine outstanding issues between the parties.  During the proceedings, there may also be hearings held for temporary relief sought by the parties.  The result is that contested divorces take significantly longer to conclude and are much more costly than uncontested divorces.  Attorney Bill Johnson has been an effective advocate for parties in contested divorce matters since 1998 in Florida and since 1997 in Georgia.

If you are facing the prospect of divorce please contact the law office of William Blake Johnson, P.A. at (904) 477-3518 (Florida) or (912) 588-9399 (Georgia) for a free consultation.

DETERMINATION OF PATERNITY

Attorney Bill Johnson represents both mothers and fathers in paternity cases in Florida and Georgia.  Paternity must be established by the court, regardless of whether a father signed the birth certificate of a child born out of wedlock.

Establishment of Paternity

To establish paternity of a child born out of wedlock, a woman who is pregnant or has had a child, or a man who believes he is the father of the child, may file a petition with the court to determine paternity where paternity has not been established.  In such a proceeding, the court may require the mother, father and child to submit to biological testing.  If such paternity is determined, the father must then pay child support, but he also acquires parental time-sharing rights.

A man who believes he is the biological father of a child born out of wedlock may file a claim of paternity of the child with the Florida Putative Father Registry at any time prior to the child's birth.  Such a claim cannot be filed after a petition to terminate his parental rights has been filed with the court, so failure to do so may result in termination of parental rights.

Disestablishment of Paternity

When a child is born to a mother during a marriage, the husband is presumed to be the legal father of the child, and has the paternal rights in the child as well the legal duty of support for the child unless the legal presumption of paternity is refuted in court proceedings.  To disestablish paternity, a petition and affidavit must be served upon the mother or other legal guardian of the child asserting the existence of newly discovered evidence to support that he is not the biological father.  The father must also provide biological testing to support the disestablishment of paternity.

If you believe you have a reason to file an action to establish or disestablish paternity of a child, please contact the law office of William Blake Johnson, P.A. at (904) 477-3518 (Florida) or (912) 588-9399 (Georgia) for a free consultation. 

PARENTAL CHILD CUSTODY AND TIME-SHARING

Parental child custody and parental time sharing is set forth in a document filed with the court called a Parenting Plan.  Parenting Plans are established by the court in divorce cases and paternity cases and, for sufficient reason, can sometimes be modified by the court.  A Parenting Plan typically sets forth the ways in which each parent shares in the daily schedules of children, the sharing of vacations, holidays, weekends and other days by the parents, which parent provides health insurance coverage, which parent makes the daily medical, educational, activity and other decisions regarding the children, the address for school registration purposes, and communication guidelines.

There are many legal issues involved in determining whether a Parenting Plan already established by the court can be modified.  There also exist many legal issues regarding the relocation of a parent.

If you believe there are substantial reasons why an established Parenting Plan should be modified, or if you are a parent with an issue regarding your desired relocation or the relocation of the other parent,  please contact the law office of William Blake Johnson, P.A. at (904) 477-3518 (Florida) or (912) 588-9399 (Georgia) for a free consultation. 

CHILD SUPPORT

Establishment/Modification

Parents of a child who live separately are both responsible for supporting the child financially.  Child support payments are based on a formula using the income of each parent, respective parental time-sharing, child care expenses, and health insurance expenses.  Other factors may apply on a case by case basis.  It is important for purposes of determining appropriate child support that the applicable income and applicable expense information for both parties is accurate.  Attorney Bill Johnson will represent your interest, and help you to be confident that you are receiving or paying the correct amount, as the case may be, as determined by law.

There are instances when established child support can be increased or decreased.  Usually substantial changes in income and/or parental time-sharing are required for a post-judgment modification of child support, and it is required that these substantial changes were unanticipated at the time of the judgment.

Enforcement

If a parent is ordered to pay child support, either through a final divorce judgment, a judgment establishing paternity, or any other order establishing child support, and fails to do so, this office can file a petition to enforce payment.  Attorney Bill Johnson will aggressively pursue enforcement of child support payments, and all legal remedies available to you.

If you have an issue regarding child support establishment, modification or enforcement, please contact the law office of William Blake Johnson, P.A. at (904) 477-3518 (Florida) or (912) 588-9399 (Georgia) for a free consultation.