FAQs

Summerfield Law FAQs

Marriage, legitimacy, adoption, child abuse, divorce, annulment, property division, alimony, parental responsibility, child custody and visitation, are some of the areas.

In the past, family lawyers were expected to advocate for the client at any cost. There is a movement supported by many family law attorneys and judges to use constructive conflict resolution that protects the parties, especially children.

This is referred to as “constructive advocacy” and promotes the client’s best interest, meaning the well-being of children, family peace, and economic stability.

Courts increasingly disfavor the use of terms like “winner” and “loser” in the family court process.

A divorce process where all parties are committed to negotiating through the process, rather than having the court determine issues. Each party may have their own attorney, but experts may be jointly hired if both parties agree. Many collaborative divorces involve mental health professionals to assist the parties through the process.

There is agreement that the parties will not take advantage of each other, move assets, cancel insurance policies or place assets at risk. Additionally, the parties agree to communicate in a civil and constructive manner.

Collaborative divorces are generally considered to be less stressful and easier than traditional divorces.

The divorce rate among Christians is about the same as non-believers. Christians should have access to a divorce process that is peaceful, thoughtful, and protects the emotional interests of everyone involved.

Christ taught to be in the world, not of the world. The world is a fallen place; when Christians experience difficult life situations, they should have access to those who can assist them and show Christ’s love in the process.

Divorce does not need to destroy lives. It is a painful process and those who are involved should have peaceful alternatives.

A Christian attorney understands the importance of the parties’ faith and can assist them in obtaining spiritual and emotional guidance outside of the legal field.

Adoption is a legal process where a child is permanently separated from his or her birth parents and relatives and transferred into a new family. The new family is responsible for the care and guidance of the child from that point on.

The adoption processes includes choosing an adoption agency, orientation, several interviews, a home visit, medical examinations, reference checks, payment of fees, and celebration.

To adopt a child, you must be an adult, live and work in Florida, exhibit good character, and have the means to care for a child you may adopt. Single adults, as well as married couples, may adopt. A stepparent may adopt his or her spouse’s children.

Florida recognizes adoptions facilitated by an adoption agency, an adoption intermediary (attorney), a step-parent adoption, a close relative, and an adult adoption. Each type of adoption has a unique procedure.

In order for a parent to surrender their child for adoption, here must be proof that the parents wish to terminate the biological relationship forever.  This proof is usually accomplished by legal consent.
Alternatively, a court must hear proof that the parent has abused, abandoned or neglected the child or otherwise failed to protect their parental rights under Florida law.

There are exceptions when an unmarried biological father is involved. He must register his paternity with Florida’s Putative Father Registry; otherwise, the court will not require his consent before proceeding to complete an adoption plan.

An unmarried biological father must register his paternity prior to the filing of a petition to terminate his rights or within 30 days of service of a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan.

Most stepparent adoptions result from an absent parent. The parent may be absent because he or she is deceased, has abandoned the child or children, or has not maintained a relationship with the child or children.

Sometimes a parent consents to the adoption believing it to be in the child’s best interest. If the other parent has regular contact with the child and will not consent to adoption, Florida law will generally not allow a stepparent adoption to proceed.

The adoption documents are filed in the Circuit Court in the county where the stepparent resides. Once this process is finalized by the Court, the adopted child will receive a new birth certificate, showing the new parent listed on the birth certificate, and also showing the child’s new name.

When only a few issues stand between you and a well-negotiated collaborative (less expensive, less destructive) divorce, unbundled services can make an enormous difference in what you pay for your divorce. Imagine having a tire that wiggles and creates a harsh ride and being told that you need to replace the drivetrain, all the tires, and the steering system to get the job done right, or perhaps, just a new high quality tire will do.

That is the typical attitude many in the legal profession take when “handling” a divorce case. Our preference is not to “handle” your divorce case but to help you get through it to the other side, regaining control of your life and nurturing your family back to some semblance of “normalcy.” Often in any divorce action, only a few “cornerstone” issues stand in the way of a genuinely collaborative divorce.

To preserve your funds and minimize the emotional damage inflicted by the divorce process, we encourage using our “unbundled” legal services. Another term might be “a la carte.” For instance, let’s say your former spouse agrees on the division of assets & debts and on time-sharing between homes with the children. Still, one party believes that they are entitled to long-term alimony while the other is prepared only to provide “bridge the gap” alimony. Using unbundled services, Summerfield Law Office can represent you in the Alimony dispute while simply assisting in codifying (writing down) what you do agree on.

This is far less expensive than litigating the entire divorce, simply because there are a few key areas in which you don’t agree with your former spouse.