Section 61.401, Florida Statutes

Appointment of guardian ad litem.—In an action for dissolution of marriage or for the creation, approval, or modification of a parenting plan, if the court finds it is in the best interest of the child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate. The court in its discretion may also appoint legal counsel for a child to act as attorney or advocate; however, the guardian and the legal counsel shall not be the same person. In such actions which involve an allegation of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect as defined in s. 39.01, which allegation is verified and determined by the court to be well-founded, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. The guardian ad litem shall be a party to any judicial proceeding from the date of the appointment until the date of discharge.

For the latest version of this statute, visit http://www.leg.state.fl.us.

Section 61.30, Florida Statutes

Child support guidelines; retroactive child support.—

(1)

(a)The child support guideline amount as determined by this section presumptively establishes the amount the trier of fact shall order as child support in an initial proceeding for such support or in a proceeding for modification of an existing order for such support, whether the proceeding arises under this or another chapter. The trier of fact may order payment of child support which varies, plus or minus 5 percent, from the guideline amount, after considering all relevant factors, including the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent. The trier of fact may order payment of child support in an amount which varies more than 5 percent from such guideline amount only upon a written finding explaining why ordering payment of such guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate. Notwithstanding the variance limitations of this section, the trier of fact shall order payment of child support which varies from the guideline amount as provided in paragraph (11)(b) whenever any of the children are required by court order or mediation agreement to spend a substantial amount of time with either parent. This requirement applies to any living arrangement, whether temporary or permanent. Read more

Section 61.29, Florida Statutes

Child support guidelines; principles.—The following principles establish the public policy of the State of Florida in the creation of the child support guidelines:

(1)Each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child.

(2)The guidelines schedule is based on the parent’s combined net income estimated to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and children were living in an intact household.

(3)The guidelines encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and minimizes the need for litigation.

For the latest version of this statute, visit http://www.leg.state.fl.us.

Section 61.21, Florida Statutes

Parenting course authorized; fees; required attendance authorized; contempt.—

(1)LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; PURPOSE.—It is the finding of the Legislature that:

(a)A large number of children experience the separation or divorce of their parents each year. Parental conflict related to divorce is a societal concern because children suffer potential short-term and long-term detrimental economic, emotional, and educational effects during this difficult period of family transition. This is particularly true when parents engage in lengthy legal conflict.

(b)Parents are more likely to consider the best interests of their children when determining parental arrangements if courts provide families with information regarding the process by which courts make decisions on issues affecting their children and suggestions as to how parents may ease the coming adjustments in family structure for their children. Read more

Section 61.20, Florida Statutes

Social investigation and recommendations regarding a parenting plan.—

(1)In any action where the parenting plan is at issue because the parents are unable to agree, the court may order a social investigation and study concerning all pertinent details relating to the child and each parent when such an investigation has not been done and the study therefrom provided to the court by the parties or when the court determines that the investigation and study that have been done are insufficient. The agency, staff, or person conducting the investigation and study ordered by the court pursuant to this section shall furnish the court and all parties of record in the proceeding a written study containing recommendations, including a written statement of facts found in the social investigation on which the recommendations are based. The court may consider the information contained in the study in making a decision on the parenting plan, and the technical rules of evidence do not exclude the study from consideration. Read more

Section 61.191, Florida Statutes

Application.—

(1)This act applies to all proceedings commenced on or after July 1, 1971. However, pending actions for divorce are deemed to have been commenced on the bases provided in s. 61.052, and evidence as to such bases for dissolution of marriage after July 1, 1971, shall be in compliance with this act.

(2)This act applies to all proceedings commenced after July 1, 1971, for the modification of a judgment or order entered prior to July 1, 1971.

(3)In any action or proceeding in which an appeal was pending or a new trial was ordered prior to July 1, 1971, the law in effect at the time of the order sustaining the appeal or the new trial governs the appeal, the new trial, and any subsequent trial or appeal.

For the latest version of this statute, visit http://www.leg.state.fl.us.

Section 61.19, Florida Statutes

Entry of judgment of dissolution of marriage, delay period.—No final judgment of dissolution of marriage may be entered until at least 20 days have elapsed from the date of filing the original petition for dissolution of marriage; but the court, on a showing that injustice would result from this delay, may enter a final judgment of dissolution of marriage at an earlier date.

For the latest version of this statute, visit http://www.leg.state.fl.us.

Section 61.183, Florida Statutes

Mediation of certain contested issues.—

(1)In any proceeding in which the issues of parental responsibility, primary residence, access to, visitation with, or support of a child are contested, the court may refer the parties to mediation in accordance with rules promulgated by the Supreme Court. In Title IV-D cases, any costs, including filing fees, recording fees, mediation costs, service of process fees, and other expenses incurred by the clerk of the circuit court, shall be assessed only against the nonprevailing obligor after the court makes a determination of the nonprevailing obligor’s ability to pay such costs and fees. Read more

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Section 61.1827, Florida Statutes

Identifying information concerning applicants for and recipients of child support services.—

(1)Any information that reveals the identity of applicants for or recipients of child support services, including the name, address, and telephone number of such persons, held by a non-Title IV-D county child support enforcement agency is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a) of Art. I of the State Constitution. The use or disclosure of such information by the non-Title IV-D county child support enforcement agency is limited to the purposes directly connected with:

(a)Any investigation, prosecution, or criminal or civil proceeding connected with the administration of any non-Title IV-D county child support enforcement program; Read more