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Family Law Attorneys Helping You Navigate Your Case

Our Practice of Family Law & Domestic Relations Includes:


Dissolution of Marriage

Child Support

Modifications of Agreements

Contempt of Court

Step-Parent Adoptions

Termination of Parental Rights

Protective Injunctions

Prenuptial Agreements


In Florida, when a unwed couple has a child, the Mother is presumed to have all legal rights to the child.  Until a circuit court determines who is the legal Father, the Mother can decide all aspects of the child’s life including where the child resides, how often the child can visit with relatives like the Father, and how the child will be medically treated.  

In a Paternity case, the court will enter a Parenting Plan which is a written directive of each parents’ rights and obligations to the child.  The Court will determine the number of nights in a year the child resides with the Mother and the Father.  With this information plus each parents’ monthly income and child expenses, a child support amount will be calculated pursuant to the Florida Child Support Guidelines

Dissolution of Marriage

In the current digital age, it can feel like people instantly take notice when a couple divorces.  All of a sudden, friends and family want to know why you’ve split up and who will “win” the divorce. This can make it difficult to keep intimate and personal aspects of your life private. Your choice of attorney can help to make the process of getting divorced much more manageable.

When a couple is divorcing in Florida, the Court has to address Parenting Issues, Division of Property, Alimony, and Child Support.  No two divorces are the same.  At McCart & Tesmer, P.A.​ our Tampa Bay family law attorneys regularly handle complex divorce cases, including those for high-net-worth clients. As your attorneys, our goals are to protect your privacy and achieve the results you want. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

Child Support

Regardless if a child is born to married or unmarried parents who are no longer together, the Court has an obligation to award child support for the benefit of the child. The Court will determine the number of nights in a year the child resides with each parent, relying on the parents’ Parenting Plan. After numerous financial disclosures such as pay stubs, bank statements and financial affidavits, each parents’ monthly income and child expenses are used to calculate the child support amount based upon the Florida Child Support Guidelines.  


Our practice of family law & domestic relations includes: 

  1. Prenuptial Agreement
  2. Postnuptial Agreements
  3. Paternity 
  4. Dissolution of Marriage
  5. Child Support
  6. Modifications of Agreements
  7. Contempt of Court 
  8. Step-Parent Adoptions
  9. Termination of Parental Rights 
  10. Protective Injections, including Domestic Violence and Stalking
  11. Cohabitation Agreements 

Dissolution of Marriage, less formally known as divorce, is the legal proceeding for terminating a marriage.

Divorces can be simplified, uncontested, or contested.

  1. Simplified Divorce – A short, condensed divorce that meets specific requirements: 
      1. Both spouses agree the marriage cannot be saved;
      2. There are no minor children or dependents, and the wife (if applicable) is not currently pregnant;
      3. The spouses have entered into an agreement dividing up their property and finances; 
      4. Neither spouse is seeking alimony;
      5. Both spouses waive entitlement to a trial;
      6. Both spouses agree to sign the petition for dissolution of marriage; and
      7. Both spouses will go to the final hearing together.

2. Uncontested Divorce – An uncontested divorce is where the spouses are entered into a marital settlement agreement and parenting plan (if applicable) before either spouse files for a divorce with the Court. It means that all issues and disputes have been resolved between the parties. Issues to be resolved include:

    1. Parental decision-making and timesharing
    2. Division of property (also called “Equitable Distribution”)
    3. Alimony
    4. Child Support
    5. Attorney Fees

3. Contested Divorce – A contested divorce is a case that is filed where the spouses have yet to fully agree on disputes. Typically, a spouse files a petition for dissolution of marriage and has the other spouse served with the petition requesting the divorce. The Petition notifies the Court and the other spouse of the issues to be resolved by the spouses (through a settlement agreement) or by the judge (through a trial). Both spouses must exchange financial discovery documents, participate in mediation, and attend regularly scheduled hearings and trials. If, at any point, the spouses fully resolve all of their issues, the spouses can immediately proceed to finalize their divorce without a trial.

Interview attorney(s). Family law cases are stressful and emotionally draining and can make you feel vulnerable or exposed. Select an attorney you believe will align with your desired path and outcome. You may be working with your attorney for months, so you want to be comfortable sharing private details and emotional topics with your attorney.

For more details on this issue, read our article:

  1. Organize Your Assets. Take inventory of your assets and any assets you believe your spouse owns.

  2. Be Aware Of Your Behavior. Everything you say, purchase, type, or text can be shown to your spouse and the Judge. Every day you are making evidence for yourself, whether good or bad. 

Additional tips:

Timesharing is a parenting schedule that outlines specific times (including overnight and holidays) each parent will spend with the child. The parents enter into a Parenting Plan, which lays out each parent’s rights and responsibilities for the child.

The Court is required to determine a timesharing schedule that is in the best interest of the minor child in occurrence with Florida Statute Section 61.13(3).

Paternity rights are established to provide parental responsibility, decision-making authority, and schedule timesharing between a parent and a child. 

If parental rights are established, there are many legal ramifications:

  1. Child Support. Both parents are required to financially support the child.
  2. Inheritance. If a parent passes away, the child may inherit and collect benefits such as social security, disability, Veteran Affairs benefits, and life insurance proceeds. 
  3. Insurance. A parent may provide medical, dental, and vision insurance for their legal dependents.

Learn more about Father’s Rights and the July 2023 law (HB 775) in our article: Father’s Rights: New Florida Law Gives More Rights To Unmarried Biological Fathers.

Florida follows the “shared income model” of child support, which means that support is based upon the cost of raising the child together if the parents were in an intact relationship and household. In Florida, Child Support is determined by each parent’s income, the number of overnights the child spends with each parent, and the division of payment of daycare and health insurance costs for the child.

Review instructions online here:

A step-parent adoption creates a legal and binding relationship between a stepparent and a minor child. It is often utilized when a biological and/or legal parent has passed away, or their parental rights have been terminated (either voluntarily or involuntarily). Once created, the stepparent becomes a legal parent and guardian for the child, is financially responsible for the child, and is entitled to parental responsibilities such as decision-making and timesharing.

In Florida, adoptions are governed by Chapter 63 of the Florida statutes. The requirements for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild in Florida are:

  1. The step-parent must be able to financially and morally support the child.
  2. The step-parent and the step-parent’s spouse (the legal parent of the minor child) must file a joint petition for adoption, which includes (1) the child’s birth date and place of birth, (2) the name that should be given to the child if the child’s name is being changed, (3) a statement of how long the step-parent has lived with the child, and (4) reasons why the step-parent wants to adopt the child.
  3. If applicable, the biological parent must consent to the adoption. Or the petition must state why the biological parent’s consent is not required, such as the biological parent’s death. 
  • If the minor child is over 12, the minor child must provide written consent to the adoption.

A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract between an engaged couple signed before the marriage and set forth the division of their assets and finances in the event of divorce or death. In preparation of the agreement, both parties must disclose all assets and should be represented by attorneys. It allows the couple while cooperating, to resolve any issues that may arise should the marriage dissolve in the future. Many couples choose to include in their prenuptial agreements provisions regarding:

  1. Division and payment of monthly expenses
  2. Alimony
  3. Premarital and marital assets
  4. Inheritance from each other and their respective families
  5. Attorney fees 

For more information, read our article, Age Difference and Second Marriages: Tips for Round 2.

A Postnuptial Agreement is a contract between spouses made during the marriage to set apart their assets moving forward or to make a plan for the division in the event of a divorce. Many couples choose to include provisions regarding:

  1. Division and payment of monthly expenses
  2. Alimony
  3. Premarital and marital assets
  4. Inheritance from each other and their respective families
  5. Attorney fees

For more information, read our article, Age Difference and Second Marriages: Tips for Round 2.

A prenuptial agreement is written prior to the marriage and is valid based upon the completion of the marriage, while a postnuptial agreement is written after marriage and requires additional consideration to be valid.