Can to much knowledge be harmful? 

Does it pay to know more? 

Should you know the laws?

I think that you know what the answers to these questions should be. Whether you are pro se or you hire an attorney, there is no way that you can navigate these waters without some basics!

Here is a list of things you should know / do as recommended by the members of DADS.

  • Learn the laws of the state (statutes) chapter 61, 12, and 1 are extremely important.
  • Learn the Rules of Family Procedures "rules of the court".
  • Keep a log of everything!  Yea I know, this is a hard one, however the rewards are worth the effort.
  • Have a witness at all times, "not an in the face" witness, just one to observe and listen. Make sure it is someone you can trust, and will be willing to step into court for you if needed. Also it is a good idea to make sure that they do not have any "skeletons" that will harm your case. 
  • Never loose you temper, especially if the kids are around.
  • Never discuss court issues with your kids.
  • If you have a lawyer, tell them everything. The courtroom is no place for surprises.
  • Never forget that your children are not a tool to punish you x with.
  • Never tell your children or use them for a communication path. Remember this is between "the adults" and your kids need your love and stability. Children need not worry about their parents behavior.
  • If you are hiring an attorney, interview many, ask all your questions, check with the State Bar for complaints, and ask other DADS members if they know your attorney. Ask the attorney about their cases and check them.
  • If things are particularly "heated" carry a concealed tape recorder with you. You should never let anyone know this as it shows badly, also this is not "evidence that you can use in court, however you can use taped conversations for the purpose of impeaching a witness. Mostly this can be used if a fake call to the police is planed, i.e.; if you record your partner planning a call to the police about domestic violence, you can play this tape to the officers when they arrive in order to help prevent your being jailed.
  • School records. Make sure that your information is listed on all school documents such as emergency cards, contact information, pick up information and parent contact list. This is a matter of importance for your child's safety. You may have to push the schools on this issue, however it is the law. Frequent non combative appearances at the school is always helpful to gain their compliance with your wishes.
  • Always make sure that you have a court reporter present for all of your court appearance. This is important as you may not be able to appeal without transcripts from your hearings.
  • Know the "rules" for shared parenting. If your x is violating them us them as a basis for change of primary. Florida law and the supreme court mandate that the parent most likely to allow ongoing and continuing contact will be primary, so add that and case law to your modification of primary residence motion.
Dads of Florida. Fathers helping children by helping Fathers

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Revised: April 07, 2006

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