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6 Summer Activities to Do with your Kids

Todd Bluewater - Saturday, July 06, 2019

The summer months are synonymous with relaxation, family time, and having good old-fashioned fun. Even parents who do not have much time off from work can find ways to sneak in some warm-weather fun while the kids are out of school. Take a look at just a few fun activities you should schedule with your kids this summer below.

Go Camping

Even if all you do is set up a tent in the backyard and make S’mores in your fire pit, enjoy the warm weather the summer months afford and spend a night outside. For those kids that are more adventurous, you can take them on aweekend long camping trip. Along with your sleeping bags and bug spray, don’t forget to bring along some flashlights and your favorite ghost stories.

Visit a Fair

Head to the county fair or a local festival and split a corn dog and an elephant ear together. See if there will be any bands or musicians and enjoy an evening of live music and dancing too. The great thing about summer fairs is that not much has changed since you were a kid. You may find fair favorites of your own that you’ve forgotten over the years!

See a Movie—in the Middle of the Day

Escape the hottest hours of the day by heading to a matinee showing of a big summer blockbuster. Some theaters even offer reduced or free family movie days, so take advantage of the discounts and the quiet time with your kids.

Play Board Games

It can be difficult to pry electronic games and entertainment from kids’ hands, even toddlers. Set aside some time to disconnect from technology for the entire family (including parents) and take turns picking out board games to play.

Go Berry Picking

Summer is ripe with some of the year’s best fruits, including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Find a local picking farm and then head out to harvest your own fruit. To make it a full experience, choose a few recipes—a cobbler, muffins, etc.—to try out with your spoils.

Work Together on Home Projects

Find a few fun ways to spruce up the home for the summer and get the whole family in on the fun. Summer is the perfect time to rearrange, repaint, redecorate kids’ bedrooms, and create serene outdoor spaces. Getting your kids involved helps them to learn new skills, contribute to the home, feel good about their work, and enjoy the new space even more.

To kick it up a notch, take any of these suggestions and turn them into a yearly summer tradition! Give yourself and your kids something to look forward to every year—spending quality time together and having lots of fun in the process.

Happy summer!

Dads: 3 Ways to Help Your Teen Daughter Through Tough Times

Todd Bluewater - Friday, September 14, 2018

Although dads and daughters should be bonding at every age, the teenage years can be the most tumultuous for parents and their kids alike. As children start to bridge their childhood years into adulthood, it can be a confusing, difficult, and emotional time. When it comes to dads, daughters may seem downright impossible to communicate with or understand during the teenage years. But this is the time when “little” girls need their fathers the most, so don’t give up on her.

father and daughter Dads: 3 Ways to Help Your Teen Daughter Through Tough Times

Take a look at a few simple ways to reach out and help your daughter get through the tough times of teenaged life.

Be a constant presence. No, you shouldn’t go with her on her dates or show up randomly when she is hanging out with her friends. Technology has made it easier than ever to let her know that you are thinking of her, even when you aren’t there in person. Send text messages and emails, and even goofy selfies to keep her smiling. Let her know you are always just a text or call away and that you are always thinking of her.

Share your stories. It may seem like an ancient history to you, but relating your own struggles as a teen and young adult may ease some of her own anxieties. Talk about the times you faced challenges, or made poor decisions, and how you picked up and kept on going. Emphasize that things that seem like a big deal in the moment will not matter down the road. Even if she rolls her eyes at your outdated stories and assures you that you can’t possibly understand, tell her anyway. It may make more of an impact than she is willing to share with you.

Step in when it’s warranted. Part of growing up is making your decisions, but occasionally teens need their parents to back them up. If your daughter is fighting a battle that seems to be over her head, step in and help her through it. This may be something as simple as a difficult math class that she is too prideful to ask for help to get through, or could involve peer pressure to engage in dangerous activities. While it is important to give her room to make the right decisions on her own, remember that you are still her parent and that it is okay to intervene when needed.

What advice have you heard about dealing with teenaged daughters? Use the comments below to share your own advice or experiences to help out other dads going through the same challenges.

Why Do I Have to Comply with Discovery, I Wasn’t even married to the Mother of My Child?

Todd Bluewater - Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Posted by: Chantale Suttle

The legislature of the State of Florida sets forth rules for discovery, and those rules are loosely called 12.285. 12.285 sets forth all the parameters for discovery in Family Law Cases. Unfortunately, the law does not differentiate the discovery required in a divorce case from that required in a paternity case. It also does not differentiate between pre-judgment cases and post-judgment cases, leaving all of us in this business over-doing it when it comes to non-marital children cases, and also causing us to do far too much work when it comes to post-judgment work.

Imagine you finish your case after a year of discovery, you get laid off six months later, and you have to produce the documents all over again to even slightly reduce child support. That is the reality of this poorly written law). In short, it is voluminous and frustrating to even get out the 12.285, you might find yourself disclosing bank statements to your ex, when she was the joint owner of the account! Nonetheless, making immediate filing of your disclosure an early priority can save you a lot of money.

With regard to discovery, generally, the law allows a wide berth. Discovery may be a total fishing expedition, it may be repetitive, and it may be voluminous, as long as it is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence” to quote the vague language of the evidence code. Further, circuit court judges are rarely overturned by the appellate courts when discovery issues are appealed in civil cases, which gives lawyers very little insight as to how any judge may resolve discovery disputes. Therefore, we have three choices facing any discovery request. Ignore it, Answer it, or Object.

The second option rarely causes any Motion to be filed relative to same. This is the cheapest and quickest option for you. Meaning, that if your ignore or object to discovery, your opposition is likely to file one of the following actions: an Ex Parte Motion to Compel (where you don’t even get a hearing to give your reasons for noncompliance); a Motion to Compel; a Motion for Better Responses; or a Request for Hearing on Discovery Objections. All of these Motions will almost always make a request for attorney’s fees to be paid by you to the other side, for violations of discovery.

While the law is vague on what discovery is okay, the law is CLEAR on attorneys’ fees for discovery violations. If the judge does NOT feel that you were justified in your refusal to give complete answers, not only are you paying your lawyer for the extra work, you will also pay the opposing counsel. Once discovery violations are dealt with in Court, they are also likely to delay the ultimate resolution of the case. If you haven’t realized it by now, the longer you have a relationship with your lawyer, the more it will cost you, in time, money and stress. Getting on top of discovery quickly and completely is the best course of action. For more information or questions about Discovery and its rules or child support issues please contact Chantale Suttle, child support attorney in Miami via www.Dadvocacy.com or 305.371.7640.

5 Reasons to Celebrate Dads

Todd Bluewater - Saturday, July 07, 2018

Father’s Day only comes around once every year, and for those 24 hours, it’s all about the dads. It’s a deserved honor and one that gives children of all ages a chance to reflect on their own fathers and the influences they have had on their lives. Dads should be celebrated all year round though, and for more reasons than because it is what a calendar says.

Take a look at just a few of the reasons why we should all celebrate dads:

1. Dads are fun. Sure, there are serious moments, but overall,great dads are just big kids at heart. Dads are automatic teammates, video game opponents, and pillow fight strategists. In a world seemingly filled with authority figures, kids can count on dads to bridge the gap between adulthood and childhood and keep things light.

2. Dads are smart. There are a lot of things about life that dads impart to their kids, and much of it cannot be learned in a text book. They have a way of expressing their ideas in understandable ways. Dads tend to find the teachable moments in everyday life and make them meaningful to their kids.

3. Dads are sensitive. While a lot of fathers have a reputation for their tough guy exteriors, deep down they have a soft spot for their kids. Whether it is helping them work through a difficult homework assignment or listening during frustrating times, dads provide shoulders to cry on and arms to embrace life’s challenges. 

4.Dads always answer the call. Whether a little girl needs help fishing her doll out of the toilet, or a young man in college needs help moving into his first apartment, dads are always at the ready. Dads offer manual labor, rescue services, and a lot of volunteer hours too. Kids of any age can count on dads to come when they call, and to make everything in life just a little bit easier.

5.Dads are the underdogs. There are some really awesome moms out there, and sometimes that can overshadow all the hard work that dads are doing too. Research has found that dads today are more likely than their own fathers to be involved in the everyday lives of their children and to help with domestic responsibilities on a larger scale. Dads work hard and we should recognize that every day of the year. 

What are some other great reasons you can think of to celebrate dads? 

Recent Court Ruling Denies Viable Father for Rights and Forces Child into Adoption

Todd Bluewater - Saturday, September 30, 2017

Imagine--you're seventeen, hold down a part-time job, and are successful in school. You're on the school's football team, baseball team, and have no criminal history or history of drug use or alcohol use. Your girlfriend gets pregnant, tells you you're the father, and you prepare accordingly to have the child raised and cared for in your home by your mother while you're in school. The crib is assembled and the nursery is complete, a whole separate room in your parents' home for your new arrival.

Delivery day comes. The mother of your child refuses you as the father and puts the child up for adoption. Like most dads (regardless of age), you would go through the courts to fight for the rights to be the parent to your child--even if your girlfriend (or perhaps "ex-girlfriend" at this point) feels the child should be put in adoptive care.

Would you succeed? Apparently not. In a recent court ruling in Bakersfield, California, a 17-year-old father, Christian Diaz, was denied parental rights to his own child, forcing the baby into adoptive care. A willing father was denied the chance to raise his child, just because the child's mother made a decision on her own, left his name off of the birth certificate, and persuaded hospital authorities that he wasn't the father and to keep him away from the child.

Father's rights are necessary.

Cases like this, where a fit and willing father is stepping up to the plate to be a dad, remind us that there is still a long road ahead of us. Being with our children and raising them is a right we have, and until the courts can see this, we will continue to fight for our rights!

Read more about this hearing on Bakersfield.com.