There is a lot more to family law than most people imagine. Although family law does often deal with the topics commonly associated with divorce and custody issues, there is more to family law than asset division and child support. Often, it deals with difficult issues that can affect a child's future as much as education or healthcare. In Florida, one of the toughest issues -- foster care -- is about to see a much-needed change.
Earlier this spring, the Florida legislature passed a bill called the Nancy C. Detert Common Sense Act. The bill allows children who have been in the state's foster care system to remain in the system until their 21st birthday as opposed to their 18th as under the old law. The governor is expected to sign the bill very soon which will be a big win for family law, as it will allow foster children more time to mature before being forced out to survive on their own.
Under the old law, foster children were required to leave both group and private homes upon reaching their 18th birthdays. Although they were eligible for up to $1,200 a month in aid until they turned 23 if they were enrolled in secondary or post-secondary education, many ended up dropping out of school because the pressure of being so abruptly cast into adulthood took its toll. Family law specialists hope that the new legislation will help keep kids in school and improve their chances for successful futures.
Florida, in passing the new legislation, is following in the footsteps of other states who are trying to give children the best opportunity for success in their lives. Those who deal with family law everyday understand how important the support of a family unit is to a child. This new legislation may be a sign of things to come in other areas of family law. Hopefully, this bill precedes others like it that will make it easier for family law attorneys and their clients to obtain the best outcomes for the children whose lives are being affected by not only foster care, but also child custody and child support arrangements.