Josh Ferraro

Enforcing a Divorce Judgment with a QDRO: Tips from a Stuart, Florida Divorce Lawyer

Josh2.ashxIn an ideal world, once a divorce judgment was entered both parties would dutifully abide by its terms and fulfill each of their duties and obligations. Of course, in an ideal world there wouldn’t be any divorce in the first place so it would be a moot point. In the real world, the entry of a divorce judgment is often just the first step in a party’s long journey to obtain all that he or she is entitled to.

When a party defaults on his or her obligations with regard to the property division portions of divorce judgment, the compliant party is limited to the remedies that would be available to other creditors (i.e. credit card companies and banks). For an explanation of those remedies and tips on how to secure assets awarded in a property settlement agreement, refer to Enforcing a Divorce Judgment.

When it comes to alimony… Continue reading

Enforcing a Divorce Judgment

Josh2.ashxOnce a divorce decree has been entered, the judges close their file and the lawyers generally conclude their representation. There might be some housekeeping items (transfer the properties, close some accounts) but these are generally handled between the parties. All in all, it is presumed (at least in the beginning) that each party will comply with whatever terms the divorce judgment (or the Marital Settlement Agreement) contains. However, in practice things don’t always work out this cleanly and neatly.

As a result, every divorce decree contains some language toward the end which indicates that the Judge will retain jurisdiction for purposes of enforcement. But when it comes to the property division portions of a divorce judgment, the courts can only do so much because a former spouse is limited to the remedies available to general creditors.

Therefore, it is important to understand the remedies available to enforce a divorce… Continue reading

3 Ways to find the right Stuart, Florida Divorce Lawyer

Josh2.ashxIn today’s world, there are any number of ways to find an lawyer who practices divorce law in Stuart, Florida. From advertising to social media campaigns, lawyer marketing seems to be everywhere these days. However, there are few tried and true ways to find an experienced and professional Stuart, Florida divorce lawyer who will best fit your particular needs.

Martindale-Hubbell

In a world full of rating services and referral networks, Martindale-Hubbell is recognized as the authority with regard to lawyer ratings. This site relies upon confidential peer ratings to assess ratings ranging from AV to CV. Not all lawyers or firms are rated, so the lack of a rating shouldn’t be held against an attorney, but an AV rating is a clear indication that the lawyer has the experience, skill and ability (as judged by his peers) to handle complex divorce cases.

The senior partner of the Ferraro Law Group… Continue reading

Five Questions to Ask your Stuart Divorce Lawyer

Josh2.ashxWhat percentage of your practice is devoted to divorce and family law?

There are a great deal of lawyers who will take on a divorce case with just enough knowledge to go through the motions. These lawyers understand that there are generally four issues in divorce (property division, alimony, child-centric issues and attorneys fees) and they know the basics with regard to each one of them. Therefore, they will take on an occasional case that walks in the door even if they have very little actual divorce experience or in-depth knowledge of the issues that matter.

However, while it is true that most divorces revolve around these four issues; divorce law can be incredibly technical and the laws are often complex and nuanced. At the same time, the outcome of your case will affect your life, your children and your livelihood for many years to come. Therefore, it is extremely… Continue reading

Do you want an Agressive Divorce Lawyer in Stuart, Florida and the Treasure Coast

Josh2.ashxA typical divorce case presents several issues which will have a substantial, and long-term, affect on the rest of your life. These issues can range from the division of your property to the amount of money that you will be allocated to live on and even the amount of time that you will be allowed to spend with your children. It can be an incredibly invasive process culminating in a virtual stranger (the Judge) making your life’s decisions on your behalf. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you have an experienced, knowledgeable and trustworthy advocate acting as your divorce lawyer.

When choosing a divorce lawyer, it is important to make an informed decision based upon more than just emotion. Many clients are inclined to go with the most belligerent and confrontational divorce lawyer because they think doing so will intimidate their spouse and lead to a more successful result in… Continue reading

Enforcement of Divorce Judgments

Josh2.ashxIn this economy, we are frequently presented with cases in which a former spouse has failed to fulfill his or her monetary obligations under the terms of a divorce decree.  Clients often assume that once the divorce decree is entered; the other party will simply comply with whatever awards it dictates. Unfortunately, this often turns out not to be the case and therefore, it is important to have a good understanding of the available remedies for the breach of a divorce obligation.

The most important concept to understand is that there is a distinction between property settlement awards and awards which are determined to be in the nature of support (alimony, child support, attorney’s fees). This distinction governs the remedies that are available and the loopholes which might exist for a non-complying party.

Property division awards in a divorce decree are treated as any other civil judgment and they… Continue reading

Alimony: Required Findings

Joshua D. Ferraro, Esq.

Joshua D. Ferraro, Esq.
Stuart, Divorce Lawyer

Chapter 61 provides divorce court judges with immense discretion in the determination of whether a spouse is entitled to alimony, what type of alimony is appropriate (if any) and the amount of the alimony award. Ultimately, these awards are reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard. This means that the alimony award will be upheld on appeal if the higher court finds that any reasonable jurist reviewing the similar facts would have ruled in the same manner. In other words, if the case was tried in front of 10 different judges and even one would have rendered the same alimony award; the judgment will stand up to appellate scrutiny.

However, while an alimony award is generally within the sound discretion of the court; that discretion is not unlimited or absolute. Therefore, the Trial Court is required to make specific findings setting forth the… Continue reading

Rehabilitative Alimony

Florida law provides for several different types of alimony at the end of a divorce case. Each form of alimony is distinct in its purpose, its duration as well as in the method for calculating the amount of the award:

  • Temporary alimony is meant to maintain the status quo while the divorce case is pending.
  •  Permanent alimony is meant to provide a Former Spouse with the ability to maintain his or her standard of living on a long-term basis;
  •  Bridge-the Gap alimony is meant to provide the Former Spouse short-term assistance with the transition from being married to being single;
  •  Durational alimony is meant to provide stability for a number of years and give a spouse time to get his or her financial affairs in order over a period of several years;
  •  Rehabilitative alimony is meant to provide a Former Spouse with the tools to become… Continue reading

Calculating Alimony in Light of Need

Josh2.ashxFlorida Statute 61.08 is a comprehensive statute which sets forth the types of alimony, the entitlement to alimony and methods for determining alimony in the State of Florida. Specifically, this statute provides that the Court can award: permanent, periodic alimony (monthly payments for life or until a substantial change in circumstances); rehabilitative alimony (payments designed to allow a spouse to become self-supporting on his or her own; durational alimony (payments for a specified period of time; and, bridge the gap alimony (alimony designed to smooth the transition from married to single status.

Each of the types of alimony permitted by § 61.08 is premised on the idea that it will fulfill the payee’s need while falling within the payor’s ability to pay. Therefore, regardless of the type of alimony awarded, the Court does not have the authority to grant an amount of alimony which is in excess of a payee’s… Continue reading

Alimony Modification

Josh2.ashxHammesfahr v. Hammesfahr,

In this case, the parties were divorced on June 14, 2007 and an amended divorce judgment was entered two weeks later on June 30, 2007. The amended divorce order required the Former Husband to pay $ 8,000 in monthly alimony to the Former Wife. This appeal arises from the Former Husband’s unsuccessful attempt to modify his alimony obligation (which coincided with the Former Wife’s motion to increase that same alimony payment).

The Former Husband’s appeal rested on four (4) grounds: (1.) the denial of his application for a downward modification of alimony based upon his reduced income; (2.) the failure to reduce his child support obligation when his oldest child reached the age of majority; (3.) his claim that the there were constitutional deficiencies in the contemporaneous order citing him for contempt based upon his non-payment of alimony; and (4.) his claim that the Trial Court… Continue reading