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Is It Time To Modify Your Custody or Support??

Stuart Divorce Attorney

Over 40 Years Serving the Treasure Coast!

Often times parents, typically those unrepresented in custody proceedings, will agree on a timesharing schedule with a belief that they can come back later to change it when time or budget permits.  However, modifying a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage or Paternity can be more difficult than you think.

Custody/Timesharing

To modify an existing custody order, a parent would have to prove that there has been an unanticipated change in circumstances, and that modifying the existing order would be in the best interest of the minor children.  If the parent can overcome the burden of proving that a change in circumstances exists, the judge will then reconsider the factors set forth in Florida Statutes to determine timesharing with the minor children moving forward.  Those… Continue reading

Maintaining Your Kids’ Schedules

brother and sisterOne of the marks of a successful outcome in a divorce case is that the kids’ lives remain stable and consistent. The Courts and attorneys work hard to reach results that are in the best interests of the children and develop a parenting plan that works for the family. This includes allowing your kids to continue participation in regular activities. While scheduling concerns arise less frequently in the summer months, when school is in session it is more likely you will experience a scheduling conflict with your ex-spouse.

To make sure you are able to maintain the visitation and custody schedule put in place in the Court throughout the year, experts suggest the following:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. The best scenario is one where the parents remain friendly after the divorce and are able to talk to each other calmly. If this is not your situation,… Continue reading

How Do I Serve My Spouse With Divorce Papers?

gavelOne of the hallmarks of the judicial system is notice. Just as our forefathers cried “no taxation without representation” and thus started the Boston Tea Party, it is improper to proceed in a legal proceeding without giving notice to the other party. The issue of service of process is an important one, and the Court will take care to be sure you have properly served your opponent before granting any of your requests.

 

Service of process and the rules for process servers are governed by Florida statute. The law requires:

 

● The process server must be an impartial third party, with no interest in the case.

● The process server must be at least 18 years old.

● The server must be a permanent resident of the State of Florida.

● Background checks must be conducted and satisfactorily passed prior to being… Continue reading

Back To Basics: General Requirements For Divorce In Florida

pen and paperIf you are considering a divorce, or have just learned your spouse is seeking to dissolve your marriage, it is important to know some basic facts. Unfortunately there are too many family law myths out there, and many parties enter their case with blinders on. Knowing what to expect and how a skilled family law attorney can help you will put you at east and make the process less stressful.

 

Divorce in Florida is governed by the Dissolution of Marriage statutes. Some common Florida family law issues include:

 

● Residency requirement: one of the parties to the marriage must live in the State of Florida for at least six months prior to the case being filed.

● No fault: Florida does not require a showing of “fault” in order to seek a divorce.

● Agreements: an uncontested case is one… Continue reading

What Role Do Dads Play Post-Divorce?

kid on shouldersFor years the thought was that when a couple called it quits, the mother always got the home and the kids. Dads were relegated to an every other weekend and alternating holiday visitation schedule. This type of arrangement meant less involvement in the lives of children by their fathers and a broken bond between father and child. So just what is the role of a dad post-divorce, and how does it impact the children?

 

An organization dedicated to the welfare and health of children runs down some possibilities on why the involvement of a father in his kids’ life after divorce is a problem, and most are linked to child support. For example:

 

● A father unable to meet his child support obligation may feel as though he hasn’t “earned” time with his kids. Nothing could be further from the truth.… Continue reading

Does It Cost More To Pay Alimony, Or Fight It?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlimony is payment made to one spouse by the other, designed to put both parties on sound financial footing after divorce. The most typical scenario is that alimony is paid by a higher earning spouse to a lower earning, or nonworking spouse, in order to allow both husband and wife to maintain the lifestyle to which they became accustomed during the marriage. The goal of alimony is to allow the needy party to stand on their own financially when the marriage is finally dissolved. But, most parties ordered to pay alimony have a different feeling and often times fight the request. In a successful case the result is a lower payment amount, or a denial of the request for alimony. But is fighting the request worth the cost?

 

A recent article spells out the costs of fighting a request for alimony:… Continue reading

What Happens When You Mingle Separate Property With Marital Property?

auction houseIn the beginning of a relationship you aren’t likely to put your name on the inside cover of all your books, or make a list of which dishes belong to who. As your relationship progresses, it is relationship leads to a walk down the aisle; it is a sure bet that your DVD collections will share shelf space. If your marriage ends in separation or divorce, what then do you do if you are unable to determine what property belonged to which person before the marriage?

When you file for divorce and have to figure out a plan for distribution of assets, keep in mind that in Florida the distribution is equitable. To make that distribution easier when trying to classify assets as either separate or marital, the following tips are useful:

● Maintain separate accounts: putting your money or other assets in… Continue reading

What Is Parental Gatekeeping?

child hand in adult handAll too often in a divorce parents force their kids to take sides, or restrict visitation with the non- custodial parent. This behavior is detrimental to the children, and can be the cause for legal action against you by your spouse. Many of the complex divorce cases become drawn out because the parties disagree over important issues regarding their kids. But to keep your children from one of their parents is not only emotionally harmful, but may possibly be considered abusive.

Parental gatekeeping is the term used to refer to a parent that restricts or prohibits contact between their ex and the kids. It can take many forms, but the most common include:

  • Preventing communication between parent and child.
  • Refusing to allow visitation.

Making decisions that impact your kids without getting input from the other parent.

 

These examples of restrictive gatekeeping can… Continue reading

What Is My Standard Of Living?

coins and billIn law there are certain phrases and buzz words that lawyers and Judges frequently use. In family law cases with minor children you often hear the goal of the judicial system is to decide issues that result in what is in the best interest of the children. When seeking spousal support, it is often said that the award should be one that allows the party to maintain the standard of living to which they’ve become accustomed. But what exactly does this mean, and why is it important?

 

A Huffington News Report offers insight on the standard of living concept and why it should not be overlooked:

 

● Determining the lifestyle or standard of living to which a party seeking support is used to lays the groundwork for future modifications. It is difficult for the Court to make changes later without a starting point.… Continue reading

How To Value Assets In A Divorce When The IRS Is Involved

Taxes1There seem to be a few things in life you can just never escape. Death and taxes. Even when divorcing, you have to look at the value of your assets through the eyes of the IRS. This is important because in many divorce cases, assets are liquidated to satisfy the terms of property distribution. But, there could be tax implications depending on what you liquidate and how your assets are valued.

For example, liquidating a 401(k) or other retirement account to pay your spouse their part of property division could have immediate tax implications. For example:

  • Early withdrawal of funds from a 401(k) often carries an additional 10% tax penalty.
  • The funds you receive from the distribution are considered income and must be reported as such when you file your income tax return.

Depending on the type of account you liquidate, there may be… Continue reading