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Florida Family Law

Can Income Be Imputed To Your Spouse When Determining Alimony?

scales with money and heartWhen the Court fixes an amount of child support or alimony, it takes into account the guidelines set by statute, and also the particular facts of each case. For example, if you have a child with special needs an adjustment in the amount of child support as determined by the guidelines may be necessary. Likewise, if your spouse is unemployed but able to work it might be possible to impute an income amount when calculating alimony payments.

 

The 4th District Court of Appeals recently agreed with this position. In a case where both parties took early retirement, but the husband later returned to work the Court concluded the wife was employable and determined an amount of income that should be attributed to her when it reviewed an alimony award. The Court considered… 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

Another Florida Judge Thinks Ban On Same Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional

women holding handsEver since the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that denies marriage to same sex couples was struck down as unconstitutional just over a year ago, Judges all over the country have seen these types of cases on their dockets. In some of these cases, the time is drawing near for final decisions to be made. Because this is a controversial topic, stories on the matter aren’t likely to go away any time soon.

In a recent decision, a Judge in Broward County is the latest member of the bench to strike down the ban on same sex marriage:

● The issue arose in a divorce case before Judge Dale Cohen.

● Heather Brassner and Megan Lade were legally joined in Vermont in 2002.

● The couple separated in 2010.

● Brassner, a resident of Florida, sought a divorce in Broward County.… 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

Does Military Status Impact Child Support?

ArmyMaking sure your kids’ financial future is stable is one of your greatest concerns when divorcing. Florida statutes provide guidelines for determining an amount of child support, and the calculation is complex. When one of the parents is an active duty military member, that calculation can become even more complex.

 

The child support guidelines take into account things such as the income of each parent, the needs of the child, whether there are any special emotional or medical needs, and any child care expenses. You can ask the Court to deviate from the guidelines, but must present evidence in support of the deviation. When there is a parent on active military duty, the Court should consider:

 

● Any amount paid to the service member for a housing allowance.

● Any amount of BAS (basic amount for subsistence).

● Per diem payments.

●… Continue reading

What Is A Guardian Ad Litem?

girl with rainbowDivorce and paternity cases are emotionally charged and often times the kids feel the brunt of their parents’ animosity. But in all cases where children are involved, the Court is charged with ensuring the results are in the best interest of the children. In some instances the Court will appoint an independent person to look out for minors or incapacitated persons. In a divorce, this may happen if you have children and may also happen in a paternity case. A guardian ad litem may or may not be an attorney, but does not act as an attorney during the case.

 

The guardian ad litem acts as a “next friend” of your child and looks out for what is in their best interest. Because the purpose of a guardian ad litem is to make sure the kids’ best interests are taken into consideration when… Continue reading

Is An “Uncontested” Divorce Really Uncontested?

back to backIt might seem like a good idea to try a DIY divorce, especially if you think there are no issues to be decided. Some couples try to navigate the complex waters of family law on their own, and with the best of intentions for an uncontested case find themselves immersed in the process without making any progress. This is because a divorce, whether contested or not, is one of the most emotional times of your life. What starts out as amicable doesn’t always stay that way when emotions take over.

A divorce in Florida is officially called a Dissolution of Marriage. If you are going to try and keep the case simple and agree on everything, here are some pitfalls to avoid:

● Keep your emotions in check: this is the hardest part of any legal proceeding and even more so in… Continue reading

When To Use A Financial Expert In Divorce Cases

1040 Form (1)Money is the cause of most disagreements between couples and that certainly doesn’t change when going through divorce. To make sure your assets are protected and your financial future secure, sometimes using a CPA during your divorce is necessary. This is not true of every case, and because money is already at issue you should only employ a financial expert when the facts of your case justify the expense.

Some factors to examine when making the determination of when a CPA can be helpful during divorce include:

  • There is significant disparity between the income of the parties such that one will be seeking some form of financial support from the other.
  • The marital estate contains valuable assets.

 

  • If the parties own a business together, that must be valued and divided.

 

Your attorney can certainly perform the calculations needed to determine who gets… 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 Tell If Your Kids Need Therapy After Divorce

kid swingingFeeling guilty about the impact your divorce has on your kids is not uncommon. But according to statistics, thousands of kids go through the divorce of their parents annually. You can get your kids through your divorce and raise happy, healthy children. But, there are times when your job will be to get your kids professional mental help. There is no shame in therapy, and its benefits are immeasurable.

 

An organization devoted to issues involving children offers guidance on how to recognize if your kids need therapy:

 

● An increase in conflict between the child and the parent

● Refusing to participate in family activities or visitation with a parent

● An increase in health issues

● Depression

● Problems in school

● Difficulty sleeping

● Withdrawing from friends

 

It is important to look for and identify these issues early.… Continue reading