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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… 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

A Smooth Transition To Step-parenting

family with kidsPart of divorce is remarriage. When a couple ends their marriage it is not unusual for one or both of the parties to remarry. Many second or third marriages include children from previous relationships. This can turn a parent into an instant step parent. Sometimes this transition is difficult, as divorce can be hard on the kids. But, a smooth transition is key to a healthy future for all involved.

Building trust with a step child is crucial to developing a strong relationship between a step parent and their new spouse’s children. Some tips to help include:

● Try allowing letting your spouse resolve conflict, without your intervention.

● Assert your concerns without degrading your stepchild.

● Recognize when your participation isn’t effective, and take a step back from the situation.

Knowing when to pick your battles is an important way to keep the peace… Continue reading

Impartiality Doesn’t Extend To Social Media

facebookJudges are supposed to remain impartial. It is also inappropriate for a Judge to decide a case for a friend or family member. Drawing an imaginary line in the sand between the bench and the parties to a case ensures the Judge’s decisions are fair and appropriate. When a Judge isn’t able to keep his or her distance from a case the results are suspect.

The prohibition on a Judge’s personal relationship with litigants has been the focus of an investigation of a Circuit Court Judge. The facts of the case are strange and unique, and extend beyond the initial allegation that a party to a lawsuit who refused the Judge’s Facebook request was treated unfairly in the Courtroom. For example, the news reports the following out of the ordinary behavior by the Judge:

● The Judge has installed hidden cameras in her chambers… Continue reading

Judge Changes His Mind On Same Sex Marriage

wedding ring on champagne glassA same sex couple, married in Vermont, has been seeking to dissolve their union in their new home state of Florida. A Broward County Judge initially ruled the State’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional in Heather Brassner’s request for a divorce from Megan Lade. Now, it seems the Judge has had a change of heart.

In early September the very Judge that held the same sex marriage ban unconstitutional vacated the order that made that finding. The Judge explained his decision as follows:

  • Brassner failed to comply with state law notice requirements.
  • The Judge stated Brassner was required to give notice of the request for dissolution to the State Attorney General by certified mail.
  •  A hearing to finalize the divorce has been cancelled.

 

The declaration that the ban is unconstitutional was the 3rd such finding in an 18 day period in… 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

Can A Tiger Change Its Stripes? Some Good News For Tiger Woods

dad and sonWhen you get a divorce and only see your children part of the time, it is only natural to wonder how your kids are doing when they are with the other parent. In cases where the parties can work together and co-parent, the result is a happier and healthier child who respects authority and parental decisions. This is true even in the case of celebrity divorce, where questions of parenting are often in the spotlight.

In the case of Tiger Woods, most people know the story of how and why his divorce was initiated. It isn’t easy to forget the breaking news that the golfer had wrecked his SUV, and it was later revealed his now ex-wife had come after him with a golf club. So just what does Tiger’s ex have to say about his parenting. You might be surprised to… Continue reading

Benefits Of Grandparent Visitation

retired couple at bridgeWhen parties divorce it is critical to maintain an environment as normal as possible for the children. This includes continued contact and visitation with both parents, a consistent schedule, fighting the urge to put the kids in the middle, and allowing your children to develop or maintain healthy relationships with your ex spouse’s extended family. Unfortunately not all family law cases involve two parties willing to allow their children to continue seeing aunts, uncles, and grandparents on the “other side”. If that is the case, there is a remedy.

Florida statues allow for grandparent visitation when the marriage of the parents has been dissolved. The standard applied by the Courts when granting visitation to a grandparent is what is in the best interests of the child. This includes an examination of the relationship prior to divorce, and in older children the Court may consider… Continue reading

A Victory For Same Sex Visitation Rights

child's painted handChild custody and visitation are typically the most important issues to resolve in a divorce with kids. Finances are a close second, and are usually intermingled with issues regarding your children. This is because making sure your kids are taken care of and maintain a healthy relationship with both parents is a key goal of any family law matter. It is always best if the parents are able to enter a successful post marriage arrangement for visitation and custody, but this is not always the case. All too often the parties allow their emotions to run over and impact the kids, which may include preventing visitation in an attempt to “get back at” the ex. In the end, this type of behavior is more harmful to the children and does not allow families to move forward by taking positive steps post-divorce.

When… Continue reading