James P. Ferraro, Esquire

James Ferraro

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Can I Legally Separate in Florida?

question marksThe end of a marriage does not always mean divorce. For some, the decision to legally separate rather than divorce is the right choice. There can be a host of reasons why separation is more attractive than divorce, such as when the parties desire to protect assets yet desire to live apart. When separating, the issues of child custody, visitation, and other issues usually associated with divorce also surface.

However, Florida is one of only a handful of states that do not recognize legal separation. While this does not mean you are not free to live apart and remain married, it does mean the Courts will not recognize your status as separated. And while this may seem to be a hard and fast rule, at least per the statute, there does seem to be… Continue reading

Not So Civil Divorce

woman covering earsTechnically a divorce proceeding is a civil case. But there are instances where the parties may not act so civilly. Divorces can be emotionally charged, and when one of the parties acts out on that emotion the need for a restraining order may arise. The attorneys at the Ferraro Law Group are able to identify when circumstances warrant a formal request that your ex-spouse be prohibited from contacting you as opposed to the ordinary emotions that go along with changing your family’s status. When necessary, we aggressively protect you and your family by seeking orders that keep you safe.

A recent news report tells the story of one Judge’s granting of a temporary restraining order against a well-known politician. Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson was recently ordered to stay away from his wife of 24 years. Additionally, the Court gave temporary custody of the couple’s… Continue reading

Can I Make My Ex Pay Attorney Fees?

Man holding money largeIn most divorce cases you are tapped out emotionally, not to mention financially. The separation of your family does not come easy, and being left holding the bag for a hefty legal fee can add insult to injury. We work diligently to keep our fees reasonable, and when appropriate to request payment of those fees from your ex-spouse. This sensitive issue of divorce deserves attention, so you are prepared for the likely outcome.

Florida statutes do allow for payment of attorney fees by the opposing party. When making the request that fees be paid by the other side, the Court will take the following factors into consideration:

● The financial condition of the parties

● The ability to pay

● Testimony and evidence of experts

To make this request, the party seeking payment must include it in their case. A well-documented case as far as… Continue reading

The Impact of Social Media on Divorce

facebookFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites offer a way to keep in touch with out of state friends and family. Being able to share life experiences with the click of a button is convenient, but in some cases can cause more harm than good. For example, your postings about your case may be produced in court by the other side. Racy photos or inappropriate remarks may be all that a Judge needs to determine custody of your children should lie with your ex-spouse.

Social media’s impact on divorce can also be felt in the following areas:

● Discovery of assets

● Impact on the amount of support and/or alimony

● Visitation

● Your right to privacy

While sites like LinkedIn may prove fruitful for your career, they may also give your soon to be ex ammunition to impute income. Posting promotions… Continue reading

Alimony Reform

handing moneyPayment of alimony in Florida can have an element of permanency. Advocates on both sides of the financial equation are keeping their eye on possible reform to this structure. The issue is critical for both sides because for those that are making alimony payments, reform could mean an end to permanent payments. The issue? For those that receive, reform could mean an end to receiving permanent payments. We are ever mindful of the changing legislation that affects your financial stability in a divorce. We have experience representing both sides of this issue and offer sound advice for your position.

Alimony reform is a hot topic, but lawmakers have decided to table the issue. At least for 2014. Make no mistake, efforts to reform Florida’s outdated alimony payment structure will resurface. Some of the things to look for include:

● A reduction in long term… Continue reading

When to Use a CPA During Divorce

1040 Form (1)Most people agree that during divorce the single most important issue is the welfare of any children. A close second, or if no children were born of the marriage, is the issue of assets and property division. Some parties are able to peacefully divide their assets and liabilities, while other cases are found on the other end of the spectrum. Everything from failing to report income, to hiding assets can be uncovered during a divorce. In cases where the value of assets is significant, the parties are well advised to seek not only the advice of competent family law attorneys, but to also include an accountant on their team of professionals.


The benefit to using an accountant during divorce may depend on the amount of wealth of the parties. When suspicions of hidden assets arise, it is important to:

● Determine the… Continue reading

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.… 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… 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.


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… 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… Continue reading

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