The nature of divorce has historically been contentious. But in recent times, with the introduction of alternative methods such as collaborative divorce and mediation, an increasing number of divorce cases are considered “friendly”. In these types of cases it is tempting to proceed without the assistance of an attorney, but doing so can result in final orders that don’t fit your needs.
There are several reasons you should still use an attorney, even if you are mediating your case or consider your split amicable:
- An attorney will know if the terms you and your soon to be ex are legally binding.
- When you use an attorney to review the agreements made in mediation, or during conversations with your ex, you will learn if the requests made are valid.
- A legal eye can identify any missing items, or things you may have overlooked.
If you make… Continue reading
One 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
When you are served with divorce papers there are certain things you have to do, and other things that are voluntary. For example, you must file an Answer to the divorce petition, and you will be required to make mandatory financial disclosures to your ex. But, other actions are optional and require the competent counsel of a skilled family law attorney.
The Family Dissolution Act governs how a divorce case progresses. Some of the things to consider when answering a divorce petition include:
- The decision to include a counter petition with your answer.
- The counter petition includes your position on important issues contained in the divorce petition.
- It is not mandatory you file a counter petition with your answer, but doing so makes for a more expedient and efficient administration of your case.
The thing to remember about counter petitions is that they… Continue reading
When you are married, most decisions are made jointly. Which house to buy, where to vacation, and how to invest your money are high on the list of things couples decide together. But, after the marriage ends, those decisions are now yours and yours alone. If you have children, you will want to update your will and other estate planning documents to reflect your new single status.
The way your estate is distributed after your passing is governed by probate law. Some of the things you will want to take a second look at after a divorce include:
- Designation of beneficiaries: be sure and update your beneficiaries on life insurance policies and investment accounts after your divorce. Failure to make these changes could mean your ex-spouse still reaps the benefits of these policies.
- Your will and/or trust: any bequests made to… Continue reading
When the decision to end a marriage is made, the parties must go to Court to obtain a decree of divorce. The decree sets forth the terms of the divorce and specifically spells out decisions on important issues. Who gets the house, or a car are parts of a divorce decree; and where the children will live is also included in the decree. Division of assets and liabilities, and payment of child support are the financial aspects you can expect to see in your final divorce papers. The decree is like a blueprint for how the parties live post-divorce, as far as issues such as the children and property are concerned. But, getting there is a huge task.
Up until recently the law on child custody in Florida made determinations as to who is the primary caregiver, the secondary caregiver, and who has custody. This meant that for the non-custodial parent, issues of visitation also had to be decided. The result of this system was that parents were constantly in Court fighting over who got Thanksgiving and who got Christmas, and which house the children would call “home”. In an effort to find a way to siphon through the cases and reach solutions without the need for Court intervention at every turn, the Florida legislature recently changed the law.
The concept of time-sharing is now the law in Florida. Time-sharing requires the Court to consider many factors when formulating a plan, some of which include:
- The relationship between the parent and child, and the ability of the parent to develop a relationship.… Continue reading
It seems the story on the validity of same sex marriage changes every day. With some states banning same sex unions, then higher courts overturning those bans, it was only a matter of time before there was word on the issue from the U.S. Supreme Court. And, the word is in.
On October 6, 2014 the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision holding some state bans on same sex marriage constitutional. What this means is:
- The states that were seeking to uphold their bans on same sex marriage will not be allowed to present their case to the Supreme Court.
- This ruling gives validity to requests for marriages in the states that had previously denied applications for marriage to same sex couples.
Almost immediately couples in the impacted states began planning for their future. The first step… Continue reading
One 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
If 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
Part 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