Judges 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
A 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
For many, Halloween is a favorite holiday. Taking the kids to the pumpkin patches and hitting the streets with dressed up little beasts and princesses provides memories that last a lifetime. For others, often those who forget to include it in their time sharing agreement, Halloween is a missed opportunity to spend some fun time with the kids. Consider these three tips to ensure you don’t miss out!
1. When Drafting a Time Sharing Agreement in a Divorce or Paternity situation, be as specific as possible.
Often, parents draft Time Sharing Agreements when their children are very young. Many do so without speaking with an attorney first, in an effort to keep things cheap and simple. Keep in mind that these Agreements are intended to be binding… Continue reading
For 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
Alimony 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?
When 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
When 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
Child 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
Stories about how social media can impact a divorce proceeding are becoming more frequent. In most instances, the result is negative. This is due to the use of incriminating posts and photos on social media sites, which more and more Courts are allowing to be used as evidence in matters such as child support and visitation. But, there is a positive side to how technology affects your divorce case. Many sites exist that allow the parties to communicate and resolve issues when face to face conversations are either difficult to schedule or emotionally unpleasant.
Once such site, Sharekids.com, allows parents to schedule visitation and discuss important issues affecting their kids in a convenient and non-confrontational forum. Some important things to know about these types of sites include:
● Most include a nominal annual fee.
● Your ex-spouse may request the Court enter… Continue reading
When 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 the following factors:
● Actual proof that an employer… Continue reading