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… 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
In 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
Ever 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
All 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
Making 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.
Divorce 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
It 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