In Florida, the parties are required to prepare and submit a financial affidavit when seeking a divorce. An affidavit is a sworn statement, that the information contained therein is true and accurate. When divorcing, it is crucial to provide accurate information to the Court and to your ex-spouse. Anything less than full disclosure can cause serious consequences and may lead to undesirable results.
The form for the financial affidavit is provided by the Court, and completed by you along with the assistance of your attorney. There is a short form (for cases where income is under $50,000.00) and a long form. The long form is used when income exceeds $50,000.00 per year. Some things to consider when filling out either form are:
● Monthly Income: regardless of your pay frequency, the form calls… Continue reading
Entry of a divorce decree, and an order of annulment both end a “marriage”. The difference is that a divorce decree ends a legally recognized marriage while an annulment declares that the marriage was never valid or legal. The choice to request an annulment rather than file for divorce is different for everyone. For some, the reasons are based on religious beliefs, and for others an annulment is more desirable for financial reasons. Regardless of the reason for choosing an annulment versus filing for divorce does not mean you qualify for an annulment.
Florida law on annulments is sparse. However, there are common grounds for seeking an annulment, which include:
● Marriages entered into as a result of coercion or duress are not considered valid marriages and qualify for the annulment process.
● A marriage to a person suffering from… Continue reading
Deciding who gets what when a couple divorces is an emotionally charged issue. How property is divided among the parties depends on where you live. Some states are considered community property states, which means all property the couple acquired while married is considered equally owned by each spouse. When a couple files for divorce in a community property state, the property is divided in a 50/50 split.
The opposite of community property is called equitable distribution. Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means when parties divorce, the marital property is divided equitably. This does not mean equally, it means the Court will consider what is most fair when making its property division order. Some of the things the Court will consider when deciding a fair distribution of property include:
● Length of the marriage
● Each party’s contribution to… Continue reading
Mental health professionals agree that when families separate, the best interests of the children are served by parents that are able to present a united face to the kids even in the midst of divorce. However, not all parents are able to effectively co-parent and attempts to do so can cause more harm than good. If the parents are unable to act civilly when the children are present, other methods of parenting after divorce must be explored.
Psychological studies show parallel parenting to be a good choice for those parents that are unable to work as a parenting team after a divorce. Parallel parenting involves:
● The parties disengaging from each other for an initial time period by having limited interaction
● Assigning decision making authority over certain topical areas to different parents
This type of arrangement does not mean the parties are… Continue reading
When you file for divorce, your case is decided by the trial court. But the trial court doesn’t always get it right the first time, and appeals are sometimes needed. The process to file an appeal is detailed and in most instances an appeal can only be raised when certain legal irregularities exist. The process can be long, so if you are considering appealing an issue it is important that you are ready to be patient.
Filing an appeal is a viable option when you believe the trial court made an error. An appeal is not a new case and it not the place to try to introduce new evidence. The types of things an appeals court will consider when determining if a mistake was made include:
● The record of testimony given in the trial court
● The exhibits that the parties presented… Continue reading
Therapy, mediation, hard work, and other innovative methods can result in a divorce process that ends without Courtroom drama and nasty exchanges between the parties. One such method gaining popularity is collaborative divorce. This type of procedure works when the parties agree to full disclosure of information and to settle disputes outside of litigation.
Benefits to participation in collaborative divorce include less stress on the children by showing the parents are able to work as a team to resolve differences, even if the marriage is at its end. Another benefit is a potentially shortened process since the parties agree to be upfront with all information and disclosures. This eliminates the need to go on fishing expeditions to find assets or other information relevant to distribution of property. Also, news articles point out the financial benefits of collaborative divorce, such as:
● Lower attorney… Continue reading
The 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 some evidence of Florida Courts acknowledging separated couples. When making… Continue reading
Your driving record affects your life in more ways than just your ability to drive. A good record can mean lower insurance rates, and a higher credit score. Drivers with an accumulation of points on their records pay more for insurance and can face suspension of their driving privileges. In a mobile society, the ability to drive is a necessity. Going to and from work, taking the kids to Church and school, and being able to visit family and friends are all a part of well-rounded, happy life. Safeguard your right to drive by contacting one of the attorneys at Ferraro Law Group specializing in traffic violations.
Information about points on your driving record can obtained from the Florida Department of Highway and Safety and Motor Vehicles. For example:
● Various driving offenses are assigned a certain point value
● Once a certain number… Continue reading
Orders of the Court are serious documents. The parties are expected to follow the terms ordered by the Judge, and when violations occur the responsible reaction is to hold the party in violation accountable for their actions. Seeking an Order of Contempt can serve as a wakeup call to a non-compliant ex-spouse that you are serious about abiding by what the Court has ordered and will not tolerate deviations. The Ferraro Law Group knows that circumstances change, and strict adherence to support and other obligations may not always be feasible. However, the law provides avenues for seeking changes to orders rather than allowing for outright ignoring the terms in place. When one party makes the choice to disregard a Court order instead of seeking to have a change made, we fight for your rights to remain in place. One of the tools at our disposal… Continue reading
A divorce decree is meant to be the final document that sets forth the details of the divorce between the parties. However, things can change and the need to modify orders requires competent legal counsel. The Ferraro Law Group is staffed with experienced family law attorneys that fight for your rights during the divorce case, and when your needs change after the case reaches conclusion.
Common reasons for seeking a modification include:
● A new job/changed financial circumstances
● Sudden illness or increased childcare expenses
Florida law requires a substantial change in circumstances to make a modification to terms in the divorce decree; most notably when the change requested involves payment of child support. In fact, making a change to property or debt division once the case is final is typically not done. In today’s economy, the inclination is to think of a… Continue reading