Family Law

Spousal Abuse and Divorce

Divorce can be an upsetting experience but when there is a history of spousal abuse, we are adding multiple legal, financial and emotional issues. From a legal point of view, you have certain rights if you have faced such a situation. You will need an experienced divorce Broward attorney to see that your rights are protected and you receive the full protection of the law. Getting Legal Protection: When faced with violence, you can seek protection from the law. The Court can order your abusive spouse to stay away. In order to do so, your lawyer will file an injunction or a restraining order. If the Court finds enough reason to believe that violence has been committed, the Court will issue a ‘Protection from Abuse’ Order. Violating any such Order will result in criminal charges. Effect of Abuse in Financial Matters: Distribution of property in Florida is based on the principle of “equitable distribution.”This means a fair distribution of assets. The Court will also consider abuse in deciding the matters. Effect of Abuse in Custody Matters: The Court’s priority lies in ensuring the wellbeing of the child. Keeping this in mind, the Court will determine whether a convicted parent should have any custody. Even without a conviction, the Court will consider any evidence that indicates a history of abuse. It’s a good idea to hire an experienced divorce Broward attorney in such cases. You will need to ensure that your case is watertight and all your evidence is correctly...

Why You Need Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial contracts were once considered as somewhat ‘amoral’; presuming that a marriage will end in divorce and thus increase the chances of couples seeking a divorce. However, prenuptial contracts proved to be critical in avoiding acrimonious settlements and allowing couples to decide their own terms in the event of a divorce. When drawing such an agreement, you must consult an experienced prenuptial Broward attorney. Prenuptial contracts can be tricky, but all essential elements must be observed to ensure that a contract is legal and enforceable. In the event of the other party challenging the agreement during a divorce, the necessity of a watertight agreement is critical. There are many reasons a prenuptial agreement is important: Protecting your assets: The agreement will clearly define the distribution of assets in a divorce. You can choose to protect all or part of your assets. Without the agreement, the Courts will distribute all marital assets in an equitable manner. Deciding your own terms: Many couples choose a prenuptial agreement so they can decide on their own financial destiny. It allows them to set the terms on who gets what, without involving the Courts. Deciding on alimony: Contrary to expectations, a prenuptial contract is not meant to simply protect your assets. Most prenuptial Browardagreements are drawn to achieve a fair distribution in the event of a divorce. Many contracts clearly define the amount of...

How to Safeguard Your Assets in a Divorce

Under Florida law, assets and liabilities are distributed in a fair and equitable manner in the event of a divorce. So, how does one protect one’s assets, especially premarital or inherited possessions or properties? The first step would be to hire anexcellentdivorce lawyer– someone experienced in property distribution duringdivorce. There are two main methods you can try to protect yourself: Keep your assets separate: The distribution of property applies to only marital assets. So, keep your other incomes or property completely separate. If you put your prior income into a joint account with your spouse, it becomes part of the marital property. Similarly, if you use marital assets, such as money from a joint account, for the maintenance or upkeep of your premarital property, it becomes a marital asset. Prenuptial/postnuptial agreements: This can also protect your incomes and assets post-marriage. Under such a contract, the couple comes to an agreement on the distribution of their assets and liabilities in the event of a divorce. This is becoming an increasingly common route to protect one’s assets. Couples with children often sign such contracts to protect their children’s inheritance. However, it is critical that both parties understand and agree to all the terms set in a pre- or post-nuptial contract. Hiring a divorce lawyer in Davie is highly recommended to assist in such situations.  ...

Division of Assets and Liabilities in a Florida Divorce

The most contentious issue in most divorce cases is the division of assets and liabilities. The court prefers if both parties can come to an amicable agreement to this distribution. If this is not possible, the court will step in. Whether it is an amicable or a court-imposedsolution, hiring a divorce attorney in Weston is critical to see that your interests are protected. Equitable distribution of assets The rule that governs the division of assets and liabilities is the equitable distribution of property. Unlike community property laws where assets and liabilities are equally divided between the divorcing parties, here the division is based on equitable distribution. It means that the assets and liabilities are to be divided among the two parties in a fair and equitable manner. “Fair and equitable manner” means that there are no set rules for the distribution of assets. The court will decide the distribution according to several factors. This makes the distribution of property one of the most keenly fought issues, one where a good divorce attorney is invaluable. There are two important factors to consider in this case: The distribution of property applies only to assets acquired after marriage. Assets owned prior to marriage are usually excluded, unless marital income was used to maintain or upkeep such assets or properties. This also includes the division of liabilities. Debts acquired during the marriage are also to be equally...

Infographic : Common Issues During the Divorce Process

The infographic below describes issues related to divorce: financial conditions, custody arrangements, and more.To begin the divorce process, one spouse will file a divorce petition, and then both spouses will come to an agreement that divides any property or responsibilities, including the custody of a child. Financial issues, such as dividing assets (i.e. bank and investment accounts), or dividing debts (i.e. credit card balances and loans) may arise. Spouses not only divide assets and liabilities amongst them, but also property. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, the courts will decide on how to distribute the assets. If the spouses can bring the court an agreement thatis considered fair for them, both spouses, and any children, it will likely be approved. To learn more information about the divorce process, refer to the infographic...

Getting Sole Custody in Florida

Although the courts no longer use this term, sole custody refers to the custody agreement where one parent has sole responsibility of their child or children. Typically, Florida courts will rarely award a parent with sole custody. The courts prefer to award shared parental responsibility where both parents have custody of their children, including time sharing and making decisions. If you are determined to fight for sole custody, you will need an experienced child custody attorney Westonto help you. In extreme cases, courts will usually reduce the rights of the other parent, including supervised visitations and less say in critical decisions. This is known as sole parental responsibility with limited time-sharing arrangement. Understanding sole parental responsibility Sole parental responsibility means making decisions or having the authority to overrule the other parent’s decision for your children. It mayalso grant the authority to decide how often, when, and where the other parent sees the child and who will be around to supervise the visit. The courts in Florida rarely award sole custody where the parental rights of one parent are terminated. The exception to this is in certain circumstances where one parent has provided compelling evidence that shows that the other parent is a danger to the child’s wellbeing. Some of these compelling situations are: When the parent has surrendered his or her rights When the child’s well-being is in danger under the supervision of the other parent When the parent is incarcerated When a parent has abandoned the child and has not attempted to get in touch When the child is adjunct dependent When there are extreme circumstances, like neglect...

How to Secure Your Assets During a Divorce

During a divorce Davie settlement, protecting one’s assets is a high priority for both parties. Since Florida enforces ‘equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities,’ your marital assets will be split according to what the court determines an equitable distribution to be. Here are the best ways that you can protect your assets in a divorce: Getting a prenuptial/postnuptial contract If you own substantial assets and properties or have a large income, most attorneys will recommend that you get a prenup before getting married. Doing this can help tremendously in a divorce case. You can also get a postnuptial contract after the marriage to further protect your assets; however, these agreements must be made legally and by an experienced attorney to avoid future complications. Protecting oneself If you do not get a prenup, there are other ways you can try to protect your assets. First, take an inventory of all the valuables and properties you own. Go through ownership pattern in properties and get these evaluated. Get proofs of gifts and inheritances. Make sure that all your business documents are properly documented and transparent. Hire an attorney Hire an experienced divorce Davie attorney. Having a lawyer’s assistance and experience in sorting your documents and determining what would be best for your situation can be a big help during a divorce. Whetheryour case goes to mediation or trial, you should have an experienced lawyer by your side to represent...

The Reality Of Equal Time Sharing

As the law stands today, equal time sharing is not presumed to be in the best interests of the children in all situations. I will however state that it is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. It is believed that frequent contact with both parents will result in better adjusted child. Of course, every case is different and as such, it is difficult to have a set rule for all cases. Parent’s work schedules, travel schedules and locations should be considered. A parent who must leave for work prior to a minor child having to wake up for school, could present a problem. A parent who does not have a set schedule such as pilots or firefighters also require some planning. Parents who choose to live a distance apart can also complicate the situation. Of course, the other factor which is always considered is child support and how equal time sharing affects the monthly amount to be paid. Child Support in Florida is based upon several factors, one of which is the number of overnights a minor child spends with each parent. An equal time-sharing schedule will result in a reduced amount of support, since it is presumed that each parent will have significant “out of pocket” expenses if each has an equal amount of time with the child. This concept of equal time sharing has existed for several years now. I have recently met with prospective clients who seem to share the same issue. A parent has equal time sharing pursuant to their Parenting Plan, but in reality, the parent is not actually exercising his/her 50%. The...

What You May Not Know About Common Law Marriages

What You May Not Know About Common Law Marriages The majority of my Family law practice is devoted to divorce (dissolution of marriage) cases. That however is not the only area of family law that I am involved in. There those cases which do not involve a marriage at all. Here is an example of what I am referring to. Let’s say a couple decides to live together and not get married. During their relationship they have a child, perhaps two. They stay together for several years even after the children are born, but they never get married. After a number of years they grow apart and decide to move on with their lives and separate. The question becomes, what issues might need to be addressed in this relationship. Many of us have heard the term, “Common Law Marriage”. In states that recognize Common Law Marriage, a couple who are together for a number of years are in essence presumed to be married and therefore certain issues would need to be addressed based upon their “break up”. Florida however does not recognize Common Law Marriages. If a couple has not entered into a state sanctioned marriage, whether it be in Florida or any other jurisdiction, they are not considered to be married in Florida. That can be significant in some cases.  Assets or debts will not be addressed in the family court. There will be no provision for spousal support. This is true no matter how many years the parties may have been together. If there are disputed property rights it will be determined in civil court by the...

The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

Last month I wrote an article about the anticipated changes in the alimony laws in Florida. This is a movement that has been in progress for several years. In 2013 both the State House and State Senate overwhelmingly passed an Alimony Reform bill, which was vetoed by Governor Scott just before the end of the legislative session. Since 2014 was an election year, the issue was not addressed. This year however it was everyone’s expectations that a reform bill would in fact finally be passed. The State House passed their version of the bill, which would have ended Permanent Alimony in this state. In addition, there were other changes in the law including certain guidelines that could be followed in computing the amount of alimony that could be awarded. The State Senate however had their own version of alimony reform, the main difference being a provision which was included that would have changed the time sharing law to a presumptive 50-50 division of time. This was not adopted by the House and before a compromise could be reached, the State House of Representatives ended their session early in protest over a totally unrelated issue. This action by the House was never seen before and ultimately was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court. The ruling however did not change the outcome, since the session had already ended. The result being that once again an Alimony Reform bill, which was overwhelmingly approved, did not become law. It is anticipated that this issue will be back before the legislature in 2016. In the meantime I thought it might be...