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Minimize Conflict during Visitation

Posted on: October 12, 2015 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton divorce lawyerMany divorces end with some amount of acrimony between the ex-partners. However, Boca Raton divorce lawyer believe that it is important for both of the partners to continue to work together as parents to ensure that their children are not traumatized by the divorce. It is important for them to keep any negative feelings about the ex-spouse on the back burner.

Be respectful in your dealings with your ex-spouse. You don’t have to be overly friendly, or chatty. But you do need to be respectful. Remember, respect begets respect, and if your spouse sees you behaving in an agreeable manner, he’s likely to respond in a similar manner. Avoid common behaviors like cutting off your spouse and interrupting him. That is not respectful at all.

Even if your spouse decides to behave aggressively or hostile, remain cool, and calm. You don’t have to respond to every provocation by your ex-spouse. Remember, that you are not playing that game anymore. You are now divorced, and how your ex-spouse behaves is none of your business.

If you are going to drop your child at your ex-spouses home for a visit, then make sure that you do not intrude on his or her space by stepping into the home. Remain outside until you are invited in.

Keeping communication to a minimum is absolutely recommended when you are handing over a child, and you’ve just been through a hostile divorce. Sometimes, talking actually makes things worse. Restrict communication to e-mails, SMSs, or other telephone calls.

Remember, that if you get into an argument in front of the child, it is only likely to traumatize or upset the child further. It may be a good idea to bring along a family member or a friend, who is calm, and can help prevent you from losing your temper or getting into an argument.

The holidays can be especially tricky for parents who are sharing custody of their children. Your holiday schedule will be included in your visitation schedule, finalized as part of your divorce. However, it is important for you to communicate with your spouse, and plan out exactly how you will carry out the logistics involved in dividing the child’s time over the holidays.

If you’re planning a holiday with your child in deviance from the normal visitation agreement, ask your ex-spouse beforehand. Don’t simply change plans without giving the other person notice. Make sure that all of the plans that you make are communicated to your ex-spouse beforehand, to avoid any misunderstandings. Don’t change plans at the last minute.

Try to be cooperative with your ex-spouse if he or she wants to change holiday plans this season. Remember, there may be a time in the future when you want some accommodation made in the visitation schedule when you have holiday plans with your child, and if you accommodate your spouse’s request now, he or she is much more likely to be flexible later.

For help drafting a visitation schedule, schedule a consultation with a Boca Raton child custody lawyer.

Duties of the Noncustodial Parent

Posted on: October 5, 2015 by in Family Law
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Boca Raton family lawyer

A custodial parent is the parent who has sole physical custody of the child or the parent who the child lives with the majority of the time. In most divorces, the custodial parent is entitled to receive child support from the noncustodial parent. This is established to help the custodial parent pay for expenses that are incurred while raising the child. This is a legal obligation, and noncustodial parents are required, under the law, to continue to make the child support payments that have been determined as part of the youngster assist order.

Remember, failure to pay child support is a serious offense, and could pose serious legal challenges for you. The punishment for failure to pay court ordered child support includes fines and up to 6 months in prison (or both) for a first offense. For a second offense, or where youngster assist hasn’t been paid for more than 2 years, or the amount owing is more than $10,000, the punishment is a fine of up to $250,000 or 2 years in prison, or both. Therefore, it is important for you to completely understand all the aspects of your child assist obligations.

How Much Will Noncustodial Parents Have to Pay?

Florida law sets forth guidelines that help judges and attorneys to calculate what is a fair and equitable amount of child support. Child support amounts are determined by the monthly income received by each parent. A court may consider all of your income or your gross income before determining youngster assist. If you are involved in – or expect – a dispute over child support during or subsequent to a divorce in south Florida, obtain legal help immediately by contacting an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer. Of course, income is derived in a variety of ways. Florida law lists the following as sources of income in youngster support calculations, but income is not necessarily limited to:

  • salaries and wages
  • self-employment income
  • bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips, and similar payments
  • workers’ compensation benefits and settlements
  • disability and social security benefits
  • unemployment or reemployment benefits
  • pension, retirement, or annuity payments
  • alimony received from this or another court action
  • interest and dividends from any and all accounts
  • rental income and other gains derived from real estate dealings
  • income from royalties, trusts, or estates
  • reimbursed expenses or in kind payments that reduce living expenses

Child support payments may be determined using a calculator, but in some cases, exceptions may be made to the guidelines. In some cases, for instance, adherence to the guidelines may provide a child support payment that may not take care of the needs of the youngster. In such cases, the court may use its discretion, and may consider several factors to deviate from the existing guidelines to award a child support payment that is above or below the norm.

If you divorce with children, you’ll need an attorney who can negotiate a fair and appropriate child support agreement. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, you’ll need an attorney to protect you and your child as the matter goes before a judge. With something as vital as your child’s future, you can’t take any chances by acting as your own attorney or by retaining an attorney who is not a family law expert. Select a Boca Raton divorce lawyer who will fight on behalf of you and your youngster and make sure that justice prevails. If you are divorcing or about to divorce in south Florida, make the call now.

How Long Will the Noncustodial Parent Have to Pay?

In Florida, you will be required to pay youngster assist at least under the child reaches the age of 18. Child support payments must continue until this time. However in some cases, the court may actually require that child assist payments continue even after the child reaches the age of 18. In some cases, you may actually find that your child support obligations are terminated before the youngster turns 18 years of age.

Death of the child automatically terminates child assist obligations. If the child marries, your obligation to provide child support ends. If the youngster is emancipated before the age of 18, your child support obligations no longer exist.

In other cases, you may find that you may have to continue making child assist payments beyond the original agreement. For instance, if the child suffers from a disability that requires extended medical treatment, you may have to continue paying youngster assist. If there is any change in the income of the noncustodial parent, you may have to continue making child support payments.

Remember, the court may consider the unique circumstances of the case, and will make a decision based on these. There may several other reasons based on which a court may require you to continue making child support payments.

If you have questions about youngster support, and specifically, how long you will have to make child support payments, speak to a Boca Raton family lawyer. If you need advice about how you can get a child support order modified to fit any change in your financial circumstances, speak with a Boca Raton family lawyer.

As the noncustodial parent, the law requires you to make your youngster assist payments on time. Remember, that nonpayment of child support is an offense, and could result in a number of penalties against you. You could have your support amount deducted from paychecks, or could have your driver’s license or fishing license suspended. You could even be held in contempt of court for failure to adhere to the court order determining youngster support payments.

Apart from making child support payments promptly every month, you are also required to cooperate with the Florida Child Support Enforcement Program and Boca Raton family lawyer. You must also notify the youngster assist enforcement program and the court when you change your job, or move away from your current address. If you are aware of medical insurance that could possibly cover your child, you must intimate the Child Support Enforcement Program about this.

Remember, your failure to pay child support payments could well result in an arrest warrant being issued against you. Speak to a Boca Raton family lawyer for answers to your questions about youngster support payments as a noncustodial parent.

Is It Possible to Get Child Support Modified?

Posted on: September 25, 2015 by in Family Law
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Boca Raton family lawyer

Child support payments once determined are not easy to change. However, if there are circumstances that call for a revision of the child support payments, then modifications can be made to the order.

It isn’t easy or simple to change youngster assist. If you are the paying parent and want a child-support modification that will help you get payments lowered, then you must be able to provide a valid reason for the court to agree to lower the child payments. If you are the custodial parent receiving payments, and want an increase, then you must provide a valid reason for the court to order an increase in payments.

How Can I Lower My Child Support Payments?

If there are financial changes in the circumstances of the parent making the youngster assist payments, the parent can apply for a modification of the child-support decree. For example, loss of a job, severe losses in business, or a disability that makes it difficult for him to continue making payments may be considered as valid reasons for modification of child support.

On the other hand, you might have a case for getting your child support payments lowered if your ex-spouse is now making much more money than earlier. If your ex-spouse has recently changed jobs, which now leaves her or him with much more income to care for the youngster, you may ask the court to decrease your youngster assist obligations.

In other cases, there may be changes in the child’s situation that call for a modification of child support. Certain child-support expenses may be unnecessary because the child has grown out of certain needs that were included in the earlier youngster assist order. For instance, if the child is no longer attending day care, then a child-support modification may be called for in order to lower the support.

To determine how you can ask the court to decrease your youngster assist payments, get in touch with a family lawyer in Boca Raton. Remember, modifications are not granted by the court easily. Discuss your case with a family lawyer in Boca Raton today.

Can My Spouse Ask For More Child Support?

Child support payments are determined at the time of finalizing a divorce decree. Once the terms of the child-support have been finalized, it is very difficult to make changes to these. You can in some cases however, apply for modification of youngster assist payments. Remember that this is a complicated process, and a court will require that you provide plenty of evidence to establish that you are eligible for an increase in child support. For help understanding if a modification of child-support is possible in your case, discuss with a Boca Raton family lawyer.

If your ex-spouse is now earning more and enjoys stronger financial circumstances than at the time of the child-support determination, you may file a petition for modification of child-support, in order to get your child-support increased. Speak to a family lawyer about how you can file for a a modification of youngster support.

Remember, for the court to agree to modification of youngster assist, it must find substantial evidence to indicate that there has been a change in the financial circumstances of the family, since the original child support order was passed, which allow for a modification of the youngster support payments.

Change in your ex-spouse’s financial circumstances may be the result a promotion at work, launch of a new business, increased profits in business and so on. Speak to family lawyer to learn whether you qualify for a modification of child support.

There may be other circumstances too in which you may be able to claim an increase in youngster assist. For instance, if you have recently lost your job or have suffered financial losses, you may want to petition for additional support. Speak to a Boca Raton family lawyer to learn how you can begin the process of asking for a modification.

What Happens if I Fall Behind On Child Support Payments?

Owing back child support payments can derail any efforts to reduce the amount of those payments in the future. The punishment for failure to pay court ordered child support includes fines and up to 6 months in prison (or both) for a first offense. For a second offense, or where child support hasn’t been paid for more than 2 years, or the amount owing is more than $10,000, the punishment is a fine of up to $250,000 or 2 years in prison, or both.

Sometimes, people make the mistake of withholding visitation if their spouse is behind on child support payments. Remember, this is actually illegal. Under the law, child support and child custody are treated as two separate issues, and you cannot punish or penalize your spouse based on his failure to adhere to the terms of your child support agreement by violating the terms of the visitation agreement that you have with him or her. You cannot simply withhold visitation rights because of the delayed payments. Similarly, if your spouse is not a complying with certain terms of the visitation schedule, or denying you access to the child, you cannot simply stop making child support payments. It is against the law to do so.

If you are paying child support and your circumstances change, do not make the decision to just stop paying. Contact a Boca Raton family law attorney at once and seek a modification of your child support responsibilities. If you wait to seek a modification, it will not be retroactive, and once you fall behind, in many cases you may no longer qualify for a modification. Requesting a modification of child support can be quite complicated; for starters, several forms of proof that you qualify for a modification will be required. If you need to have your child support modified in south Florida – or if your ex is requesting a child support modification and you need to challenge that request – don’t wait. Arrange to speak with an experienced Boca Raton family law attorney as quickly as possible.

Should You Take Your Divorce to Court?

Posted on: September 21, 2015 by in Family Law
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If you and your spouse are considering divorce in south Florida, you may be wondering if Florida requires you to have “grounds” for a divorce. In the past, obtaining a divorce was far more complicated than it is today – and it’s still not easy now. However, you aren’t required to provide “grounds” for divorce to a divorce court. Married couples in Florida may divorce if that is one partner’s decision, and no legal grounds or reasons are required beyond your desire to dissolution. In south Florida, before you take any legal action to initiate a divorce, first discuss your rights and circumstances with an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

People may dissolve a marriage for any reason that applies to them in Florida, and they don’t have to prove that their partner was cruel, abusive, or adulterous. However, if you are involved in a contested dissolution, you will require the help of an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly in the divorce process. If you and the partner you are divorcing are the parents of one or more minor children, your attorney can help you create a parenting plan and help you deal with child support, custody, and visitation issues. Your legal rights, your financial interests, and the best interests of your children are among the factors that must be considered.

Finally, you need an attorney who is sensitive to the volatile and emotional issues that can emerge in a divorce proceeding – someone who will treat you with complete dignity, fight hard for justice on your behalf, and offer you every professional courtesy and consideration. If you are considering dissolution in the Boca Raton area or anywhere in south Florida – or if you are the partner who is “being divorced” – consult with a trustworthy and experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer as quickly as possible.

How Long Does it Take to Get A Divorce in Florida?

If you are filing for an uncontested dissolution in which you and your spouse agree on matters like spousal maintenance, division of assets, child support, child custody, visitation and other aspects of the divorce, then you may be able to get a divorce much quicker. Typically, a dissolution as simple as this can be finalized in under five weeks’ time.

However, if your divorce is a contested dissolution, in which the two of you are unable to come to an agreement on all of these important matters, the court may have to step in to deliver a verdict. These types of divorces take much longer. Typically, a divorce that goes to court takes at least six months, or maybe even longer. Remember, if you have a hostile spouse, who is intent on making things as difficult for you as possible, then you can expect to spend several months going to and from the courthouse.

That’s why it’s best for you to try to settle your issues using the help of a Boca Raton family lawyer. Use a mediation service that will help you and your spouse resolve your issues, and come to an agreement on important aspects related to the divorce.

For help resolving divorce-related issues like alimony, child support, child custody, visitation and other matters, speak to a Boca Raton family lawyer.

Should You Take Your Divorce to Court?

During the early stages of a divorce, you may be in an aggressive mood, and may be hurting or feeling resentful. In a situation like this, you may be agreeable to taking the case to court. Some marriages end in more-or-less simple divorces, and the ex-partners are able to work out their differences and reach agreements on their own. Other couples, however, have a tougher time. Divorces involving extensive financial assets can sometimes take months when specialists have to sort out the details of who gets what. Divorce attorneys collaborate with forensic accountants, valuation experts, real estate appraisers, and other specialists as the circumstances warrant to come to a final solution. Then the attorneys try to negotiate a dissolution agreement. However, it is important to remember that 9 out of 10 divorce cases are settled out of court. In fact, even most cases in which a couple does decide to take their case to court get settled before the trial date.

There are numerous reasons for this. For one thing, a settlement is easier on everyone concerned. If you can afford to compromise on some of the things that don’t matter as much, and if you can get your way on all of those aspects of the dissolution that matter the most you, then go in for a settlement. Speak to a Boca Raton family lawyer, and take some time to decide whether you really want to prolong dissolution proceedings with a trial.

When the other partner simply refuses to negotiate fairly and leaves open no possibility for a compromise, you still need to ask yourself some questions. Will going to trial cost more than accepting a settlement you don’t like? Will a trial negatively impact your children? When your divorce goes to trial, you’ll have no more ability to negotiate. Are you willing to endure the length of a trial and accept whatever ruling the court delivers?

Remember, a trial in court is not just time-consuming, but also expensive. It takes money to conduct investigations, hire detectives, and conduct all of the budget analyses that will be involved in a trial. A trial doesn’t allow you to keep any aspect of your life private.

You should not agree to something that’s unfair just to avoid the difficulties of a trial. Just be certain that you are taking a realistic view of your situation and that you’re heeding the advice of a trustworthy divorce attorney. You have a right to justice, and an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney can advocate aggressively on your behalf during negotiations, and if necessary, during a trial as well. If you are divorcing in south Florida, don’t wait to make the call.

What Is a Postnuptial Agreement and Why Should You Get One?

Posted on: August 24, 2015 by in Family Law
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Boca Raton family lawyer

You may have heard of prenuptial agreements, but have you heard of postnuptial agreements? A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract that a couple signs after they have completed their nuptials. This is in contrast to a prenuptial agreement or premarital contract which is agreed upon and signed before the couple gets married.

Who needs a postnuptial agreement? If you have omitted or failed to get a prenuptial agreement, and are now regretting that move, then it may be time to initiate a conversation about that agreement with your spouse. This happens frequently when couples decide to get married quickly, leaving little time for them to think of having a prenuptial agreement made by their attorneys.

A postnuptial agreement can be used to determine how the financial assets of the couple will be settled if there is a divorce or separation. You can determine how to divide marital property and how to determine separate property. Both parties must agree on the division of assets outlined in the agreement.

Florida, like every other state, is now a “no-fault divorce” state. It takes only one partner to affirm that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Fault may still enter into the case, however. Divorces in Florida may be contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, there are no disputes between the spouses regarding child support, child custody, child visitation, the division of property and debts, and the alimony question. When nothing is in dispute, an uncontested divorce can be accomplished sometimes in less than six weeks. If the divorce is contested, and a judge has to settle disputes, a divorce in Florida can take six months or more and up to a year in counties where the courts are backlogged. Most divorcing Florida spouses settle their disputes privately or with the help of a neutral mediator.

Florida follows the theory of equitable distribution. In the event of a divorce, the court will make an “equitable” distribution of the property and assets of the marriage based on the circumstances of the parties. The nuptial agreement, for protection of assets, in the event of divorce makes sure property is distributed how the couple agreed.

To provide for the distribution of the parties’ assets in the event of the death of a party is a provision that ensures both parties assets are protected in the event of one party’s death. Another section of the postnuptial agreement, to delineate the obligations of each party during the marriage is a provision to address which party is responsible for certain expenses, if the parties must file joint federal income tax returns, etc.

It is also very common for couples to include certain provisions like the division of household expenses in a postnuptial agreement. These are not matters that you may have considered in the run-up to the nuptials, but now that you find yourself bearing a bigger share of the household expenses than your spouse, it may be time to get a contract in which you clearly spell out what kind of expenses you are both responsible for.

A postnuptial agreement may not be easily used to determine child custody. These are matters that the court will typically determine based on the best interests of the child, and not what the couple had in mind at the time of the agreement.

One thing that is similar between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement-both of these must be reviewed by a Boca Raton family lawyer before you go ahead and sign the contract.

With a postnuptial agreement, you can live in a marriage with complete confidence that your interests will be protected even if your dreams and your marriage eventually collapse. While postnuptial agreements are popularly thought of as “unromantic,” the freedom and confidence that a postnuptial agreement provides lets you pursue and enjoy your marriage without the uncertainties and anxieties that many couples live with for years after their wedding. If you are planning a wedding, about to propose to someone, or have already married, consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

For help drafting a postnuptial agreement, and reviewing your contract, schedule a consultation with a Boca Raton family lawyer.

Can A Court Dismiss Your Postnuptial Agreement?

There are certain cases in which a court may hold a postnuptial agreement to be invalid. For instance, if the court has reasons to believe that the postnuptial agreement was signed only after one party had already made the decision to divorce, it might find that the agreement was fraudulent. The court might throw out the agreement.

Remember, the postnuptial agreement is signed after the marriage. One partner has the option of canceling the wedding if he or she does not like the terms of the prenup. That can’t happen in a postnuptial agreement, because both the partners are already legally tied to each other when they sign a post-nup. A court may consider these factors and may critically examine the coercion factor before it decides whether a postnuptial agreement is valid. Because of this, it’s important that each party in the marriage has their own legal counsel when crafting and agreeing to the terms of a postnuptial agreement. If you are both represented by attorneys, you could argue that you were both fully aware of the terms of the postnuptial agreement and there was no coercion factor in play. 

Tina L. Lewert is a skilled negotiator and an accomplished trial lawyer as well as a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator. This unique combination gives her clients the advantages they need when creating postnuptial agreements and enforcing them after an unexpected divorce. Tina L. Lewert will ensure that the postnuptial agreement states that you are receiving everything that you deserve in the event of a divorce. At Lewert Law, we can explain your options, protect your rights and assets, and help you take the right steps toward a brighter future. We invite you to schedule an appointment by phone at 561-220-0123 or by e-mail through this website to discuss your needs, options, and legal rights as quickly as possible.

Property & Debt Distribution in Florida Divorce

Posted on: August 19, 2015 by in Family Law
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Boca Raton Asset Division Lawyer

When you are getting a divorce, there are usually a lot of questions regarding property and debt distribution in Florida. Questions like how is property distributed, who is responsible for debts, and how pension are and retirement assets are divided is a real concern for many divorcing couples. It is always a good idea to consult with a Boca Raton asset division lawyer so you can protect yourself during a divorce.

In Florida, property that is acquired during the course of the marriage is divided equally. Whose name it is in doesn’t matter. Even businesses will be split in half, including good will, equipment, accounts receivable, etc. In regards to bills and debt, the courts generally rule that they be split equally too. There could be some changes to that if one party created some unnecessary debt.

When it comes to pension and retirement assets, they are divided equally but this can be a cumbersome process. It is time to consult with a Boca Raton asset division lawyer to avoid penalties, taxes, and liabilities for early withdrawal. In some cases, one spouse may have reason to believe that the other is hiding or spending assets. When this happens, your asset division lawyer will be a great asset to have.

It is possible to get an injunction that stops your spouse from hiding or misusing assets. Records can be subpoenaed to uncover what assets there are and to locate them. There are a few different things that the courts will do to ensure you receive what was taken from you. The division of assets and debt in Florida is a complicated process.

Who Gets the Pet?

Unfortunately, Florida does not provide for custody, timesharing, visitation, or any other approach to the pets except as property. If you keep the family dog, your ex-spouse gets an equitable asset from the marital property to offset the “loss.” It may not matter if you are listed as the sole registered owner of the pet; if the pet was purchased during the marriage, it will be considered marital property. However, if you are the sole registered owner and you owned the pet prior to the marriage, the pet will probably be considered your personal property.

Pet owners about to marry should draft a prenuptial agreement that spells out precisely who gets the pets in a divorce and how the costs of veterinary treatment and other expenses will be handled. Having the fate of the family pets decided in advance and in writing will help you avoid acrimony and heartache in the future.

Who Gets the Marital Home?

If your house is considered marital property, the courts will require you to divide the house in an equitable manner. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the distribution will be equal, but it is expected to be fair. If you and your spouse cannot come to agreement on what to do with the marital home, the courts will step in.

The courts typically take into consideration a number of factors, including the length and duration of the marriage, the financial circumstances of each spouse, whether a spouse has contributed to the career or education of the other spouse, individual contribution to the marital income, enhancing of marital assets, and a number of other factors before deciding how the marital house is to be divided.

Boca Raton divorce lawyers however encourage spouses to come to a mutual agreement about the division of this very important asset. The house is typically an expensive asset, and in many cases, is probably the most expensive asset the couple owns. It also has significant emotional value not just for the spouses, but also their children. Remember that it is important to consider the tax implications of retaining the house. There are also several expenses associated with retaining the house that you want to keep in mind. For instance, you will be responsible for paying property taxes, and will also have to spend on upkeep, maintenance, and other expenses.

How to Divide Retirement Funds and Pensions

In most cases, retirement accounts and pensions will be divided between the parties as part of the divorce, but is important to understand that the entire value of a particular plan or pension is not necessarily marital property subject to division. Instead, only that part of the plan that was earned during the marriage is subject to division. Courts use various methods to come up with the amount earned during the marriage, and these factors may be considered:

  • the duration of the marriage
  • the economic circumstances of each spouse
  • each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
  • each spouse’s debts and liabilities

One thing you’ll absolutely need going into a south Florida divorce is a trustworthy Florida divorce attorney, someone you can speak with candidly about your divorce and your long-term goals and interests.

How to Divide Gifts Within Marriage

The court reasons that any property that was acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. However, what happens to those gifts that you received from your spouse? Are they considered marital property or separate property?

The answer is that these gifts may be considered marital property. Your spouse may have gifted them to you, and they may be titled in your name. For instance, if your spouse gifted you a car last Christmas, and it is titled in your name, you may find that the court will consider this to be marital property and not separate property even though it is titled in your name and even though you were gifted the car. The car is considered marital property, even if your spouse is the one using the car most of the time.

This law works out to the benefit of the person who gave the gift, because the gift is now considered marital property and must be divided equally between the spouses. However, if you are the one who received the gift, the law isn’t so beneficial for you, and you may have to exchange the asset for another asset of equal value with your spouse.

How to Divide An Art Collection

When you have a large art collection that you must divide with your spouse during a divorce, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Remember, your collection is not just a financially valuable asset, but may also have great emotional value for you, which makes it such a critically important asset.

Dividing art may not be as simple as you and your spouse choosing the pieces that are nearest to your hearts. Remember, there may be more than a few pieces that have emotional significance for both of you. There may also be pieces that have now increased in value significantly, and you are likely to argue over the division of these pieces.

First, get an appraisal of your collection. You can get an appraisal conducted by a professional art appraiser, who is neutral, or you might have your own appraisals done individually.

Once you have an appraisal of the value of each of the pieces in your collection, then it is time to begin negotiating over the division. Remember, that you will have to offer assets in exchange for valuable pieces of art. For example, you may have to give up your rights to an investment account in order to get access to an expensive painting.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your collection has not only increased in value over the years, but will also likely increase in value over the future. Keep this in mind before you decide to exchange any of your assets for important pieces in the collection.

Consult with an experienced Boca Raton asset division lawyer with specialized knowledge and considerable expertise in the division of assets and liabilities. Contact the law offices of Lewert Law in the Boca Raton area. Call 561-220-0123.

Child Support in Florida

Posted on: August 14, 2015 by in Family Law
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Boca Raton Child Support Lawyer

All 50 states and the District of Columbia, will order child support for children of divorced or never married couples. The laws are designed to make sure that children get the support they need. Both spouses under Florida law have a financial responsibility towards their children. They have the responsibility to provide for the expenses of the children, and support the children according to their means and income. If you are eligible to pay youngster assist, your responsibility to pay child support will end when the child turns 18 years of age. However, in some cases, youngster assist may be extended beyond the age of 18.

How is Child Support Calculated?

Child support payments are based on a pre-existing formula. The formula will take into consideration a number of factors to determine the payments that the parent will have to make. Those factors will include net income of the parents. Net income here could include not just the amount the parents earn from their jobs, in terms of wages and salaries, but also bonuses, overtime, tips, business income, profits, disability benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, pension benefits, retirement benefits, Social Security benefits, and a number of other types of benefits, which are all at considered as income.

The court will also include expenses of the parents, like health insurance premiums, and daycare costs. Other factors, like the number of overnights that the child spends with each parent, will also be factored into the determination of youngster assist. Besides, the court will also consider whether the person paying the child support has other children from a previous relationship that he is financially responsible for, or children living with him or her.

What Happens If A Parent Stops Paying Child Support?

Years ago, it was too easy for deadbeat parents to skip out on their financial obligation but new laws have replaced old ones, so it is harder for deadbeats.

While it is harder to avoid paying child assist, it sometimes takes the help of an experienced Boca Raton child support lawyer to push the envelope and get the ball rolling. Federal, state and local agencies have powerful child-support collection tools at their disposal but many times it takes very lengthy waits before you can get in front of the right person who can make this happen.

Once a youngster assist order is established and approved by a judge, it becomes official. If both parents cannot agree on a set amount for support then you should hire an experienced Boca Raton child support lawyer to file a request for a child support order. Once established, a youngster assist order must be obeyed. Under Florida law, you may claim child support either in the form of cash payments, or in other ways. For instance, youngster assist payments can take the form of insurance, payment of medical expenses, and other expenses. If the support order is not enforced then an attorney can help. Some of the ways to enforce support include:

  • Wage Deductions
  • Federal Income Tax Intercepts
  • License Suspensions and Revocations
  • Passport Restrictions
  • Contempt of Court

Penalties for Not Paying Child Support

Sometimes, people make the mistake of withholding visitation if their spouse is behind on child support payments. Remember, this is actually illegal. Under the law, child assist and child custody are treated as two separate issues, and you cannot punish or penalize your spouse based on his failure to adhere to the terms of your child support agreement by violating the terms of the visitation agreement that you have with him or her. You cannot simply withhold visitation rights because of the delayed payments. Similarly, if your spouse is not a complying with certain terms of the visitation schedule, or denying you access to the child, you cannot simply stop making youngster assist payments. It is against the law to do so.

The punishment for failure to pay court ordered child assist includes fines and up to 6 months in prison (or both) for a first offense. For a second offense, or where youngster assist hasn’t been paid for more than 2 years, or the amount owing is more than $10,000, the punishment is a fine of up to $250,000 or 2 years in prison, or both.

Child Support After Remarriage

If you reside in Florida and are receiving youngster assist, spousal assist, or both it is understandable that you may have some reservations about getting remarried. Florida law, along with most other states does not include the new spouse’s income when making a support order. The law sees that it is the parents who should support the children. So, while the monthly obligations and payments of both parents are taken into consideration, the new spouse’s income is not added it. There are some exceptions to this rule.

In extraordinary cases such as unemployment, underemployment, income reduction, and/or other reliance upon a new spouse’s income the court may include the new spouse’s income if it can be proven that the children would suffer extreme hardship without adding the new spouse’s income. Most of the time, the new spouse is excluded because the law has determined that the new spouse has no legal obligation for the financial assist of stepchildren. There is no legal responsibility to the new spouse although they may help meet needs of children on a voluntary basis.

In Illinois, the courts may decide to consider income of a parent’s new spouse on an equitable basis when determining child support. Child support payments can also be affected by the addition of children to the non-custodial parent’s household. Monthly payments may possibly decrease with additional children to support. If the child starts to spend more time with the non-custodial parent after they remarry then it is possible for child support to decrease.

If you are in the Boca Raton area and need help with a youngster assist order, call the Law Offices of Lewert Law for a free consultation with an experienced Boca Raton child support attorney. This law office has years of family law experience, including child support enforcement. Call 561-220-0123.

Alimony Orders in Florida

Posted on: August 3, 2015 by in Family Law
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Boca Raton Cohabitation Lawyer

Divorces can be stressful and emotionally draining, especially when you begin to think of the financial repercussions of calling it quits. You may wonder how you will survive without your significant other, since he or she was the breadwinner in the relationship. Luckily, spouses can receive alimony or spousal support from their ex-spouse in order to maintain their standard of living. Alimony can also be used to help bridge the gap between married and single life.

Think alimony and odds are you will imagine a husband paying a wife, in the event of a divorce, so that she can remain economically balanced. Things have changed and this is no longer always the case. Alimony reform is alive and well and it is just as feasible for a wife to pay the husband spousal support.

Alimony in Florida

If you reside in the state of Florida, you may have heard about the “Alimony Reform Bill” more officially known as Bill No. 718. The passing of this bill in 2013 was extremely controversial. With it came some major changes to the system in place that many saw as a drastic lopsided in fairness. It revised factors for consideration when determining alimony awards, eliminated the consideration of the standard of living, and did away with permanent alimony.

The spouse seeking financial support was left to prove why they deserved it and there was a new, tougher system, put in place to calculate alimony payments. The bill also established a presumption for 50/50 timesharing of children, banned alimony modification, and made the changes retroactive back to July 2013. The fight has been on to further reform the alimony laws in Florida, however so far, no changes have been made.

One bill that attempted to change alimony was House Bill 943. Introduced by State Rep. Colleen Burton (R-Polk County), House Bill 943 would end permanent financial support and allow those now paying to enjoy their retirements without having to pay any longer.

Along with the abolition of permanent alimony and the right to reduce or cease paying financial support at retirement, the proposal also specifies a formula that judges would be required to use when calculating alimony agreements. House Bill 943 also addresses the matter of subsequent spouses. Today, if someone who pays alimony remarries, and the new spouse brings an income into the marriage, that amount can be considered “eligible” income if the alimony-receiving ex-spouse seeks an upward modification.

Another important provision of House Bill 943: Currently, an upward modification can be requested if an alimony payer’s annual income increases. The proposal in House Bill 943 would prevent financial support payers from being taken to court again simply because they’ve earned a raise.

Because House Bill 943 never became law, the alimony laws in Florida remain the same. Florida courts take several factors into consideration, and gender is not one of them. Florida courts want to know:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Length of the separation
  • Age of each spouse
  • Relative income of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity
  • Each spouse’s health
  • Why the marriage is ending
  • Future financial projections of each spouse

Once these factors are assessed, the courts will then use the following factors to render their final decision:

  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The age of and emotional and physical conditions of each spouse
  • The financial resources and assets of each party
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage
  • The earning capacities and educational levels of each party
  • Roles and responsibilities of each spouse
  • Tax consequences

It is in your best interest to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer prior to any final decisions being made by the Florida Family Courts. Florida law provides for five different types of alimony. You should consult with a Boca Raton cohabitation lawyer to make sure that you understand fully how your future will be affected.

You may also need to request a modification or termination to your alimony agreement when circumstances change in your personal life. Contact Lewert Law Offices today at 561-220-0123, when you need advice on what the next step should be, in regards to your alimony order.

Can Adultery Be A Factor When Determining Alimony Payments?

In exceptional circumstances, the court may also consider marital misconduct by the spouses when it determines alimony payments. Marital misconduct could include any form of alleged adultery. So therefore, even if you your adultery cannot be used as a grounds for divorce – Florida is a no-fault divorce state and you do not have to prove your spouse’s fault to get a divorce – you might find that the adultery affects your alimony payments in some cases.

For instance, if your spouse was carrying on an adulterous affair, and bought expensive or extravagant gifts for his or her lover during the affair, then a court may consider that the adultery has resulted in financial distress to you and award you more in alimony or spousal support payments.

Determining exactly how the adultery has caused you financial harm can be challenging, but it can be done with the help of an experienced Boca Raton alimony attorney. If your spouse cheated on you, and you want to know whether this can have an impact on the alimony that you collect, speak to a Boca Raton divorce lawyer. For more divorce-related advice, schedule a consultation with Boca Raton divorce lawyer today.

Do You Have To Go To Court?

If you and your spouse have already agreed on the terms of your separation, you may not have to ever appear in front of a judge. However, most couples cannot come to an agreement and instead argue about the amount of alimony or spousal support that needs to be paid, and in these circumstances, a judge may need to step in and make the decision for the couple.

Couples with prenuptial or postnuptial agreements typically already have decided how to pay alimony or spousal support. However, couples that do not have these legal documents will need to work together, with an attorney and perhaps even a judge, to determine what amount of alimony needs to be paid.

Parental Responsibility in Boca Raton

Posted on: July 10, 2015 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton Parental Responsibility LawyerWhen it comes to parental rights and responsibilities and youngster tutelage, Florida law determines what is best for the children per the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The laws in each state are different and designed to address both the legal and physical care of children whose parents are divorcing or for parents that have never been married.

The youngster tutelage laws in Florida work to establish which parent gets legal and physical custody. That parent will have primary care, control, and maintenance of the child. This means they will make all of the educational, religious, medical, and disciplinary decisions pertaining to that child.

Florida law grants sole custody and joint custody. Sole custody allows just one parent to have legal and physical custody whereas joint custody allows both parents to share the responsibility and make decisions together regarding the child. Even so, one parent is named the primary joint custodian and the other parent is granted visitation so the child has a primary residence, school, and a designated primary physician.

Florida law has laws regarding youngster tutelage and child support and regulates them to protect the child first, then the parent. It is wise to seek help from a qualified Boca Raton youngster tutelage lawyer to insure the best outcome for all involved. If your youngster tutelage case is brought to trial you will need to rely on your Boca Raton youngster tutelage lawyer to understand the Florida youngster tutelage laws and to act in your best interest.

Before you can be awarded custody of your child, you must establish paternity if necessary. Although many people think of paternity tests as a way to disprove that a man is the father of a child, paternity testing is also used by men seeking to legally establish their fatherhood and their paternal rights.

If you are a father, and if your paternity has not been not established through testing, it’s possible that you could you could lose your parental rights, and if you are denied your basic rights as a father, your child and your relationship with that child could be forever damaged. If your child’s mother challenges your paternity action, you must be represented by a Florida family lawyer who understands paternity cases and who will advocate aggressively on your behalf.

The court believes it is important in most cases that both parents are included in making major decisions for their child and that both parents play a significant role in a child’s life after a divorce. Remember, you have options and you have rights.

A paternity or child custody case can be complicated legally and highly-charged emotionally. Whether you are trying to prove that you are a father, or establish or modify a youngster tutelage order, it’s important that you seek legal assistance from an experienced attorney. Get the knowledgeable and trustworthy legal help you need regarding any paternity action or youngster tutelage orders by contacting an experienced Boca Raton child custody attorney as quickly as possible.

Florida’s Divorce Law

Posted on: July 6, 2015 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer

If you want to divorce your spouse and live in Florida there are a few requirements you should be aware of first. You will want to get acquainted with these before you really consider a dissolution. In most divorce cases it is in your best interest to seek the help of a qualified Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

The process of a dissolution can be both emotional and confusing. It is always best to know the requirements before you begin. To be able to file for a Florida dissolution, at least one spouse must be a resident of the state or a member of an armed force stationed in the state. You both must agree that there are “irreconcilable differences” and you want to dissolve the marriage. If one contests the dissolution then it is common for courts to order some type of counseling before a few months before granting the dissolution.

Divorce proceedings can go rather smooth as long as both parties agree on how to divide property, debt and responsibilities for any children. If not, the case will end up in a hearing before a judge. Marital assets will be divided equitably. This is also a time when having a lawyer act as a liaison for you can be very beneficial to make sure you get what you are entitled to.

Another part of the divorce process is alimony, custody and child support, if applicable. Florida courts will order alimony if it is well-substantiated. Custody is decided on what is in the best interest of the child. Shared parenting is very common now but usually one parent will provide the primary residence, education or medical care. Child support is assessed by examining the income of parents, child care expenses, and the child’s health.

These decisions are life changing and rather than get yourself in a predicament that could follow you for years, you need a Boca Raton dissolution lawyer to make sure that you get what you deserve.

The History of Divorce

Divorce wasn’t really common in the United States prior to World War Two, but the history of divorce actually goes back thousands of years. Ancient Greece and ancient Rome actually had quite liberal divorce policies. It was only with the fall of Rome and the rise of the medieval church that dissolution almost disappeared entirely. England’s Henry the Eighth, famous for having six wives, challenged Rome in the early 1500’s, and after the Protestant Reformation, marriage came to be considered a civil contract rather than a sacrament. Secular authorities gradually began asserting the power to grant divorces.

 In the modern era, California was the first state to enact “no-fault” divorce in 1970, and since 1985, no-fault dissolution has been available in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. While all of the fifty states are still “no-fault” dissolution states, lawmakers in a number of states are imposing additional requirements upon those who now seek divorce. Before you initiate a dissolution in south Florida, discuss your circumstances first with an experienced Boca Raton dissolution lawyer. Over a dozen states have recently considered proposals that would make it more difficult to get a divorce. There’s a law now in Oklahoma requiring parenting classes for divorcing couples with children. Within the last few years, Arizona and Utah have passed laws that require counseling or a longer waiting period. If you seek a dissolution in Massachusetts and have children under 18, you’ll have to attend a six-hour parenting education course. Arkansas has a 540-day standard processing time for divorce, and couples there must separate for 18 months before they can file. The upshot is that an Arkansas divorce can take almost three years. Maryland, South Carolina and North Carolina all require a one-year separation or waiting period before you can file.

Some attorneys and judges think parenting classes and waiting periods help calm highly-charged situations and protect the children. Others simply think the laws are insulting – you’re already going through a tough time and the state is making it tougher. Apart from a 20-day waiting period after initially filing for dissolution, Florida law does not require separations or waiting periods. Neither does the law require parenting classes for all divorcing parents, but a judge, at his or her discretion, may order a couple to attend a parenting course prior to finalizing the divorce. If you are divorcing or you need to learn more about dissolution in Florida, help is here, so arrange as quickly as possible to speak with an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

Who Needs An Attorney?

Nobody really wants to hire a dissolution attorney. It costs money. You can download all the forms for free and read everything you need to know online, right?

Actually that’s only partially true – the part about how nobody wants to hire a lawyer. Yes, it costs a bit of money, but your divorce lawyer’s job is to protect your interests in a dissolution. Without legal representation, many divorcing people stand to lose a lot more than an attorney’s fee. As for the forms, let your divorce attorney review them or complete them on your behalf. Any mistakes, inaccuracies, or lack of thoroughness could delay your divorce or jeopardize a fair settlement.

The truth is that you need more than a divorce lawyer. A dissolution is going to be one of the most important events in your life. You need someone with rigorous legal training, someone with extensive divorce and family law experience, and someone officially recognized by other attorneys as an expert in family law. You need the services of an experienced Boca Raton dissolution lawyer who is a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law.

If you are a parent, if you have real estate holdings or own a business, if you’re in debt, or if you have a pension or retirement savings, any mistake on the legal paperwork or during a dissolution proceeding could be catastrophic. A divorce shouldn’t mean losing your home, going into bankruptcy, or losing custody of your child or children.

Divorce is never pleasant. When you are divorcing, you need an attorney who is sensitive to your emotions, anxieties, and fears, someone who routinely handles similar cases, someone who confidently offers you reassurance. In south Florida, retain the advice and services of an experienced Boca Raton dissolution lawyer from the very beginning of the divorce process, and don’t wait to make the call.

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Kelley Ms. Lewert never lost sight of the practical realities of my divorce. Although she listened compassionately so that she understood what she needed to, she did not let me lose sight of my goals and what was acheivable within the system even when things got emotional. She protected my financial interests and my personal interests. Thanks to Ms. Lewert, I no longer have to deal with a difficult ex-. She didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear, but because of that, my case did not drag out longer than it should have. I never felt that she put her own interests ahead of mine. Her judgment was reasonable and her advice sound. She and her staff were good at dealing with difficult and unreasonable people in a professional and ethical way. Thanks to Ms. Lewert, I never got drawn into senseless battles, recovered as quickly as possible from my divorce and was able to move on and enjoy a better life. I have recommended her repeatedly to others who need an excellent family lawyer.

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