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What You Should Know About Asset Division

Posted on: December 21, 2018 by in Divorce
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asset division

Divorces can be incredibly complex, and asset division can be the hardest part. Everyone has something specific that they want to keep, for whatever reason. And asset division can make the dissolution of a marriage a very emotional game of revenge. It is important to know what is available to you. Not only will this help you talk to your attorney, but it will also help you in the negotiation process. You might not want to keep everything you can, so trading something you care less about for something you do want

Asset Division

Asset division can be the most trying part of the divorce process. This can be especially hard if there is any property such as a home or rental properties that you may purchase during the union. The last thing you want is a battle, but during a divorce, these items tend to cause one. The complication of the monetary value of these assets shouldn’t be your only focus. You might want to consider some of the ways the assets will pan out in the future, both for your goals now and in many years coming. Some of these items garner more in costs, taxes, and liquidity of assets than they are worth.

Separate Property

Your state’s laws determine separate property, so the actual specifications and parameters vary. However, the basic concepts are:

  • Property that was in ownership of either spouse before marriage. If you had a home before the inion, it is likely you will walk out with it. The property must have some documentation that can show when it came into ownership; such as a receipt. If you received it in a will, that paperwork would suffice, as well. Sometimes just photographic evidence is enough.
  • An inheritance received by either spouse. Whether you were married when you received an inheritance holds little value. If you were given something, it is yours. If it was given to you as a couple, it is something that will have to be settled in mediation or court.
  • Third party gifts. If something was given to you, it is yours and not to be considered in the asset division. If your aunt gave you a ring, it is yours and not something that has to be considered for the division. However, if you received a pressure cooker for a wedding present, it was for you both. And that is something that has to be considered in the asset division.
  • Payment from a settlement. Receiving money for a personal injury means that it is yours. It is paid to you, specifically and is meant for your use in medical needs. This is something that you are not obligated to share with your spouse. Because you were the one who was named in the documentation, it is yours. If you were both named, it needs to be considered in asset division.
  • The title is in your name. If you had a car or home in your name, it is yours. If you retitle it to share, it is part of  the asset division. Once you retitle it, it becomes marital property. This is most frequent with bank accounts. A chacking or savings that add a spouse is now marital property. Whether you have had it since college has no bearing.

Marital Property

For the most part, anything that is acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. There are few times it matters who owns it or how it is titled. That means that if your spouse acquired assets during the marriage, you are entitled to them. If they were acquired during the marriage, the court or a mediator will decide how the asset division will side. This process is never easy and someone always loses. However, it is necessary and you need to decide which battles to fight. There might be more than you lose or let go than you want, but the important part is to keep the things most valuable to you. When this is all done, you can move on and acquire other things. You can read more about it here.

Because the laws on asset division vary by state, it is best to have an attorney. They will help you understand what your options are and what you just can’t have. This will be invaluable during the negotiation process. If your spouse wants the house, but you need to keep the car; this is a good negotiation point for you. It is something that the right lawyer will be able to execute without losing too much leverage with other assets. These cases require a bit of finesse during the negotiation process and you don’t want to go through it alone. You need someone who has negotiated many cases like these before and has an in depth undertanding of asset division. You can start your search here.

 

How to Handle a Paternity Dispute

Posted on: December 10, 2018 by in Family Law
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paternity dispute

A paternity dispute can complicate and lengthen and be the hardest part of a divorce. Even after divorce or without a marriage, these proceedings can be the toughest in family court. The court wants to make sure that they are doing what is best for the child, so the feelings of the parents don’t usually matter as much. They want to make sure that whatever choice they make will be the best for the child and that can mean knowing more than you want them to.

Everything Matters

In cases like these, everything that is brought to the court matters. Whether it is social media, history of any drug use or what your marriage was like; it all makes a difference. This is because the court is deciding to place a child in your care. They want to make sure that they have as much information about you as possible, to make sure that they are making an educated decision. This means that something as simple as you being upset in court can turn a judge off and make them wonder about you. If you are visibly angry during a court proceeding when it is critical to be calm, what must you be like with your child? And because they know that children notice everything, they want to make sure that little things like that are in consideration.

The Father

The father doesn’t necessarily have to be the genetic creator. They don’t even necessarily have to be genetically related to the child. There are many ways to determine someone as the father of a child, even if they are not a relative. You can read more about that here. And contrary to popular belief, there is no one parent that is automatically granted favor in the courts. That means that they won’t necessarily chose to side with the mother or the father right off the bat. That is an urban myth that tends to circulate to justify the outcome of a case. In all actuality, they chose whichever parent shows to be the biggest asset to the child. Whether this is financially or emotionally, there is always a reason that the court chooses the side it does.

Court

Though it doesn’t happen very often, you can settle a paternity dispute out of court. If you have a good attorney and the negotiations go well before the court date, you can have a legal document drafted and avoid the time with a judge. While this is something that happens, it happens less when divorce is involved, and even outside of that it happens rarely. There are cases where a legal document isn’t required, but these tend to end up needing one in the long run. This isn’t because of the fault of any party, only that a paternity dispute is best clearly given a resolution. And a legal document is a good way to do that. Not only does it clear things up, but it also gives a reference point. There is always an answer when you have a legal document that explains everything.

Your Attorney

Regardless of whether you go to court or not, an attorney is necessary. They will be your biggest asset in negotiating to avoid court and your loudest voice if you need to go. This means that having a good attorney will not only save you time but save you money. You want to make sure that you find someone with experience and knowledge of the law regarding a paternity dispute. Your lawyer will need to put together an excellent case for you, regardless of the route you take. If you try to settle out of court, they will need a good reason to try to avoid a judge. And a strong structure in your case can give you that. And if you do go to court, you want to make sure that your case will stand firm.

A paternity dispute can seem like the end of the world when you are going through it. However, it doesn’t have to feel that way. Having a strong attorney working for you will be a comfort. And being able to trust them will go a long way, as well. This will help you relax more through the process, but also save you money. The longer you have your attorney, the more you will have to pay. And having someone who has experience in these cases can make a big difference when trying to settle out of court. Even if you do have to go to court, having an attorney that will put up a great fight for you can make the process a bit faster. Not only will you spend less money, but you will have an amazing stronghold in your case. And that is a win-win. You can start your search here.

 

Palimony: What You Need To Know

Posted on: June 29, 2018 by in Family Law
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palimony

Palimony divides real property and assets between unmarried, cohabitating partners who have shared financial interests. Couples who live together for long periods of time but never get married still form close bonds and financial ties. In many cases, domestic partners behave just like married couples, with the same commitments. When a long-term, live-in relationship ends, each partner often goes through the same emotional and financial troubles as with a divorce.

What is Palimony?

Palimony is similar to alimony in that one member of a separating couple pays support payments to the former partner. The term became popular when actor Lee Marvin separated from his long-time partner, Michelle Triola, in 1977. Famed attorney, Marvin Mitchelson, Triola’s lawyer, came up with the term when Triola filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against Marvin. It is a combination of the word “pal” with the word “alimony.” Ms. Triola claimed that she had given up her career to care for Mr. Marvin. Thus, she felt she deserved support payments so she could carry on with her life in the same style. She also said that there was a verbal agreement that Marvin would take care of her financially. Although she was awarded over $100,000, the case was later appealed, overturning the judgment.

Cohabitation is currently a popular lifestyle alternative to traditional, legal marriage. It is wise for both parties in the relationship to sign a formal cohabitation agreement before moving in together. The paperwork should clearly explain the financial responsibilities of both parties when the relationship ends. Like prenups, most people don’t like to sign cohabitation agreements. People in love tend to think of them as pessimistic. But judges are less likely to award support payments if the living arrangement does not involve a legal framework.

How is Palimony Different from Alimony?

Palimony differs from alimony in that palimony is only recognized in a few states. The court considers alimony as spousal support and division of property between a married couple, either during marriage separation or divorce. There could be no alimony if there were no marriage. All 50 states have provisions to award alimony. Different types of spousal support include permanent, temporary, and duration (lasts as many years as the marriage lasted) alimony, to name a few.

Judges typically award alimony as a monthly support payment. A judge will usually award palimony as a one-time lump sum.

The majority of states don’t recognize or have laws in place for support payments between unmarried couples. Cohabitation laws vary from state to state. Living together under specific circumstances results in what is known as “common law marriage.” Only a small percentage of states recognize such marriages.

What States Allow Palimony Requests?

Generally, most states will hear palimony cases if the relationship was a common law marriage established in a state where common law marriages are recognized. Except in Iowa, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia, same-sex couples do not qualify for common law marriages.  The states that have common law marriage are:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia (if formed before 1/1/1997)
  • Idaho (if formed before 1/1/1996)
  • Iowa
  • Kansas (If both partners are over 18)
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire (recognized only after the death of a partner)
  • Ohio (if formed before 10/10/1991)
  • Oklahoma (if formed before 11/1/1998)
  • Pennsylvania (if formed on or before 1/1/2005)
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas (with specific rules)
  • Utah (with specific rules)

What are the Conditions for Receiving or Giving Palimony?

There are no set-in-stone rules for palimony support. However, each state that recognizes common law marriage has its specific guidelines. Contrary to common belief, a man and woman who live together for 7 years or more are not automatically in a common law marriage.

A couple that lives together for a long period (several years) and presents themselves to the community as a “married couple” will likely be regarded as being in a common law marriage. Of course, this only applies to the states mentioned above that recognize common law marriage.

Considerations in a palimony case would likely include if the couple:

  • Shared a dwelling
  • If the woman uses the man’s last name
  • Signed contracts or made large purchases together (ex.car or home)
  • Filed joint tax returns
  • Had a shared bank account
  • Call each other as husband and wife
  • Shared expenses
  • Raised children together

Palimony in the State of Florida

Florida is not a state that recognizes common law marriage. The courts in Florida do not regularly hear palimony cases or award palimony in the event of a terminated cohabitation. However, if the common law marriage was formed in a state where it is legal, the palimony case may be heard in a Florida court.

If you need to learn more about palimony in Florida, contact the Lewert Law, L.L.C. family law attorney Tina L. Lewert is board certified in marital and family lawyer who can guide you through the upheaval that comes with the end of a long-term relationship. Call today for a private, free consultation at 561-220-0123.

Serving Divorce Papers Through Facebook Messenger

Posted on: June 18, 2018 by in Divorce
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divorce papers

Divorce and the repercussions are a topic that most people want to avoid. Some people will go so far to go out of their way to prevent divorce papers or other legal documents. They may not be ready to throw the towel in or don’t want change. Even if the other person is ready for a clean break. The same is true if the person is avoiding a court ruling when it comes to child support. Technology is changing the world around us. It has impacted many different things when it comes to divorce and court proceedings. A recent ruling is ruffling the feathers of how procedures happen. Now, people want to know about the repercussions of divorce papers served through Facebook Messenger along with other court documents.

The Service of Divorce Papers Over the Years

In the past, no one would have considered divorce papers served through Facebook Messenger. The more traditional way for service of divorce papers and other court documents is through a process server or certified mail. In both of these instances, it would have witnesses. This event guarantees that the person needs to receive the papers actually receives them. This action provides the court with assurance that the person that is on the receiving end, in fact, has the documentation in hand so that the court proceedings can continue to move forward. This due diligence is necessary to prevent someone from claiming they never received a notice. In addition to preventing them from moving forward without actually notifying the person.   

Divorce Papers Served Through Facebook Messenger?

A recent event has many speculating that divorce papers will be served through the Facebook Messenger service in the future. Under a court ruling, a man was able to notify his ex-wife about a child support order in Staten Island. The court official allowed the usage of Facebook to serve the papers as the more traditional efforts of serving her papers were unsuccessful. The order to Anna Maria Antiqua was regarding the child support order in place. The man was seeking to stop the 440 dollars a month child support as the child in question is now 21.

The man, Noel Biscocho tried to contact his ex-wife at the address he had for her, but she had moved without leaving a forwarding address. He continued to try to search for where she was living. He attempted to Google where she lived and contacted their two children without any results. However, he found that his ex-wife was very active with her Facebook social media account. His ex-wife had even recently liked some of the posts that his second wife had posted to Facebook.

Staten Island Support Magistrate Gregory Gliedman made the judgment that it would be impractical for the ex-wife to personally be given the paperwork at her work or personal address since they were not known. It was also not possible to have the copy put on her door with an additional copy sent in the mail. This lack of address then led to the ruling of allowing Facebook Messenger to be the method of serving her the papers stopping the child support order on their 21-year-old child.

Historical Significance

As technology continues to change the way that the world works, it makes sense that it will have far-reaching consequences in the legal realm. This circumstance was the first time the state of New York gave permission to use this method. Also, in the United States, it’s a first for a person that’s located in the states. There had been some cases involving using Facebook to contact someone regarding legal proceedings when they reside overseas. Effectively, this action may eliminate the loophole of someone hiding to get away from being served legal papers considering the statistics of people that use social media today.  

How Likely Is It That This Ruling Will Spread Across Jurisdictions and States?

Technology is ever changing the landscape of the world we live in. As this was a one-off case in a situation where the person was not found through traditional means, the judge ruled that social media would be a useful tool. It stopped this from continuing to waste the court’s time in trying to bring this matter to a close. Consequently, it is very possible that in similar situations, other court officials may use social media as a method to reach individuals with essential court decisions and documents. This situation is just one more way that the court can embrace the possibilities of technology.  

Every case is different, and some situations can often be tricky when it comes to family law. There are many reasons why someone would not want to get papers by the courts. This ruling could have farther reaching implications down the line. Are you in a situation that requires experience in family and divorce law? Contact Lewert Law, LLC today to discuss your case. Get an experienced lawyer on your side to fight for your situation.  

How to Handle Emergency Temporary Custody in Florida

Posted on: June 9, 2018 by in Uncategorized
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Emergency Temporary Custody

No one doubts the importance of laws that help protect our children from troublesome situations. Trouble comes in many forms, like parental kidnapping of a child, parental neglect, abuse, or even the incapacity or sudden death of both parents. The list goes on and on! But in any of these unfortunate situations, courts across all states can get involved and issue an emergency temporary custody for the child. After all, in this devastating time, someone will need to care for the child. Let’s talk more about emergency temporary custody.

What Is Emergency Temporary Custody In Florida?

It all starts with The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or the UCCJEA. This is the primary line of defense for emergency temporary custody. Every state across the nation adopted the UCCJEA, except Massachusetts. They initiate the laws that govern child custody enforcement. They also enforce the jurisdiction, which means they determine which court has the authority to issue an order. Its design prevents and discourages interstate kidnapping by non-custodial parents. Yes, that is something that used to happen often! Before the UCCJEA, it was fairly common for non-custodial parents to take their children without permission or consent. Then they would travel across state lines and ask a different court to grant custody orders.

But with the UCCJEA, a parent can only file for custody in the state where their child has lived for the past six months. But not everything is so clear-cut. There are specific provisions when it comes to emergency temporary custody issues. For example, if you’re forced to leave your home state because your child’s welfare is threatened. We’re talking situations like abuse and neglect by the other parent. What happens then? The new state may use its jurisdiction to issue an emergency temporary custody order until it, or the home state court, can figure out a more permanent solution. At the end of the day, the court in the county where the child lives has local jurisdiction when it comes to emergency temporary custody.

Why Someone Would Need To File For This, And What The Process Is Like.

But what happens if you aren’t forced to flee your home state? Well, then you can seek emergency custody orders from your local court. If your child is in danger from the other parent, you can go to your county court, and request emergency temporary custody. You may be wondering, “Do I have to appear before a judge?” That really depends on the laws in your specific county. The court then may place your child with you on a short-term basis. Then when it issues an emergency temporary custody, it may not require the other parent’s appearance.

However, judges can schedule full court hearings when it comes to determining permanent custody orders. This means both parents will be present and have the opportunity to share their side of the story. Permanent custody orders take place pretty quickly after granting emergency temporary custody.

Unfortunately, an emergency temporary custody situation can occur when a child’s parents are killed. It can even occur when a parent faces injuries so severe, they can no longer provide care, and there’s no guardian to appoint. One thing some states allow you to do is plan ahead and name a standby guardian. If a death or emergency ever occurs, the child’s standby guardian receives emergency temporary custody. The custody stands until the court can appoint a permanent guardian, or the parents are able to care for the children again.

Who Else Can File For This?

You also may be wondering, “Does it have to be just parents?” The answer is no. If you are aware that a child is being abused or neglected by a parent, you can take immediate action. You should report the situation to your local child welfare or social services department. Depending on the state you live in, the official name of the department may vary. It is typically called the Department of Children and Family Services. You may discover other departments like Child Protective Services, or Department of Social Services. You can also contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 (1-800-4-A-CHILD).

If you want emergency temporary custody of the child, you need to go to the local family court and file a motion for temporary custody. We all know the complications of removing a child from their parents or caregivers. So it’s important to consult with a custody expert. When a court places a child under temporary protective custody, it’s working towards fixing the problems at home. It may involve sending the parents to alcohol or substance abuse rehabilitation. Sometimes parents face screenings or drug tests, parenting courses, or anger management. But at the end of the day, the system aims to one day reunify the children with their parents.

If you, or anyone you know, have any questions about emergency temporary custody, contact us today here.

3 Ways AI Can Help Divorce

Posted on: May 9, 2018 by in Divorce
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AI Helps Divorce

Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, has a major impact on life in general. There are many industries that can benefit from the advances in AI. Family law is one of those industries. With AI technology, family law could change for the better. Find out how AI helps divorces and other family law issues.

What is AI?

When most people think of AI, they imagine a futuristic world. However, AI is alive and present today. By definition, AI is any task done by a machine or a program that requires human intelligence.

People use programs and machines to perform a long list of tasks that require human intelligence. In fact, artificial intelligence has been prevalent for years. Today, you might recognize the technology in Siri or Alexa. Other applications include identifying spam emails, detecting fraud on your credit card, and recognizing faces in photos.

AI Helps Divorces and Family Law

In addition to making your life at home better, AI helps divorces as well. It has several applications in family law, all of which can make your life easier. Law firms can and do use AI for accounting and data processing. When they have thousands of documents to examine, AI saves them from doing it by hand.

Artificial Intelligence doesn’t only make the process of examining documents quicker. In addition to going through documents quicker, AI can use predictive coding to analyze the data. It’s much more accurate than human guesswork. After analyzing large amounts of data, AI can predict outcomes and give lawyers more insight.

A History of Success in Law

If you’re looking for a specific example of AI in law, then you don’t need to look far. In the UK, a law firm used predictive coding in a prejudice action case. The coding was tested in trial, and a court deemed that the process was accurate. If predictive coding can stand up in court, then the applications of AI in family law are almost limitless.

At first, AI was used to assist in research efforts. IBM Ross was a research tool that helped law firms with legal research. The technology used natural language processing as well as machine learning to effectively research.

In a more recent application, Duthie & Co is a law firm that uses AI in a different way. The firm uses a robot lawyer known as LISA. When the firm needs a non-disclosure agreement, LISA takes care of it. In an interview, the firm stated that they believe this technology could be used in family law. In the future, they think that a similar robot can draft prenuptial agreements.

How Can AI Change Family Law?

Family law could change for the better with artificial intelligence. Here are a few ways that AI helps divorces and family law:

  1. Reduce the Cost of Divorces

In some divorces, there are mountains of paperwork. Asset division is a time-consuming process. This means that lawyers need to waste hours and hours digging through the mountain of paperwork. Considering that good lawyers don’t come cheap, the cost adds up.

If family law uses AI, then the lawyers don’t need to waste their time on sifting through papers. Instead, technology can do the process quicker. Predictive coding means that a program can look at a set of data and come up with a general review of the whole data set. In family law, this technology can save clients thousands of dollars.

  1. Reduce Error

Artificial Intelligence can help reduce errors in your case. As much as lawyers might aim for perfection, they are human. As such, they are capable of mistakes. When there is a great deal of paperwork to go through, there is a chance of human error. Boring and repetitive work, like data entry, is far from flawless. However, AI is flawless.

Relying on artificial intelligence means that there is a reduced chance of error and more accurate results. When it comes to family court cases, this can be the difference between a good and a bad outcome.

  1. Keep Lawyers Passionate

When a lawyer needs to waste time on menial tasks, he often loses motivation. This can affect his performance in court. After spending much of his time doing research or data entry, a lawyer could lose his passion for the case.

AI helps divorces by allowing lawyers to focus on the issues that matter. Instead of wasting time on simple tasks, they can focus on the complexities of their cases. As a result, the lawyers remain passionate. This is good news for you and your case.

 

The Future of AI in Family Law

Currently, AI doesn’t play a major role in family law. However, that could change soon. With recent developments, AI is playing a greater role in law firms. It might not be long before family law uses AI to improve the industry.

Here at Lewert Law, we know that technology is changing things. We’re moving forward with technology and always working to get you the best outcomes. Contact us and find out how we can help you.

5 Different People You Need in a High Stakes Divorce

Posted on: April 18, 2018 by in Divorce
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High Stakes Divorce

Going through a high stakes divorce can be one of the rockiest periods of your life. There are so many different aspects of life pre and post-divorce to think about, and this can require help. There are several professionals that can be on your side during your divorce besides your divorce attorney. Each of them offers a specific skill that’ll help move your complex divorce forward.

Why Are High Stakes Divorce So Volatile?

The very nature of a high stakes divorce leads to volatility. Often, there are complications that make this type of divorce that much more difficult to face. Usually, this has to do with assets and children. There are many different working parts that need to be figured out at the same time to balance what was happening before the divorce and after the marriage is over. These working parts can cause conflict, especially when the parties aren’t in complete agreement about the divorce.

What Are the 5 Professionals You Should Have on Your Team during Your Divorce?

It may sound like overkill to have five different professionals on your team during your high stakes divorce, but each of these team members offers a specific skill that can help you through this circumstance. They each work to reduce the amount of friction that can happen in a high stakes divorce.

The first is probably the only profession you’ve thought of hiring when you realized a divorce was in your future: a lawyer. Your lawyer is the base of your team. They are a great starting place and may be able to help you to find the other four professionals to assist you. A parenting coordinator, financial neutral, mediator, and divorce coach round out your team.

Divorce Lawyer

A divorce lawyer is your first defense in ending your marriage and can be beneficial to advise you on these matters even if you go through mediation.

Parenting Coordinator

Think of a parenting coordinator as an impartial party that helps to be the decision maker when it comes to any children from the marriage. They can help you to determine who does what with the kids while going through a high stakes divorce. Their rates are less expensive than having your lawyers handling this task. Plus, it can help to make the divorce a less stressful for the children going through it with you both.

Financial Neutral

A financial neutral works for both sides of the divorce. They handle the financial matters at the heart of a high stakes divorce. This professional comes in and evaluates all of the financials, such as current income, assets, the expenses that exist. As they are a neutral party, they aren’t on anyone’s side. Using this professional can help both parties get an equitable share. For instance, when determining alimony or child support, the figures obtained here can give a more accurate value of what’s appropriate or not.

Mediator

A mediator is another unbiased professional that’s not taking sides in your high stakes divorce. They can be beneficial in helping you to resolve many of the issues that often crop up in a complicated divorce scenario. Not resolving these issues through mediation often means that a judge will resolve them for you. A mediator is better able to guide you both to agree on the different decisions being made. At least by sitting with a mediator, you’ll have some say in what is agreed upon.

Divorce Coach

A divorce coach is one professional that you may not be very familiar with compared to the other professionals on your team. Your divorce coach may help just you or both you and your spouse through your high stakes divorce. While a divorce coach isn’t a therapist per say, they are able to help you through this tough time. They will help you analyze your feelings, determine what you want out of the divorce, and get ready for the different proceedings that you’ll be going through during the process. They are there to help keep you calm and collected through this process. While some people are able to tackle a high stakes divorce relatively easy, others panic and have a hard time going through it. A divorce coach helps them to keep it together to get to the other side of the divorce.

Are you contemplating getting divorced? Are you in the middle of a high stakes divorce, and feel you need additional help? Contact Lewert Law today to discuss your circumstances. Your high stakes divorce may seem like an endless scenario, but you’ll be glad to see it’s behind. Utilizing these different professionals can make the transition from married life to being single again easier for you.     

Uncontested Divorce: What Is It?

Posted on: March 9, 2018 by in Divorce
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uncontested divorce

When a marriage begins, there’s a ceremony where vows are given by each person joining their lives together. Many of those vows include a phrase about until death do us part, but in many relationships, circumstances come up that make it impossible to keep that promise. Like many things in life, marriages can go bad and result in the couple wanting to go their separate ways. It happens. The question that many have is what do you do next? There is this vision of having a messy divorce that drags on forever, but that’s not the only type of separation that exists. There’s also an uncontested divorce. This kind of divorce is an excellent option because it can be more comfortable for all parties.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is when both people in the marriage agree to the divorce. In addition, they often agree on most of the significant issues of a divorce. These problems often include custody of their children, child support, distribution of the property, and spousal support. Using this method of separation can help to make it easier for both parties in the long run. This condition is because there are no additional disagreements to be settled by the court. The couple themselves make the decisions and agree with them. In fact, some uncontested divorces may only require a hearing.

How Does It Differ From a Contested Divorce?

The main difference between a contested divorce and uncontested divorce is the amount of intervention by the courts in making decisions. A more complex divorce where both parties cannot come to an agreement about how to split their lives takes more time and money. An uncontested divorce doesn’t require the same amount of time in the courts.

How Can an Uncontested Divorce Be More Beneficial to the Family?

An uncontested divorce can be more accessible for everyone in the family. It offers a lot of benefits. The couple gets the benefit of a smoother process. They won’t have to spend as much money on the proceedings. It also takes less time to go through an uncontested divorce. In all, it can be much easier to have it over and done with to move on with your life after divorce. That’s not to say that there won’t be any issues, but typically, it’s a more straightforward process in most ways.

It’s also beneficial for the children involved. The impact of any divorce can be hard on children. As most divorces can be messy because the different parties don’t agree on the separation, it makes it hard on the children. The arguments and the uncertainty in a contested divorce can be hard for everyone. Often, the children of the couple can feel the brunt of this uneasiness. An uncontested divorce is still hard on them, but they don’t have to listen to their parents disagree over and over.

What Is the Process for an Uncontested Divorce?

The process for an uncontested divorce is much more comfortable than a contested divorce. It typically begins by filing a petition for divorce with the court. This request will commonly include the decisions in how the marriage will be split and other agreements the two negotiated between themselves. There will also be a sheet about the couple’s finances. This sheet will identify their assets, liabilities, incomes, and other information.

After the petition, there is often a divorce hearing, but in some cases, an uncontested divorce doesn’t need to be heard by the courts. At the hearing, the judgment is given that dissolves the marriage. This is then filed with the courts.

This whole process can be as short as three weeks from the time of the filing to the dissolution of the marriage. However, if during this process, issues come up where both parties are no longer in agreement about everything, a contested divorce may be necessary. This event does at times happen when a couple was in agreement, but one partner changes their mind about something.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

In this age of the internet, there are plenty of resources online about how to go through the process of a divorce. The problem is that while an uncontested divorce can be more accessible, it’s still a complicated matter. It’s often beneficial for all involved to speak with a legal representative to guide them through this process. A lawyer can make sure that everything is written up as it should be. They can also assist in cases where an uncontested divorce becomes a trickier contested divorce.

If you are considering a divorce, you should have a lawyer on your side. A lawyer will protect your rights through this process. You may not be thinking clearly because of the emotional nature of divorce. Contact Lewert Law today to discuss your potential uncontested divorce. We can go over your personal situation, and whether or not this type of separation is right for you.

Fighting Back Against Domestic Assault

Posted on: February 16, 2018 by in Domestic Violence
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domestic assault

Your home should be your safe place. The place that you go to for comfort and relaxation. For many, their home is not secure and can be a terrifying place. This situation is often because of domestic assault. A house doesn’t feel like a home if someone is making you worried that you could be harmed, yelled at, belittled, or made to feel as though you’re trapped. Understanding what domestic assault is, and what happens if you live in a home with domestic violence can be a good starting point for making the decision to get protected.

What Is Domestic Assault?

Domestic assault is an act of violence or the threat of violence against someone that’s family or lives in the same household. Often, spousal abuse is the most commonly thought of domestic assault, but this aggression can be done against other individuals. This action can be against a family member that is related by blood or marriage, roommates, and even people that are or were dating. Florida law covers domestic aggression as assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, and kidnapping.

What Are Some Various Examples?

There are quite a few examples that fall under domestic aggressive. Any type of violent behavior can be a domestic assault. Slapping, biting, shoving, hitting, and punching are all examples of physical abuse. Making the victim believe that there’s a threat of harm is another form of assault. Feigning a punch or going forward like the person would slap you are both assaults. The threat of violence is there.

Sexual abuse is another form of domestic assault. Coercion and coercion attempts for sex or sexual contact are assault. No means no whether you’re in a consensual relationship or not. This idea can be hard for some to comprehend. Consent is always required whether it’s on the first date or after being married for years.    

Is It Just Physical?

No, domestic assault is not just physical. In fact, legally assault is just the threat of harm. There can also often be an emotional and economic component to it. Abusers in these situations are usually working on the psychological well-being of the person they abuse. They may try to tear down the self-worth and self-esteem of the person they are abusing as this can help to keep the abused person in the abusive relationship. The abuser can also work to make the person financial reliant on them. The victim doesn’t have money to move out or get away from the abuser, so the abuser keeps them pretty much trapped in the relationship through this methodology.

How Can One Fight Back Against Domestic Assault?

The best way to fight back against domestic assault is to speak up. Keep track of the abuse. Document everything and anything. Keep any threatening notes, emails, texts, and other information that can help you to prove your case. Report the abuse to the authorities. Do what you can to get out of the abusive situation. Get legal assistance to help you protect yourself. Lawyers experienced in domestic assault cases can often help you with resources, such as finding a shelter or getting assistance to get out of the situation. These are the best things that you can do for yourself if you find yourself caught up in an abusive relationship because it’s all about being proactive.

What Are Some Sentences of Domestically Assaulting Someone?

Florida allows for domestic violence to be addressed by the family court, but depending on the case, can also result in the criminal courts becoming involved. Many states are starting to take this crime seriously, Florida included.

In Florida, domestic violence laws include at the minimum a punishment of five days in jail, but the courts can also sentence the offender to prison time. It may also result in probation or community service. Furthermore, offenders can see additional charges for other crimes, such as assault and battery. Sentences for this can be 60 days to a year in prison for misdemeanor crimes, and up to 15 years for felonies.  

How Can Victims Find Reassurance and Stability to Move Forward?  

The good news is that legal professionals are willing and able to assist victims in moving forward in their lives and leaving behind the situation. You may feel that you have no proof and that it’s your word against your abuser, but talking to a legal professional can help you in determining what the next step should be. You should also look into joining any local support groups in your area. They can get you in touch with services that can also help you in feeling comfortable and confident in yourself to take that next step forward.

If you or a loved one is living in a situation where domestic assault occurs, contact Lewert Law to discuss your case. It can be hard to take the steps you need to protect yourself, but with the right support system, you’ll make it through.

Gray Divorce: A Growing Trend

Posted on: February 8, 2018 by in Divorce
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gray divorce

The first few years of any marriage can be quite difficult. However, so can the last few years of a marriage. In the US, divorce is becoming common among the baby boomer generation. Even after decades of marriage, some couples from this generation resort to divorce. It’s become so common that people now refer to a late-in-life divorce as a gray divorce. Find out why this type of divorce is the current trend.

Understanding Gray Divorce

In the past, gray divorce referred to any divorce that happened after 40 years of marriage. However, the term evolved over time. Now, gray divorce refers to a marriage of baby boomers that ended in divorce. Whether or not the marriage lasted 40 years is irrelevant. A marriage could last two years and be a gray divorce. As long as the divorce involves baby boomers, it is one of the many gray divorces. In general, most of the baby boomers who divorce had marriages that lasted between 20 and 30 years. However, there is no limit.

Over the past decade, the divorce rate in the US has dropped. However, gray divorce did not follow that trend. More and more individuals from the baby boomer generation seek out divorces. In 2009, 25% of the individuals to get a divorce was over the age of 49.

The Reasons for Late-in-Life Divorce

There is no simple explanation for the common occurrence of this type of divorce. Rather, there are several possible explanations.

1. An Empty Nest

When children are young and demanding, many parents yearn for an empty nest. However, an empty nest could be what it takes to ruin your marriage. While there are children around, a couple dedicates their life to those children. Every decision revolves around them, and there is little room for you to focus on your marriage. Time alone is a rare occurrence. Often, couples discuss their children during that time alone.

When your children move out, you have time to focus on your relationship. However, it might be too late. You might find out that you and your partner no longer have any common ground. In an empty nest, the silence can be deafening. You might opt for a divorce.

2. The Impact of Aging

Unfortunately, age isn’t just a number. As you get older, you might find that your marriage suffers. Sometimes, this is a result of poor health. If you or your partner have any health issues, then you might lose your sex drive. One partner could be unhappy with the lack of romance in the marriage. Without seeking treatment for those medical issues, the lack of romance could become a large enough problem to cause a divorce.

Even a lack of self-confidence can hurt your relationship. If you don’t like the way you look, then you might obsess about it. Constant complaining could cause your partner to feel uncomfortable. Additionally, it could make him feel older. It could also make it less likely to preserve the romance in your relationship.

In some cases, aging causes one partner to look for a younger one. For example, a man might believe that he would feel younger if he was with a younger woman. To test out his theory, he might cheat on his wife. If he is faithful, then he might opt for a divorce before finding a younger partner. In either case, the result is the end of your marriage and the need for a lawyer.

3. Financial Disputes

Generally, the baby boomer generation did well for themselves. Most baby boomers had lucrative careers. Therefore, money was never an issue to stress their relationships. For many couples, that changed as they aged. There are two main reasons for this.

First, many children stayed home or moved back home at an older age. Instead of moving out and staying out at 18, children are staying with their parents into their 30s. As a result, the parents have a greater financial strain. Many baby boomers struggle to support themselves and their children. Paying their bills and their children’s bills is not easy, especially during retirement.

Then, there’s the issue of retirement. A high cost of living makes it difficult for people to survive on retirement. Since people are living longer, that retirement money also needs to stretch out longer. For many baby boomers, retirement causes financial troubles. The newfound financial stress can cause trouble in relationships. As a result, some baby boomers might resort to divorce.

4. Different Life Goals

When people get older, they sometimes change their goals. For example, one individual might realize that he never lived the life he wanted. He might realize that he never moved to paradise and lived in isolation. But his partner might have very different goals. She might realize that she never lived in a big city.

While some couples can meet their goals together, they can’t always do so. If goals don’t meet up or one individual is unwilling to help the other accomplish her goals, then a relationship could end. This could be a reason for divorce, even after decades of marriage.

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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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