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No Fault Divorce vs Fault Divorce

Posted on: January 29, 2018 by in Divorce
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no fault divorce

There are two main types of divorces. First, you have the no fault divorce. This is one of the most common types of divorce. However, there is also a fault divorce. Not all states accept this type of divorce. However, it could be a good option for you. Learn everything that you need to know about the differences between fault and no fault divorce.

Understanding No Fault Divorce

When you want to divorce your spouse without proving that he was to blame, you file for a no fault divorce. In the proceedings, you don’t need to prove any type of fault. You do need to give the court a legitimate reason for your divorce. As long as the state recognizes your reason, then there it will honor your divorce.

There are two main reasons for a no fault divorce. The first reason is “irreconcilable differences.” Secondly, there is the “irreparable breakdown” of your marriage. If you list either reason, then you are telling the court that your relationship cannot work. You and your spouse tried to fix the relationship. However, you were unable to do so. The court takes you at your word. In court, you don’t need to prove why you need a divorce.

For some, the allure of a no fault divorce is the inability to object to the divorce. If your partner objects, then the court won’t change things. Whether or not your partner agrees, the divorce process will continue.

What States Offer No Fault Divorce?

For decades, most states have recognized no fault divorce. Since the 1980s, all states got on board with no fault divorces. If you live in the US, then you can get a no fault divorce.

There are a few differences between state laws and no fault divorce. Specifically, some states require you and your partner to have a period of separation before you file for divorce. Some states only require a short time, while others require a longer time. It all depends on your state’s specific requirements. After the separation, you and your partner can file for divorce.

Understanding Fault Divorce

Although no fault divorces are quite common, fault divorces are not very frequent. Depending on where you live, you might not even be able to file for a fault divorce. Some states only allow no fault divorces. States that do allow fault divorces require that you can prove that your spouse did something that warranted a divorce. For example, you need to prove that he cheated on you or abandoned you. Other reasons for a fault divorce include imprisonment, emotional or physical pain, and the inability to have sex. If you can’t prove that your spouse acted in a way that meets the fault divorce requirements, then you cannot file for a fault divorce.

The Benefits of Fault Divorce

There are several benefits to filing this type of divorce. Here are a few of them;

1. No separation requirement

If you file for this type of divorce, then you and your spouse do not need to live separately. Instead of waiting several months to file for divorce, you can do so immediately. Every state that honors fault divorces allows an immediate filing.

2. A better outcome

If you can prove that your spouse is to blame for your failed marriage, then a fault divorce could get you a better outcome. For example, a judge might give you more property or more alimony. Often, one spouse does better than the other in this type of divorce.

Is One Option Better Than Another?

If your spouse acted in a way that made you want a divorce, then a fault divorce could be a better option. The results of your divorce could be more in your favor. However, your state might only offer a no fault divorce. In this case, you might want to see if you qualify for a divorce in a state that does recognize fault divorces.

Filing in Another State

If you have residency in multiple states, then you can choose where you file. However, the residency requirements vary. Some states require that you live in the state for a certain amount of time before you file. In Alaska, Washington, and South Dakota, you can file once you have residency. You can choose to file in a state that recognizes the type of divorce that you want.

That said, you should be cautious. If you file in one state, then you need to travel to that state for all your court appearances. This includes traveling there to make any changes to your divorce agreement.

Making the Most of Your Divorce

If you need a divorce, then you should speak to a lawyer. He can give you advice on which type of divorce would benefit you the most. Additionally, he can explain how your state’s laws will impact your divorce. With his help, you can get the results that you want.

Florida Parental Responsibility Vs. Child Custody

Posted on: January 18, 2018 by in Family Law
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Florida parental responsibility

Child custody is usually a major point of disagreement in divorce cases. In most situations, two parents can’t come to an agreement regarding issues like child visitation and day-to-day care. They leave the decision up to a judge. In Florida, the court bases that decision on shared parental responsibility. Florida parental responsibility means that a court will handle your child custody issues different than other states. Find out what this means to you and your children.

What Is Florida Parental Responsibility?

In most states, child custody cases rely mostly on a judge’s decision. If the court feels that a child would be better off with one parent getting sole custody, then the judge will decide accordingly. Although many states are moving towards joint custody, sole custody is still a reality. Whether a parent gets sole custody is very much up to the judge.

However, Florida parental responsibility changes things for Florida custody cases. In Florida, parental responsibility replaced child custody. In all child custody cases, a judge needs to consider parental responsibility.

Florida parental responsibility refers to a shared responsibility of both parents to raise a child. Both parents need to work together to parent the minor. For example, both parents need to discuss any big decisions. If the decision affects the child’s welfare, then the parents need to discuss it together. Each individual keeps full parental rights. Additionally, each individual shares the parenting workload.

Which Decisions Are Part of Shared Responsibility?

When you have a court-ordered custody agreement, one parent could be the primary caregiver. That parent is responsible for making all day-to-day decisions. However, any more long-term decisions fall under the issue of Florida parental responsibility. Generally speaking, shared responsibility involves any decisions that involve your child’s welfare. However, there are a few specific issues that usually fall under Florida parental responsibility. Here are a few of them:

  • The religious upbringing of a child
  • Any moral beliefs you teach a child
  • The type of discipline that a child receives
  • Recreational activities in which a child participates
  • Any legal matters that involve your child’s welfare
  • The type of schooling a child gets
  • Which school a child attends
  • Any changes in the child’s social environment

To help you understand how Florida parental responsibility works, here is an example. If you and your partner have shared responsibility, your son might live with you. However, you need to tell your ex-partner about your child’s illness or accident. Your ex-partner needs to have access to your son’s medical records at any time. If you want your son to change schools, you also need to discuss the issue with your ex-partner. He needs to agree with you before you switch schools. Additionally, he needs access to those school records.

Other Requirements

On top of discussing the above issues, each parent needs to be an active caregiver. As such, he or she needs to provide a moral, educations, and socioeconomic setting for the child. Any decision needs to be in the best interest of the child. Additionally, any arguments need to end in an amicable manner. During discussions, each parent needs to behave properly. Everything should be in the best interest of the child.

When it comes to visitation, each parent need to allow easy access and contact to the other parent. Mail, phone, and other types of communication should be allowed. If one discourages the child from seeing or talking to the other parent, then the court could hold that against him. The court wants to see that the child is taught to love and respect the other parent. Therefore, neither parent should speak badly about the other.

The Penalties

If you fail to meet the requirements of shared responsibility, then the court can take action. The penalties are quite severe. You could be found in contempt of the court. In some cases, you could get jail time or lose residential custody.

Is Shared Parental Responsibility Always the Outcome?

In Florida, courts prefer to use shared parental responsibility in custody cases. A judge needs to consider awarding shared responsibility. However, he can choose to do otherwise. There are many factors that a judge considers before he awards custody. However, all of those factors contribute to one detail – the best interest of the child. If a judge believes that a child’s best interest is not parental responsibility, then he can issue another decision. As long as that decision is in the best interest of the child, the court will uphold it.

For this reason, you need a great child custody lawyer. You can’t be certain what type of outcome your case will get. With the right lawyer, you may be able to get the outcome that you want. Before you go to court, contact a lawyer to learn about your options. Shared responsibility is preferred, but it might not be your outcome.

Florida Child Custody Laws: Time Sharing

Posted on: January 9, 2018 by in Family Law
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child custody

Child custody is a process that never goes easy. You will never be able to keep all parties happy, at all times. It is a long process that can become draining physically, emotionally and financially. The divorce is already hard enough on the child, the court wants to make sure that they don’t have to suffer more. The parents are old enough and resilient enough to overcome these problems. But, issues stemming from divorce can have a huge impact on children. This is especially true for those who are very young and still developing. There are more factors to think about, also. You can read about some of them here.

Florida Child Custody Laws: The Factors

The court will take several things into consideration when deciding child custody. Some such factors include things like history. If you have a criminal history, a history of drug issues or mental stability issues; there is a possibility that custody will not work in your favor. There is also the ability of the parent to provide for the child. A stay at home mom might have the time to devote to a child, but now they have to find a job. And if they don’t have the skills to do so, there is a chance that they will lose custody. There is the ability to petition for custody later, but you have to be able to support yourself and the child before you can. They also consider who the child favors. This is because in many cases if the child favors one parent over another it is because they find the support and care they want in that parent. Everyone wants what is best for the child, but the court also wants to make sure that they have requirements that can be met consistently. This is one of the things they look for in negotiation of child custody cases.

Florida Child Custody Laws: Time Sharing

The state of Florida tends to lean towards time sharing when it comes to custody of children. They try to work out a schedule that works for both parties and still benefits the child. They like to keep the child’s schedule as normal as possible while making sure that both parents feel the agreement is fair. Sometimes this can mean that one parent gets every other weekend and holidays or summers. They tend to ask both parents about their schedules and living arrangements. From there, they decide what is best for the child and try to work out something that will keep them in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. The process will extend the divorce, but having a skilled attorney will ensure that it is as quick as possible. They will be able to minimize the damage and negotiate a compromise that will be in your best interest.

Florida Child Custody Laws: Your Attorney

Because your attorney is your voice to the court, you need one you can depend on. They need to be able to represent you well and within the limits of the law. They will know what you can and cannot achieve, which will make the process a little easier. Their experience in this field is essential, so you want to make sure that you find someone with a good reputation, who can get you the best possible outcome. Tensions will already be running high from the dissolution of your union, the easier the child custody discussions can go; the better. You don’t want to compromise your rights or what is best for your child. But, you don’t want to traumatize them, either. Have someone represent you who truly stands for what you want and what your child needs. That is why you need to find someone you trust and who knows the laws very well. Then they will be able to make a case for you and give you a better advantage in court. This is important because that is how the judge will decide who gets child custody and how it is divided.

The more experience your attorney has in child custody cases, the better. But, they will also need a deep understanding of the local laws at hand. This will give you an advantage that other attorneys cannot offer. Be honest and open about everything, so they can play for your strengths and prepare for the downfalls. They will be able to use their experience and insight into the law to advise you on the strategies that will work best. This means they will also know what will fail, having seen it before. You want to make sure that they know all of the details of your case so that they are ready for anything that comes. They need to know if there will be any problems so that they can recover from them. That is the benefit of having a good attorney. You can start your search for one here.

 

 

Types of Paternity Testing

Posted on: December 27, 2017 by in Family Law
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paternity testing

Paternity testing has become more and more popular in recent years. In the past, courts couldn’t rely on paternity tests because of their accuracy. However, they are now commonplace in many different court proceedings. Especially where custody and financial support issues are tried. They are something that doesn’t even necessarily have to play into a court case. There are plenty of people who are requesting them personally. Sometimes because of a question of infidelity between a couple.

Types of Paternity Testing

While DNA is the best way to establish paternity of a child, there are different ways of establishing and eliminating matches. Whether the DNA sample is taken from an umbilical cord, saliva swab or blood sample; there are many ways to test an actual sample itself. One fast and easy way is by blood type. This is used as a way to exclude someone, rather than confirm that someone is a parent. The most accepted and used method is DNA testing to confirm matching markers in the samples. This is commonly what we think of when we hear about paternity testing as though it has been the most accurate method so far. However, how accurate it depends on markers tested and the laboratory doing the testing.

False Inclusions of a DNA Paternity Testing

Paternity tests that use DNA work by identifying specific pieces of DNA that fathers share with their children. If the DNA in the samples match in size, he might be the father. However, these may also match other men in the population. This is why there needs to be more locations tested, called genetic markers. The more markers there are tested, the rarer the pattern and the more exclusions from the test. If the testing is stopped too soon and the model is a common one, there is a higher chance that the testing will be false. This tends to be the case with false inclusions. This is the reason that the test will always state probability of accuracy.

False Exclusions

Another large reason for the error is exclusions. It happens when the lab mixes up labels or envelopes. This means that they may test the mother’s DNA as the child’s or the child’s as the father’s. There would be a mistake regardless of how many genetic markers the test covers. There are plenty of different ways that these errors can play out. This is why there are more and more laboratories that are examining all of the samples against each other. There are also examples of parents sending in samples that they didn’t give. If this is the case, the father must give the sample himself. Another problem tends to be that there isn’t enough DNA in a given sample. This is part of the reason that more of the necessary sample is taken than usual.

Paternity Testing: Court

While courts are familiar with the fact that not all paternity test is entirely accurate, they still need to let the case be presented. This means that if your attorney isn’t familiar with this focus of the law, you can lose the case. Sure, they know that there can be errors in the testing. But, your attorney needs to show the court that this is what happened and give a strong representation of that to the judge. This is why having a competent attorney who is familiar with these cases is so important. This means they will miss details that could b the difference between winning your case and mistaken paternity. This isn’t something you want to take a chance with. It isn’t just a matter of paying an attorney that isn’t going to give you a solid case. It is also a matter of family and knowing the truth. And that is what is most important, overall.

If you have to take a paternity test or are pending one, you might need an attorney on your side. You will likely need one after, you might as well have one now and acquire some guidance for the test. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about liability and how the case will play out. You want to make sure that you have someone with experience and knowledge in this field since it isn’t a typical focus. Having seen cases like yours and how different strategies can play out is an essential asset. It will be a powerful tool in your case and could make the difference between dismissal and conviction. This isn’t something that you want to take a chance on. It could turn out incredibly expensive and lengthy. These cases are never short and sweet.

US Divorce Rate: 2017 Statistics

Posted on: December 19, 2017 by in Divorce
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US divorce rate

Today, divorce is more socially acceptable than ever. However, that doesn’t mean that the US divorce rate is higher than ever. In fact, the divorce rate is lower than it has been in years. Divorce might be acceptable, but it’s not as common as it once was. Find out why the US divorce rate is changing and how people now view divorce.

The US Divorce Rate Declines

The national divorce rate in the US is lower than it has been in decades. In fact, it’s lower than it has been in about 40 years. For the third year in a row, the divorce rate dropped. The trend of fewer divorces became evident in 2015. In 2014, there were about 17.6 divorces for every 1,000 married women. Meanwhile, in 1980, there were 23 divorces for every married woman. That number dropped to 16.9 in 2015.

When you look at the US divorce rate over time, you can see that the divorce rate peaked in 1980. That year, the US divorce rate was about 40% of all marriages. After that year, the divorce rate dropped. Between 2006 and 2010, there was a 68% chance of a woman’s first marriage lasting ten years or more. For men, that percentage was 70%.

Past the ten year mark, the chance of a successful marriage is less impressive. For a marriage to last 20 years or more, the percentage dropped to 52% for women and 56% for men. However, the US divorce rate statistics are still better than they were in the 80’s.

Acceptability is on the Rise

If you were a logical thinker, then you might argue that the divorce rate dropped because the acceptability of divorce rose. However, that’s not the case. In fact, the opposite is true. The US divorce rate dropped, but acceptability rose. Back in the 80’s, divorce was not socially acceptable. If people heard about divorce, they would often whisper about it in the hallways. Many women were ostracized for divorce.

Now, things are different. People tend to be much more accepting of divorce. For example, the moral acceptability of divorce is up 14% since 2001. About 73% of US adults feel that divorce is a morally acceptable act. Divorce does not have the same stigma that it once did. Instead of hiding your divorce, you can speak openly about it without judgment.

Interestingly enough, the different generations seem to share the same beliefs on the morality of divorce, Between 2015 and 2017, 76% of US individuals between the ages of 18 to 34 accepted divorce. With a similar rate of acceptance, about seven out of every ten Americans between the ages of 35 to 54 accepted divorce. Regardless of age, people seem to accept divorce.

Religion Accepts Divorce

In the past, religion was the biggest obstacle to divorce. Most religions frowned upon divorce. Nevertheless, it didn’t keep people from doing it. There were more divorces then than there is today. However, religious groups now accept divorce much more than they did in the past. In a recent poll, about 51% of very religious Americans felt that divorce was morally acceptable. That poll included individuals who went to a place of worship once a week or more. In the past, such a religious group was more divided on the issue. The majority of religious individuals felt that divorce was not acceptable in any way.

It’s impossible to understand why the religious community now accepts divorce more. However, it doesn’t seem to matter. Before it was acceptable, people still sought divorces. Now that it is acceptable, people don’t get divorces as frequently. There does not seem to be a strong link between religious acceptance and divorce. There must be other factors that directly affect the divorce rate.

Why is the Divorce Rate on the Decline?

If less acceptance is not the reason for the reduction in the US divorce rate, then what is? There is one main theory that could explain the decline. Today, society thinks of marriage differently. Instead of marrying at 21 years-old, people tend to wait. Young adults put off marriage and decide to live together first. Doing so allows individuals to learn more about one another before they decide to marry. With cohabitation, people may be less likely to divorce. They don’t need to rush into a marriage without knowing what it’s like to live with their partner. If there’s a problem, they end the relationship before marriage.

There is another theory. In the past, people thought of marriage as a moral issue. However, today it is more of a legal issue. As such, they might put more thought into it and less emotion. This could prevent rash decisions that once led to quick divorces. When people analyze the legal benefits and drawbacks of marriage, they might consider the ramifications of divorce more seriously.

It’s impossible to say if the divorce rate will continue to decline. However, it is a possibility. It seems as if marriages in the US are strengthening. And that’s good news for new couples.

Child Time-Sharing Custody in Florida FAQs

Posted on: December 11, 2017 by in Divorce, Family Law
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child time-sharing

Custody agreements are complicated. Before you and your partner make a child time-sharing agreement, there are a few things that you should know. Find out everything that you should know about child time-sharing custody in Florida.

1. What is the Goal of Child Time-Sharing Custody?

One of the most important things to understand is the purpose of this type of agreement. A time-sharing agreement refers to the amount of time a child spends with each parent. When you create a time share agreement, it specifies how much time the child will spend with each parent. The goal is to create a legal document that awards each parent (or only one parent) a certain amount of time.

Another goal is to create an agreement that has the child’s best interest at heart. When it comes to child custody, the court cares mostly about the child. They want to do whatever is best for the child.

2. What is the Difference Between Time-Sharing and Parental Responsibility?

While time sharing refers to the amount of time a parent spends with a child, parental responsibility is quite different. The term refers to decision-making for the child. For example, it could involve deciding which school a child attends, her medical care, or her religion. In some agreements, one parent could get equal time with a child but less parental responsibility. Like other issues in child custody cases, the decision depends on a variety of other factors.

3. What is the Most Common Result in a Child Time-Sharing Agreement?

Every custody court case varies. With so many factors affecting the outcome of the case, it is difficult to say how your case will turn out. However, there is a general trend in Florida of which you should be aware. The state tends to favor equal parenting and equal time share custody decisions. Therefore, you need to fight hard if you want another outcome.

4. Can a Parent Get Sole Custody?

Although the court does favor an equal time share, it is possible to seek and get sole custody. However, this can take some effort. Your lawyer needs to prove that being with you and you alone is in the best interest of the child. If he can prove this, then you still won’t be able to end the child’s relationship with the other parent. The only situation that warrants that is an extreme situation. For example, contact with that parent could be unsafe. In this situation, the court might agree that the child should have no contact with the father.

Often, the court will allow a non-custodial parent to visit his child. In fact, he can usually have overnight visits. However, the court could require supervised visitations. Under these circumstances, the parent can only visit the child when a third-party supervises the visit.

5. What Factors Affect the Time Share?

There are several factors that a judge considers before she decides on a time share agreement. Although there are other factors that she could consider, here are a few common ones:

  • The willingness of a parent to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent
  • A parent’s willingness to honor the time sharing schedule
  • The ability of each parent to put their own needs after the child’s needs
  • Whether the home environment provides stability for the child
  • The physical, emotional, and mental health of each parent
  • Any past troubles, like child abuse, domestic violence, or child endangerment
  • The desire of the child, if the child is old enough to decide (usually at the age of 12)
  • A parent’s willingness and ability to participate in a child’s education and other activities

6. Can You Change Your Time Share Agreement?

When you create a time share agreement, it is a legal document. As such, you cannot change it without going back to court. If you want to make changes to it, then you need to go to court. In order to gain approval, you need to show that there has been a major change in the circumstances. Changing the agreement needs to be in the child’s best interest.

However, you and your ex-partner can change the agreement on your own. It won’t be legally binding, but you are free to make your own decisions. The agreement will only be enforced if you or your partner go to court and complain that the other parent violated the agreement. For this reason, you should be cautious about modifying the agreement. If possible, you should do it through the court.

7. Do You Need a Lawyer?

The court does not require you to have a lawyer in your child custody case. However, you leave a lot at risk without a lawyer. Your child time-sharing agreement tells you how much time you can spend with your child. If you don’t have a lawyer, you could end up with less time than you deserve. It’s best to prepare yourself and go to court with a lawyer who has experience.

Factors That Influence Child Relocation Decisions in Florida

Posted on: November 28, 2017 by in Divorce, Family Law
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Child Relocation

The dissolution of marriage is a hard enough process, but child relocation discussions can magnify them exponentially. Sure, the divorce will be hard for the child either way; but having to decide where they will live makes things so much harder. Custody is one issue, child relocation is another. There are plenty of factors that can determine the outcome of this negotiation. Both the parents and the child are traumatized by the entire ordeal, so it is best to keep it as simple as possible. There is always a possibility to make it a little smoother, and that is what is best for the child. But, it all boils down to one parent proving that it is in the best interest of the child. You can read more about it here, but this is a quick rundown:

The reasons each parent gives for their cases, whether it is for the stay or child relocation.

The judge will hear all of the reasoning given and that tends to lay the groundwork for support of the parent’s argument.

 

Whether good faith backs the relocation.

This often means the non-relocating parent and their financial support or keeping to scheduled visits.

 

The career that the objecting parent is in and what their prospects may be in the area sought for the child relocation.

If the relocation could be handled by both parents relocating, that may be a consideration for the court.

 

History of both parents.

The court will likely consider any history of domestic abuse, drug abuse, rehabilitation, counseling, run-ins with the law and financial support problems.

 

The child’s relationship with a relocating parent and the non-relocating parent are big factors in this decision.

Courts always want children to have the benefit of both parents, but that isn’t necessarily something that is always achievable. The consideration for proposed methods of attaining that shared goal is almost a guarantee.

 

The child’s age and needs.

There is always consideration given to how a move will affect their development. If it is considered something that could be negative; it is likely they will have the child stay with the non-relocating parent.

 

The court’s ability to maintain the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent is something that belongs under advisement.

If there is a compromise that will keep the integrity of the relationship and consistently, there is no reason that the child should have to stay.

 

The child’s preference is another consideration.

If the child feels more connected to one parent than the other, it could be traumatic to keep them apart. This is something that no court would inflict on a child, especially since it will affect them in the long run.

 

How the child relocation will affect the life of the parents, as well as the child.

If the is belief that relocation can contribute to the wellness or enhancement of the child’s life, the court may acquiesce. The child is the most important focus in these cases and what is best for them tends to be the ruling of the court.

 

The current financial situation of each parent and how the child relocation would correlate with them.

In some cases, if the parent that the court would prefer to keep the child feels that they could improve their financial situation because of a job offer in another city or stay with a parent, that might be considered.

 

Any other factor regarding the best interest of the child.

It can be hard to list every possible influence. But, anything that is an influence on the child’s well-being and happiness is taken into consideration, no matter how small or great.

Child relocation is a very complex process that is hard for everyone.  Tensions will already be running high from the dissolution of the marriage, the easier the child relocation discussions can go; the better. Naturally, that process will extend the divorce; but it doesn’t have to be as painful and lengthy as it can be. You need someone who has experience in this focus of the law, to keep the damage and time to a minimum. They will be able to find a great compromise that works for everyone and as quickly as possible. You don’t want to compromise your rights or what is best for your child. But, you don’t want to traumatize them, either. Have someone represent you who truly stands for what you want and what your child needs. The more experience they have, the better. But, they will also need a deep understanding of the laws at play. That will give you an advantage that other attorneys cannot offer. Be honest and open about everything, so they can play for your strengths and prepare for the downfalls.  You can start your research here.

 

How Are Domestic Partnerships Different Than Marriages?

Posted on: November 20, 2017 by in Uncategorized
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domestic partnerships

A domestic partnership is a relationship between two individuals who live together but are not married. The term is not used consistently, which causes some confusion. It is essentially an alternative to marriage. While same-sex couples utilize this distinction most frequently, more and more heterosexual couples are not utilizing domestic partnerships. It allows you to define your status and put it on record, without the actual marriage. The couple receives a lot of the same rights, though not all.

Domestic Partnerships vs. Marriage

There are some key differences between a domestic partnership and marriage. For example, a domestic partnership may permit you to add your partner to health insurance documents, but there might be a need for proof of commitment. There are many states that will allow a partner to adopt a partner’s child through Second Parent Adoption, but only if the biological parent relinquishes parental rights. While there are many shared benefits, between a domestic partnership and marriage, the marriage will have more benefits.

All states and most countries recognize marriages. However, only a few states recognize domestic partnership. Partners are not legally considered family. The federal government does not recognize domestic partnership, so you cannot afford your non-citizen partner the same benefits of marriage. And married couples will automatically inherit assets upon death, and without taxes, partners can only do so with a will and with tax. You can read more about domestic partnership here.

Do You Qualify For A Domestic Partnership?

A domestic partnership is defined by your city, so you will want to check with your City Clerk’s office. However, the general requirements tend to be:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Neither partner may be in a marriage or a domestic partnership at the time
  • Both parties must cohabitate, with the intent of permanency
  • You must not be blood relatives, as barred by the state
  • You must be of the mental capacity to sign a contract
  • Residence or employment in the city you are seeking domestic partnership in
  • You have mutually agreed to be responsible for each other’s common welfare.
Other requirements might include:
  • You must be in an exclusive, committed relationship (usually from six to twelve months)
  • Consent of cannot be coerced or obtained via fraud or duress
  • You have not been party to a previous domestic partnership or marriage within a certain period.

The registration process for domestic partnership is simple. You will fill out an application, which you can obtain from the city. Both partners appear in person with identification and proof of residence or employment in that city and pay the registration fee. You sign the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership in front of a Clerk or Notary, and you receive a copy of your domestic partnership. Some places will laminate cards for you, as well.

How Do You Establish Domestic Partnerships?

Registering as domestic partners is not enough. There are other documents you will need, as they will come in handy in the long run. These documents are things like:

  • Living Together Agreement
  • Wills, Living Wills or Directive to Physicians
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care and Finances
  • Legal Precautions, Partners Co-Parenting
  • Hospital Visitation Authorization
  • Living (Revocable) Trusts

Domestic Partnerships: Separation

Unfortunately, whether you are in a marriage or domestic partnership, there is always a possibility that it won’t last. And if both partners have to go their separate ways, assets can get a little sticky. Just as with marriage, anything that you walked into the partnership with is separate property. This is also true of any gifts or inheritance you may have acquired during the domestic partnership. These will remain yours, even after the division. Anything else tends to be distributed evenly unless there is a need to balance equity interest.

In some cases, one party might ask for financial support after the domestic partnership ends. A court will make a decision on financial support on a case by case basis. Considerations for this might include the length of the partnership, the financial situation of both partners, the amount of time, the standard of living and age/health of the requesting party.

Legal Help

If you have more questions about domestic partnership, it is best to seek out a professional. They will have more details about what the requirements and benefits are in your area. You want to make sure that you are getting the right answers so that you can cover all of your bases. You don’t want to need a legal document that you don’t have. These problems can only come at the worst times. Having someone who understands the law can only be an asset. You can start your search here.

The Benefits of Hiring a Board-Certified Divorce Lawyer

Posted on: October 10, 2017 by in Divorce
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Board-certified Divorce Lawyer

There is a long list of qualifications that most people look for in their divorce lawyer. However, people often overlook the most important piece of the puzzle – finding a board-certified divorce lawyer. There are many benefits to hiring one, and it may be what it takes to make your case successful.

What it means to be a board-certified divorce lawyer

Before you can understand the benefits of hiring a board-certified lawyer, you need to understand hat it means. A lawyer can legally practice law without a board-certification. However, some choose to go above and beyond. Those lawyers obtain a board-certification in a certain field.

A board-certification is the highest possible level of education that the state bar association can offer. If a lawyer has such a certification, there is nothing more he could do to educate himself in that field. Receiving the certification requires a long examination in a specific niche. For example, a divorce lawyer would take an exam that asks questions about all aspects of divorce law. In order to take the exam, a lawyer usually needs approval from the state bar association. They consider a lawyer’s experience and qualifications. Then, they decide if the lawyer has what it takes to qualify for the exam. Not every lawyer can qualify to be a board-certified divorce lawyer.

The Benefits of a Board-Certified Divorce Lawyer

1. You get someone who has specific experience

The law is very complex. And each niche of law has its own specific set of laws. For example, a real estate lawyer might know nothing about divorce. While he might know how to put together a court case or appear in front of a judge, he won’t have an in-depth knowledge of divorce. If he tried to represent someone in a divorce case, he would need to spend hours studying the laws. Even with that research, he might not fully understand the nuances of divorce. You could end up with poor legal representation.

Hiring a board-certified divorce lawyer means that you hire someone who has specific experience with divorce. In fact, the lawyer has more than just specific experience. She has years of experience working on divorce cases. This means that she knows all of the ins and outs of divorce law. With her experience, she may know something that can get you the outcome that you want. All of her years working on divorce strategies and learning about divorce law can pay off.

2. You hire the best of the best

If you were going to see a doctor for a life-threatening condition, you wouldn’t want to go to any doctor. In fact, you would probably go to great lengths to find the best in the field. You might compare doctors and look for the ones that have the highest certifications in the most relevant field.

Finding a lawyer to represent you is no different. Your divorce puts your whole life at stake. If you care about the outcome of your case, you should do everything you can to find the best lawyer. And that means finding a lawyer with a board certification in divorce. In the legal world, there is no higher certification than a board certification. Hiring a lawyer with this certifications means that your case is in good hands.

3. You won’t put your children or valuable assets at risk

Often, divorce cases involve high-risk negotiations. You might be fighting for custody of your children or fighting to keep your family home under your name. If you have a lot to lose in your divorce, you should choose your lawyer carefully. Choosing an unqualified lawyer puts your children or your assets at risk.

When you hire a board-certified lawyer, you take less of a risk. You can be confident when you go into court. With a track record of success, a board-certified lawyer will give you the best representation that you can get.

4. There’s no doubt about their abilities

When you hire a new lawyer, you can’t be certain about their skill level. While they may promise you great things, you can’t be certain that they will deliver. A board-certified lawyer is different. The certification means that you can trust their skill and ability.

5. There aren’t many other lawyers with as much experience

In divorce cases, the lawyers do the fighting for you. Often, the case comes down to a simple question of whose lawyer was better. When you hire a board-certified divorce lawyer, you get a lawyer with a great deal of experience. In fact, only a small percentage of lawyers have enough skill, knowledge, and experience for a board-certification. There’s a good chance that your partner’s lawyer won’t have the same level of certification as your lawyer.

By hiring someone with a certification, you have a better chance at getting a great outcome. You give yourself a better chance at getting what you want and deserve.

Tough Conversations: Talking to Your Children About Divorce

Posted on: September 27, 2017 by in Divorce, Family Law
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tough conversations

Going through a divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Children have a particularly tough time getting through a divorce unscathed. In fact, the divorce talk may be one of the most tough conversations you have as a parent. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to make the conversation easier. With these tips, you can learn how to tackle these tough conversations with ease.

1. Understand that tough conversations are often long-lasting memories

While you might think that a tough conversation is quickly a thing of the past, that’s far from the truth. The conversation that you have about divorce is one that your children will remember. Years later, they will look back on the conversation. If it goes well, they may find comfort in it. However, a bad conversation will cause pain.

You should only have the divorce talk with your children when you realize the significance of your words. Before you have the talk, you should take the time to plan your words carefully. Tough conversations like this one can be forever engrained in your children’s minds. Don’t take the situation lightly.

2. Avoid secrets

Many parents make the mistake of telling one child, and not the rest. While you may think that telling your oldest first is a good idea, it’s not. It forces your child to keep secrets from everyone else. No one should have the pressure of your divorce on their shoulders alone. Instead of telling one child at a time, tell everyone at the same time. To accomplish this, you can call a family meeting. Make sure that everyone is present, and share the news with everyone.

In addition to forcing children to keep secrets, telling children about your divorce separately causes another problem. It makes some kids feel less worthy than others. For example, you might choose to tell your youngest child last. In doing so, you send a message that they can’t handle a difficult situation. You also may send a message that you trust them less than your other children. While that may not be the case, your child can interpret it that way.

3. Speed up the process

Divorce proceedings can be long, and they can be stressful. As much as you and your partner might disagree on the divorce terms, you should try to finalize the divorce quickly. Drawing out your divorce is difficult for your children. It makes them question whether or not you will divorce. Additionally, it makes them bear the stress of the divorce for longer than they need to.

For the sake of your children, try to speed up the divorce process. If you have to, hire a mediator. Take advantage of the best lawyers that you can find and work hard to come to a swift solution. In a divorce, no one really wins or loses. You may as well come to a quick solution and let your children escape the stress of the situation.

4. Don’t make assumptions

One of the biggest mistakes that parents make before having tough conversations like divorce is to assume. Don’t assume what your children are feeling. Instead, ask them how they feel about the situation. Listen to their answers and address their concerns. Their answers may surprise you. If you had a prepared speech based on assumptions, your speech might make them feel worse about the situation.

Every child handles a divorce differently. While one child might act out in anger, another might fell some relief at the prospect of divorce. You can’t know how your child will react until you talk to them. Once you know how they really feel, you can have a conversation about the issue. Until then, you should avoid speaking about it.

5. Don’t belittle their feelings

Sometimes, a child responds to a divorce with emotions that seem ridiculous to an adult. No matter how silly you think your children are acting, don’t belittle their emotions. The way they feel is the way they feel; they can’t change that. While it’s your job to make them feel better, you should be careful how you go about doing that. Be sensitive to their emotions and don’t invalidate their feelings.

6. Put your emotions aside

While a divorce can be hard on you, you need to keep your emotions in check when you discuss it with your children. Leave any childish emotions and behavior at the door. Instead of playing the blame game or arguing with your partner, be an adult. Join forces with your partner for a few minutes to show your children that everything will be okay.

If you and your partner can keep things amicable for a short time, your kids will benefit from it. They will feel more at ease about the divorce process. If you can’t keep your emotions in check, your children might worry about their future. Let them know that things will turn out for the best, even if you have your own doubts about it.

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Client Testimonials

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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