Archive for the ‘ Divorce ’ Category

10 Tips For Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced

Posted on: January 17, 2019 by in Divorce
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Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced

If you’ve recently gone through a divorce, you know that untangling the web that’s formed by marriage can be messy. Going through the act of separating property, valuables, credit cards, bank accounts, and even time with the kids can take its toll on you. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced. While the task may seem small or insignificant there are a lot of things you must do differently when filing after a divorce. That’s why we’ve composed this list of tips and facts that every new divorcee should be aware of when filing in 2018.

Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced:


  1. There’s a new alimony update for the 2018 tax year. It’s always important to be aware of any changes in the tax laws and codes. For instance, this year there’s been a change to how you file alimony payments. If a divorce was finalized by January 31, 2018, there are no changes to the way in which you would handle federal income tax of alimony payments. If you make alimony payments, they can be written off on your 1040 form. These payments do not have to be itemized. The spouse receiving the alimony payments must list them as income for 2018. However, if your divorce was finalized after December 31, 2018, a new law removes the deduction for alimony payments. The spouse receiving these alimony payments will not be including them as taxable income.


  1. Know your filing status. If you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced, you must know the status of your separation before filing. For instance, if you are already separated, but your divorced hasn’t exactly been finalized yet, you still need to file as ‘married’. You can file as Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately. However, if your divorce was finalized by or before December 31st, you can file as Single or Head of Household.


  1. Remember to deduct IRA retirement contributions. If your divorce hasn’t been finalized or you are not considered legally separated by December 31 of 2018, you can deduct contributions to your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s IRA.


  1. Take advantage of Special Enrollment Periods in the Marketplace for health insurance coverage. If you’ve suddenly lost your health insurance due to a divorce or legal separation, you’re eligible to enroll in during the Special Enrollment period. It will show on your 2018 tax returns that you did indeed have insurance, but you lost coverage due to a major life event. This will help you to avoid paying any penalties for lacking health insurance coverage throughout the year.


  1. Understand how to claim dependents. If you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced, and you have been named the primary custodial parent, you will claim the child or children as dependents. However, if you’ve been separated but your divorce has not been finalized, you can either file separate returns (Married Filing Separately) and you each can claim the child as a dependent on your returns, or you can file jointly and claim the child together.


  1. Remember that child support is different than alimony. Alimony and child support are not filed in the same way, despite the fact that they’re both payments to your ex-spouse. You cannot deduct child support payments on your 2018 tax return.


  1. Child Support payments are not reported as taxable income. Regardless of when your divorce or legal separation was finalized, you don’t have to report child support payments as income.


  1. Alimony payments can be deducted if you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced. These payments can classify as a tax deduction if they are:

-in the form of cash

-authorized by court order for divorce

-not filed as a joint tax return for you and your spouse

-paid when you are your spouse are not living in the same primary address

-not part of a child support payment.


  1. You must report any alimony payments that you received. It’s important to remember that if you are an alimony recipient, you need to state these payments on both federal and state income tax returns. The new tax laws do not apply to you yet.


  1. Beneficiaries of transferred properties do not have to pay tax on the transfer. If you’ve received property from your ex-spouse, the transfer itself is not taxed. However, if you later sell that property, you will pay a capital gains tax.


For More Information on Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced


It’s always strongly recommended to have a tax expert assisting you when you file after a divorce. While the tax laws and codes are readily available to you, deciphering them in a way that works for you should be left up to a tax professional. To get more information on how to handle your tax returns this year, contact a trusted divorce attorney for all of the resources you need.


How to Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

Posted on: January 7, 2019 by in Divorce
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Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

Everyone knows that divorce can be difficult. It’s rarely a seamless process filled with casualness, simplicity, and cooperation. Of course, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is living overseas, then life at home could possibly lack the dramatic and emotional scenes that most households have during a separation. Unfortunately, serving divorce papers overseas can be much more difficult than simply putting documents into an envelope and placing them in a mailbox. In order to serve divorce papers overseas, you must follow a specific step-by-step process to ensure that you’re doing it legally and effectively. You must keep in mind that each step will be determined by the location of your spouse and the jurisdiction of where he or she is located. If you want to know more about how to serve divorce papers overseas, here is a brief guide to help get you started.

Step One: File the Petition and Summons

First, you’ll start with your own location. However, you have to take into consideration where most of your marital property is located. If you have multiple properties and choose to live in different areas throughout the year, always go with the location that holds the majority of the properties that you own together. This will be where the state court holds jurisdiction over your properties. This is where you will file the divorce petition and summons. You’ll also need to determine if you’ll be seeking property in another country. If so, it’s important to know that country’s service laws. Having an experienced divorce lawyer is highly recommended at this stage if this is the path you’ll be taking.

Step Two: Find Where Your Spouse Is Located

This legal procedure is referred to as “service of process”. Because you’ll need to follow the law of the overseas jurisdiction, you need to know the legal way to serve divorce papers overseas. It’s very important to have a specific address of where he or she is located. It would be frustrating and costly to go through the procedure of service of process if you have the wrong address or you’re unaware of their specific location. It’s vital to know exactly where your spouse is.

Step Three: Long Arm Statute

It’s also important for your divorce lawyer to know and understand the extent of your state’s “long arm” statute. Basically, this is a statute that permits a local court jurisdiction over foreign defendants. This will determine if you state can or cannot serve your spouse or rule on your case.

Step Four: Determine Your Method of Service

You must consider a number of different factors at this step if you wish to effectively serve divorce papers overseas. It’s important to know if you believe your spouse will attempt to avoid the service of process or if he or she is willing to sign and follow appropriate protocols. For instance, if you believe your spouse will evade the service of process, you may need to know the service of process laws of the jurisdiction of the particular country where your spouse is located. If this country is a member of the Hague Service Convention, then you’ll have to follow certain procedures that match their international service of process laws. You’ll also have to determine if the divorce papers need to be translated into the native language of the country.

Your divorce lawyer will help you to decide if the documents should be mailed through service by publication, personal service, waiver of service, service by rogatory, service by certified mail, or service through a central authority. Of course, getting your spouse to waive service and sign documents at an American embassy is the simplest way to handle service of process overseas.

Step Five: Follow-Up

As mentioned above, the details and tasks in each of these steps will change according to the country that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is located. Many of these procedures can become easier or more complicated depending on the nature of your case and the country you’re dealing with. It’s imperative to follow-up in the country where your spouse is located to assure that you’re following proper protocol and the documents are prepared correctly.

For More Information on How to Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

If you’d like more information on how to serve divorce papers overseas, contact an experienced divorce lawyer to help guide you through the process. As mentioned above, these steps can be incredibly complex and require extensive research into local jurisdiction as well as knowledge in the process of service laws in another country. It’s never recommended to go through this process alone. Divorce can be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally taxing. It can become even more difficult to attempt to serve divorce papers overseas without any legal experience. Call a trusted divorce lawyer today to ensure your moving in the right direction.

Should You Change Your Name After Divorce?

Posted on: December 30, 2018 by in Divorce
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Change Your Name After Divorce

Many people assume you should change your name after divorce. However, it is not always that cut and dry. In some cases, it is mandatory, such as with a divorce decree name change order. If you do not have to go back to your maiden name, the choice is yours. Sometimes, people choose not to because of the long process involved. If you want to know how to change your name after divorce in Florida, a member of the legal team at Lewert Law, L.L.C. can help. There are many reasons to change your name after divorce, as well as reasons not to. If you are still on the fence, you will find for and against changing your name after divorce below.

Reasons to Change Your Name After Divorce

Have you ever wondered “Is it illegal to keep your married name after divorce?” The answer depends on your divorce decree. Your lawyer can guide you as you go through the divorce proceedings. While there are many reasons to keep your married name, the below are reasons why you may want to revert to your birth name.


A Fresh Start

Changing your name after divorce can offer a fresh start. For instance, people calling you by your married name on a daily basis may remind you of your married life and relationship. While there are certainly good memories, the pain of the breakup may be too fresh. A name change may enable you to mentally separate yourself from that pain and allow you to focus on moving forward mentally and spiritually. You get to take all the lessons you learned and move forward into a new chapter of your life.

The Breakup was Devastating

Sometimes, divorces can get messy. Several people who change back to their maiden name after divorce cite infidelity, abuse, and other traumatic experiences. Having your ex’s name attached to you after a breakup is not as enticing as it once was.

There is Potential for Future Remarriage

Keeping your married name after you divorce may complicate things if you want to remarry. For instance, changing back to your maiden name before your new marriage may require you to petition the court. If you are successful, you then have to go through the process of changing your last name to your new spouse’s name. That means changing your name on several accounts and government documents several times over. The process alone can be daunting.

You Like Your Maiden Name Better

Put simply, you may want to change your name after divorce because you like your maiden name better. Many women change their name only because “it’s what society expects,” or what their ex-husband wanted. Some women propose hyphenating their last name as a compromise.

Reasons to Not Change Your Name After Divorce

If the court does not make it mandatory for you to change your married name, you may want to keep it. Review the following for more information on keeping your married name after you divorce your ex-spouse.

For the Kids

The most common reason to maintain an ex’s last name after a divorce is your children. Many mothers want to share the same last name as their children, and cite this as a reason to keep their married name. While some only keep the name for a limited time, many keep the name indefinitely.

To Maintain Your Identity

You may not want to change your name after a divorce for several reasons pertaining to your identity. For example, your married last name may be how people know you through:

  • Long-term friendships
  • School functions
  • Professional relationships
  • Certification and degree programs

Depending on how long you have had it, changing your name after divorce might not be a priority at all. Especially if you no longer identify with your maiden name.

The Process and Cost

Aside from the above, a name change after divorce can be a complicated or expensive process. Just think about all the steps you took to change from your maiden name. Now consider the stipulations of your divorce. Unless there is a divorce decree name change order, you do not have to go through that process again.


Some people elect not to change back after divorce simply because they would have to change the name with too many institutions, including their profiles, accounts, statements and other documents.


Speak to a Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer

Consider your options and the long-term consequences of your choices. If you are still unsure, speak to an attorney who can help. Are you ending your marriage and in need of a divorce lawyer who can inform you of your rights? Do you want to know how to change your last name after divorce? Call Lewert Law, L.L.C. at (561) 220-0123 for a consultation today.

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.


5 Reasons to Settle on the Terms of Divorce During Mediation

Posted on: November 12, 2018 by in Divorce
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settle terms of divorce during mediation

A divorce can be a complicated and emotional time, but there are things you can do to make the transition easier. Mediation is the key that makes a divorce less of a battle. You can use a mediator at any point during the divorce process to help settle matters, whether you’re at the beginning or right in the middle of it.

What is mediation?

Mediation in divorce is when both spouses sit down with a neutral third party to work out their differences. This mediator will help a couple decide on crucial issues like splitting their assets and liabilities, childcare, property distribution and any other problem they are having. The mediator will help them decide with as little conflict as possible.

Why should you aim to settle divorce and time-sharing matters during mediation?

There are several reasons why mediation is a good idea during a divorce. They are saving time, cost, and stress, as well as maintaining control over your privacy and your life.

1. Time

Divorces that go to trial can drag on for years. Many times, the desire for revenge, anger, and bitterness are what drives these battles.

Using a mediator means the process is possibly over in months instead of years. Another thing to think about is, after all that time spent in court, 90% of divorce cases wind up settling. The trial proceedings waste precious time, especially when children are involved.

2. Cost

The costs of a litigated divorce can soar into the tens of thousands of dollars. This situation puts the financial security of both parties in jeopardy, as well as their children. There is no need to add financial peril to an already life-changing situation. Mediation reduces the cost of a divorce in many significant ways.

You don’t have to pay for two lawyers.
You have reduced court costs and fees.
Less time spent results in less money out of your pockets.

While mediation isn’t free, in the end, it is much less costly than a litigated divorce.

3. Privacy

Mediation keeps your personal business between you and your spouse. Without it, a trial drags everyone’s affairs out into the open. Each person must go through the painstaking paperwork. The process will reveal all of the couples finances, indiscretions, habits, parenting skills, employment history, and more.

With mediation, all of these discussions can go on behind closed doors, or not at all. In no-fault divorces, couples have the opportunity to leave the problems of the past in the past. Mediation helps people move forward with a clean slate, without having everything about themselves revealed.

4. Control

In a trial, the judge decides the result. If a divorcing couple chooses mediation, they have control over what happens. Since the couple is making the decisions for themselves, they are more likely to be happy with the agreement.

Also, a mediator is not on one side or the other. He or she is a neutral party who listens and helps guide the couple towards a solution. This circumstance is very different from two lawyers battling it out in a courtroom setting. The process focuses on compromise.

5. Stress

All of the above factors together combine to create less stress for both parties. Divorce is almost always stressful to a certain degree, but mediation makes the process much easier to handle.

Mediation stresses respectful communication, and participants use non-threatening language in a peaceful environment. This situation cuts down on stress and leads to better solutions for everyone.

Mediation means less stress on children.

If there are children from the marriage, mediation is even more beneficial. The court process for kids can make an already upsetting situation even worse. The court could interview and observe the couple’s children, and they may also be required to appear in court. This situation is incredibly stressful for kids.

Further, seeing the animosity between parents is very stressful for children. With mediation, divorcing couples make decisions calmly and rationally, and children do not need to be present.

What are the setbacks of going to trial?

Going to trial over a divorce is very uncommon these days. It is an emotionally grueling process not just for the spouses, but for their children as well. All of the five points above are excellent reasons to consider mediation for an easier divorce.

In a trial, it is a lawyer’s job to be their client’s advocate. This role means that all the dirty laundry is hung out and scrutinized and there is no privacy for either spouse. One spouse may hire an aggressive or hostile attorney, which can turn a trial a costly process that can drag on for years. Mediation saves everyone a lot of pain, anger, and expense.

If you have any questions about mediation, talk to our divorce legal experts. Our experienced attorneys will schedule a free consultation to go over all your options.

What Determines the Length of Alimony Payments?

Posted on: September 15, 2018 by in Divorce
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Length of Alimony Payments

What Determines the Length of Alimony Payments?

Going through a divorce can be very stressful. There are a number of life-altering circumstances that can add to this stress. Your job, living situation, family, or mutual relationships can all be affected in some way. Of course, changes in your finances could be one of the biggest forms of anxiety. That’s why it’s important to know where you stand when it comes to alimony. But, what is alimony exactly? And what determines the length of alimony payments? Below we examine the answers to these questions as well as other valuable information about alimony.

What is Alimony?

Alimony is a court-ordered payment a spouse gives to a former spouse in the case of divorce or legal separation. Alimony is also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support for the spouse with little or no income. Generally, the amount of alimony paid is assessed by the divorcing couple’s standard of living. The amount paid should permit a lifestyle similar to what the couple had prior to the divorce. However, there are a lot of other variables that go into determining the amount of the alimony payments and the length of alimony payments. Below is a breakdown of how alimony payments are classified in the state of Florida.

Length of Alimony Payments in Florida

Florida has five different classifications of alimony that will determine the length of alimony payments. These five types of alimony are: temporary, durational, rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, and permanent. As you can tell from their titles, these various forms of alimony all define the actual length of alimony payments. Of course, each case is unique and the duration and amount of payments might already be agreed upon by the couple. Normally, a judge will determine if alimony should be granted as well as the length of the alimony payment.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is also referred to as “pendente lite”, which translates to “during litigation.” This means that one spouse is required to pay alimony only for the duration of the divorce process. The main purpose of temporary alimony is for the lower wage earner to be able to support themselves, but only during the divorce. When the divorce becomes finalized, the alimony payments stop.

Durational Alimony

If all other forms of alimony are deemed insufficient by the court, then durational alimony may be granted. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide financial security for the spouse making little to no money. However, the length of alimony payments depends on the length of the marriage. For instance, if you’re married for fifteen years, you can only receive payments for fifteen years. If you’re granted durational alimony, you can’t receive payments for any longer than that.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is when an individual is awarded payments while he or she carries out a plan to be financially independent. The length of alimony payments will depend on the actual timeline of this plan. These payments may go to training programs or tuition for college. The recipient will need to devise an actual strategy for becoming financially secure and will have to present this to the courts. This plan will have to have a set timeline and need to be a realistic goal for financial independence.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

This form of alimony is considered the most short-term form of payment. The purpose of bridge-the-gap alimony is to cover the transitional period after a divorce. For instance, the length of alimony payments could cover moving to a new home or finding a new job in a different location. The maximum amount of time for these types of payments is two years. The purpose of this form of payment is to only supplement the lower income earner for a short amount of time.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony is when a judge grants one spouse unending payments. There are a few different cases when permanent alimony may be granted. If the individual suffers from a disability, alimony payments will be permanent. If the judge sees any reason why this person can’t financial care for themselves, this form of alimony will most likely be rewarded.

Ask the Legal Experts

Regardless if you’re receiving alimony or paying alimony, it’s important for these rulings to be fair. If you feel as though the amount you’ve been rewarded is significantly less than your standard of living, it’s recommended to speak to an attorney. You should also contact an attorney if you believe you’re paying alimony in an unjust circumstance. An alimony lawyer in Florida can help you determine if you’ve been granted too little, or if you’re required to pay too much for too long. If you think a judge has unfairly put you in a position with regards to alimony, contact help today.

Filing For Divorce Pro Se: 5 Things You Should Know

Posted on: September 8, 2018 by in Divorce
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filing for divorce pro se

Filing for divorce can be a complicated process. It can become even more complicated with confusing legalese or unfamiliar Latin terms such as “pro se”. It’s not only important to know what filing for divorce pro se means, but you must also understand the pros and cons of taking this approach. Pro se translates to “for oneself”. This means that you plan on filing for divorce without the assistance or representation of an attorney. You’ll be filing for a divorce yourself as well as representing yourself throughout the divorce proceedings. In theory, this can sound like a rather simple process. However, handling a divorce from beginning to end without the help of an attorney can be much more complex than you think. There are both advantages and disadvantages to filing for divorce pro se. Here are five things you need to know about this process.


  1. Save Money

It’s no surprise that saving money is the first thing that comes to mind when people consider filing for a divorce pro se. A do-it-yourself divorce ranges from $500-$1,500 depending on the documents you need and how you file. There’s a lot of different elements that determine the cost of a divorce. It can depend on the intricacies of the case, if the couple is coming to an agreement, or the number of assets they share. With the help of a lawyer, complex divorce cases that go to trial can cost anywhere from $20,000-$200,000. Your first instinct may be to attempt a divorce process alone to avoid losing that much cash. However, sometimes the disadvantages of going at a divorce alone will greatly outweigh how much you can save.


  1. Potentially Ease Tensions

Even though attorneys are there to assist people through the toughest times of their lives, people often become nervous when they get involved. If both parties are in agreement on the terms of the divorce, filing for divorce pro se can make sense. Involving a lawyer could potentially create tension. There’s no reason to make the process more stressful than it needs to be. However, when tensions are already high and both parties are having a difficult time communicating, filing for divorce pro se is not recommended.


  1. Time Consuming

There’s a reason why attorneys are paid well to practice law and file for a divorce on your behalf. It’s because a divorce can be very confusing and it takes a lot of time to complete the required documents. Unfortunately, a divorce is not as easy as filling out a form online and then just waiting for it to end. It’s incredibly time consuming and very difficult. Filing for divorce pro se is an exhausting process that will take up much of your time for weeks to possibly months.


  1. Inexperience Leads to Complications

If you don’t have a legal background, filing for divorce pro se can be a very complex procedure. Filing the documents wrong or not meeting court-ordered deadlines can create more problems for you  in the future. Attorneys understand how to present the information and defend their clients in the appropriate way. Poor self-representation will not only be a problem for you, but it can also become a hardship on the courts. Overall, it’s not a good idea to represent yourself if you have no experience in litigation.


  1. Emotionally Taxing

It’s obvious that a divorce in and of itself is an emotionally taxing process. For most people, it’s difficult to keep up with their normal tasks. If children are involved, it can be even more overwhelming. Being on time for work, showing up to soccer games, or being present for important meetings can be stressful during times of divorce. This is one of the reasons why people pay attorneys to handle divorces for them. Normally, a divorce means moving, reassessing assets and finances, or even deciphering custody terms. Transitions like this can be traumatic for many couples and families. Filing for divorce pro se adds an immense amount of pressure onto an already existing dilemma. It’s important to keep this in mind if you’re considering representing yourself.

If You’re Considering Filing For Divorce Pro Se

There are many factors that go into a decision to represent yourself during a divorce. There are clear advantages and disadvantages. Saving money is important and avoiding tensions by involving lawyers can make sense in some cases. However, not everyone has the luxury of an easy separation. There are a lot more complexities to a divorce than most people can imagine. Lack of experience or emotionally taxing obligations can take its toll on you and your family. If you’re considering filing for a divorce pro se, it’s recommended to speak with a divorce attorney first to know if it’s the right path for you.


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.  

A New Way To Pay For Divorce

Posted on: May 18, 2018 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton divorce attorney

There’s a new type of lender on the financial scene. Instead of mortgages, car loans, or payday loans, these lenders finance divorces. They claim to help with everything from living expenses to attorney’s fees to the costs associated with “expert” witnesses. In return – you guessed it – the lender then grabs a slice right off the top of your divorce settlement or court award. Borrowing money that your ex-spouse has to repay has a certain appeal for some, but taking out a divorce loan probably isn’t a good idea – or even necessary – for most people involved in divorce proceedings. Before you take a divorce loan in south Florida – and before you take any other action regarding a divorce – arrange to speak first with an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney.

Divorce financing may be a great option for a very few, when substantial assets are at stake and the testimony of financial experts may be required. But if your divorce is uncontested, or if you haven’t compiled substantial property and assets, you probably don’t even need to consider a divorce loan. You certainly want to talk to your attorney first. In most cases, you should be able to find another way to finance your divorce and cover your expenses while it’s pending.

It’s true that complex divorces can be expensive. But if you can settle most of your differences out of court, and if you and your spouse aren’t on some magazine’s list of billionaires, it’s very likely that you and your attorney can find a way to cover your divorce without involving a divorce lender. If you must take a divorce loan, make sure that the company you work with fully discloses the terms of the loan and that you thoroughly understand what you are signing. For help with a divorce or any family law matter in the south Florida area, contact an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney for legal advice and representation as quickly as possible.

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.

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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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