Archive for the ‘ Divorce ’ Category

Parental Responsibility in Boca Raton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Florida’s Divorce Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

The History of Divorce

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

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

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

Who Needs An Attorney?

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

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

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

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

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

What’s In A Name?

Posted on: June 17, 2015 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton family law attorney

Traditionally, and almost everywhere until the 20th century, a bride took her husband’s last name. Today, however, there’s a lot more freedom. Many marrying women have chosen to keep the name they were born with or use some other variation. Sometimes, women hyphenate their maiden names with their new spouse’s last name, or make their maiden names their new middle names. Some couples even create a brand new, unique last name that they both will adopt after the marriage. The options are endless when it comes to a title change before marriage or after divorce. If you desire or need to change your name after a marriage or after a divorce, or if you merely need sound advice to help you make the right decision, contact an experienced Boca Raton family law attorney right away. Whatever choice you make, it’s your decision alone, and it’s important. You’ll want to consider:

  • any professional brand, identity, and reputation that you may have already established
  • how your name will impact the naming of your children
  • any cultural importance or other meaning or value associated with your maiden name
  • social implications, and even the sound and spelling of the name
  • whether you want to go through the time consuming legal process of changing your name

It is important to keep in mind that changing your legal title is not as easy as it may seem. If you change your name at the time of your marriage – or after a divorce – you probably already understand that you will have to do a considerable amount of work. When you marry and take your spouse’s last title, everyone you do business with, from the IRS to Social Security, your bank, the DMV, and the post office will have to be notified. You will need the credit card companies that you do business with to issue you new cards with your new title so they match your identification card. Should you subsequently divorce, you may decide to go through the entire process again.  It’s important to know that the Social Security Administration will accept only an original marriage certificate or a certified copy and an original divorce decree or a certified copy.

Although it is common to change your title after a divorce, many women keep their married title, especially if they have children with their ex-spouse. This allows them to feel more connected with their children since they share the same name. Remember, the decision to change your title before and after a divorce is entirely yours. But, you can still seek help from a knowledgeable Boca Raton family law attorney.

Anyone in south Florida with questions or concerns regarding title changes, pre-nuptial agreements, or other marriage-related legal issues – and anyone changing a name after a divorce – should know that help and advice is available right now. Don’t go through this without the assistance of an experienced Boca Raton family law attorney. Contact an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney right away to obtain the legal services and advice you need.

Divorcing? Don’t Post Anything Online

Posted on: June 15, 2015 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton divorce lawyerIf you are thinking about filing for divorce in Florida, you might want to make some adjustments to your Facebook page before you take any kind of legal action. If you are on either side of a Florida divorce, posting something online that you think is harmless may very likely come back to hurt you. If you are divorcing or expecting to divorce in south Florida, obtain sound legal advice and representation immediately by contacting an experienced Boca Raton dissolution lawyer.

One huge – and recent – problem for divorcing spouses is the false sense of security that Facebook provides with its privacy settings. If you enter into a divorce proceeding, you need to know that what you post is not private, and your spouse’s attorney can legally obtain that information and use it against you. Facebook privacy settings protect your posted material only from others who are using Facebook – not from courts and opposing counsel.

Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that one woman’s Facebook photos did not constitute protected or privileged information. Although this ruling was made regarding a personal injury case rather than a dissolution, it’s a ruling that establishes a principle and a precedent for all Florida law.

Divorce attorneys routinely advise clients that once the dissolution is initiated, clients need to refrain from using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the rest. However, you may want to get off Facebook if you’re still married, too. According to a new study, one in seven people admitted that they had seriously considered divorcing their spouse, because of the spouse’s activity on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Snapchat.

The study was based on a survey of 2000 persons, and approximately 25% of the respondents admitted that they had a fight related to social media use, at least once every week. 17% actually admitted that they fought over social media use every day. Approximately 50% of the respondents also admitted that they were aware of their spouses’ passwords.

The study may have been conducted in Great Britain, but those statistics could easily apply to the US too. Boca Raton divorce lawyers have noted that social media has been playing an increasingly prominent role in divorces.

The majority of divorce lawyers who were surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers admitted a spike in the number of dissolution cases involving social media evidence. These lawyers stated that spouses were filing for divorce based on evidence of cheating found on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. In fact, Facebook was a major treasure trove of information for spouses in a dissolution, and the majority of spouses admitted that they found evidence for their dissolution on Facebook.

Florida law – including family and divorce law – is constantly changing, so you must have the help and advice of a good Florida divorce attorney who stays abreast of the changes and sees to it that your best interests are safeguarded. If you are divorcing or expecting to divorce in Palm Beach County or elsewhere in south Florida, get the sound advice and high-quality legal services you need by contacting an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer as quickly as possible.

Not The Vacation You Dreamed Of

Posted on: June 12, 2015 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton dissolution attorneyIf you are divorcing or expecting to dissolution in south Florida, it’s far too complicated to go it alone. As soon as you know that you are divorcing, contact an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney. Dissolution is difficult for most people, and sometimes it could even be called tragic. However, a new trend is slowly emerging in the dissolution industry. For some people, divorce is a cause for joy, and that is making the celebration of dissolution one of America’s fastest-growing commercial industries.

Late last year, the news website Huffington Post declared that wedding cakes need to “move over” because “There’s a new cake in town – it’s the divorce cake.” According to the website, these sugary treats are flourishing in popularity along with “divorce parties.” One bakery here in Florida offers these “divorce cakes” and claims to bake about one a week for divorcing clients. Divorce party planners offer packages ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Divorce rings, dissolution cards, and divorce photographers are growing in both numbers and profits. One resort in upstate New York is even offering dissolution vacations, and couples are buying.

The Saratoga Springs’ Gideon Putnam Resort has hosted scores of extravagant weddings. Now the upscale New York resort is exploiting the other side of matrimony by offering “divorce weekend” packages to divorcing couples. According to the New York Post, you can check in as a married couple on Friday and check out divorced by Sunday. The resort, says the Post, “promises couples a painless split in an idyllic setting.” The entire package costs $5,000. It includes separate accommodations for two nights, a designated lawyer for each divorcing spouse, and a mediator to draw up the dissolution papers. There’s also a welcome basket containing Saratoga sparkling water, red wine, dark chocolate, and other goodies, as well as an informational brochure.

Dissolution cakes may be judged inappropriate by some, and the very concept of a “divorce party” is probably still disturbing to many of us, but the experts say that recognizing a personal loss through participating in a ritual event is an ancient and basic human coping mechanism. If you’re up for it, a dissolution party can provide a real sense of closure when you need to move forward positively with your life.

Divorce is still sad and painful for many, and counseling sessions may be more called for than parties for most people who are divorcing. Nevertheless, a genuinely new industry is emerging with dissolution cakes, divorce rings, dissolution photography, and dissolution cards. Of course, before you order a cake, hire a photographer, or plan a dissolution party in south Florida, don’t forget the most important step. Contact an attorney who’s a specialist with substantial dissolution experience. You need to contact an attorney with considerable experience in divorce cases, someone who will ensure that your legal rights and long-term best interests are protected. If you’re divorcing or expecting to dissolution in Palm Beach County or anywhere else in south Florida, arrange at once to speak with an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney.

A Very Complicated Palm Beach Divorce

Posted on: June 5, 2015 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton divorce attorneyWhen they married fifteen years ago, it made the New York Times. In 2015, Martin Zelman, now 87, wants a divorce. Or does he? That’s the key issue in Zelman vs. Zelman, a uniquely complicated divorce now moving through the Palm Beach County Circuit Court. $10 million is at stake. While you may not be dealing with that kind of wealth yourself, if you’re thinking about ending your marriage in south Florida, discuss your case first with an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney.

Zelman owns Martin Zelman Enterprises, a real estate and investment firm in Great Neck, New York. Mrs. Zelman is the former Lois Mae Mazer, a retired Wall Street stockbroker. On one side are Zelman’s three adult children, who would have access to about $10 million of their father’s estate if they can prevail in court. On the other side is a prenuptial agreement that promises the $10 million to Mrs. Zelman. The path to divorce court began last year when Zelman’s son, Robert, filed petitions in probate court claiming that his father was mentally incompetent and that Mrs. Zelman was ignoring his needs. Robert asked the court to declare his father totally incompetent and to appoint a guardian to oversee his father’s finances. However, Robert Zelman later amended the petition so that his father could retain the right to divorce, because under Florida law, anyone declared incompetent can’t be divorced for three years.

The issues are the right of adult children to challenge prenuptial agreements and the right of persons declared incompetent to choose divorce, but most observers are persuaded that the real issue in the Zelman divorce is money.

But, perhaps this marriage was doomed from the very beginning. New research finds that couples who spend less on their weddings tend to have longer-lasting marriages than those who splurge. The study found a similar correlation between less-expensive engagement rings and lower divorce rates. Because the Zelmans’ wedding was featured in the New York Times, it’s safe to say that this was no small affair.

The research, conducted by Emory University economics professors Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon, was based on a survey of 3,151 U.S. adults who are either married or divorced. The authors believe that theirs is the first research study to closely examine the relationship between wedding expenses and the length of a marriage. Researchers found that women whose wedding cost more than $20,000 divorced at a rate roughly 1.6 times higher than women whose wedding cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Couples who spent $1,000 or less had an even lower-than-average rate of divorce. Obviously, this research won’t be welcomed by the flourishing wedding industry, which encourages couples to spend lavishly on everything from invitations, dresses and music to videographers and photographers.

Whether your own divorce is going to be complicated or simple – and whether you’re worth $10 million or just ten dollars – you should have the advice and services that an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney can provide. If you’re divorcing in south Florida, or thinking about it, make the call as quickly as possible.

Credit, Debt, And Divorce

Posted on: June 1, 2015 by in Divorce
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If you are initiating a dissolution in south Florida – or if you’ve just learned that your spouse is initiating a divorce – it’s vital to consider and discuss your credit and debt situation with your divorce lawyer. You’ll need to consider your mortgage, joint credit cards, and any additional outstanding credit. If you’re in south Florida, of course you’ll first need to retain the advice and services of an experienced Boca Raton dissolution lawyer.

When you initiate a divorce, cancel all joint accounts so that your spouse cannot run up debts. Close any credit card accounts that your spouse uses or accesses, and open new, individual accounts in your name only. Get copies of your income tax returns, business financial statements as well as evidence of income information, including pay stubs. Make copies of loan applications, your brokerage statements, pension plans, insurance policies as well as any will that you have made.

Make sure that you discuss debts with your attorney and that you know what debts are marital debts and what debts are individual debts. If your debts are extensive or your finances are complex, your attorney may suggest retaining a financial expert to work on your behalf until the credit and debt issues in the dissolution are resolved.

What happens if one spouse files for bankruptcy during or immediately prior to a divorce? If a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is approved, the bankrupt spouse will be free from the debts, and creditors will probably start looking at you. If both partners are deeply in debt, they can help themselves by agreeing to file a joint bankruptcy prior to filing for divorce.

After your divorce, you’ll want and need a good credit rating. Check your credit rating now to make sure there are no mistakes, that there are no unexpected charges made by your spouse, and that you haven’t become an identity theft victim. A divorce does not have to impact your credit score negatively, but it can if you aren’t careful. If you need legal representation for a divorce proceeding in south Florida, or if you simply need divorce-related advice so that you can better plan your future, contact an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer as quickly as possible.

Financial Steps that Women Must Take Before a Divorce

If you are a woman considering divorce, read on. The chances of financial insecurity, bankruptcy, and insolvency are dramatically higher for divorced women. You may believe that you have your affairs covered, but may not have accounted for the fact that alimony payments, child support payments and other benefits settled on during the marriage, will hardly be enough to cover your basic needs.

It’s therefore important for you to get your interests protected, and get legal advice from a Boca Raton divorce lawyer as quickly as possible before you file for dissolution. There are also steps that you can take to protect your financial future.

As soon as you have made the decision to divorce, begin collecting financial documentation. Make a file of your bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial records. Once you have made the decision to divorce, open a bank account in your name, and create an emergency cash fund. Remember, when your spouse finds out that you’re considering divorce, you are going to have a battle on your hands. That battle will be not just traumatic, but it could also be lengthy. You will require access to cash resources during the dissolution, as well as after the divorce settlement is complete. Remember, you may not start receiving your child support payments or alimony payments immediately after the divorce. You will need cash reserves to fall back on until you do start to receive these court ordered payments.

Get sound legal advice when you are considering filing for divorce. Speak to a Boca Raton divorce lawyer about getting your financial situation in order before the dissolution.

Financial Documents After A Divorce

During the dissolution process, many people spend considerable time obtaining, copying, organizing, and understanding their financial documents. As soon as the dissolution settlement is finalized, most newly-divorced people are ready to forget about their financial paperwork for a while. Don’t. Immediately after a divorce, you need to address several important financial matters. Of course, the more assets, debts, and accounts you have, the more work you’ll have to do. If you are divorcing in south Florida, let an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer handle your dissolution and help you address your divorce-related financial concerns and questions. A number of items must be updated immediately after a divorce, such as:

  • Your will: Revoke your old will and make a new one so you can prevent your ex-spouse from receiving any of your assets. If you don’t have a will, create one now.
  • Beneficiary designations: Remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary from life insurance policies, retirement plans, annuities, bank and brokerage accounts, and anywhere else your spouse is a beneficiary. Beneficiary designations carry more legal weight than wills, so you must not neglect or forget to update your beneficiary designations after a dissolution.
  • Everything else: Remove your ex-spouse’s name everywhere you do business and on every policy or account you own. That includes automobile titles and registrations, all insurance policies, credit cards, bank, brokerage, and investment accounts, passports, utility bill accounts, and “in case of emergency” contact information forms that you may have filled out in the past.

Ask yourself if there are other items that should be on your list. You may want to create new accounts with new account numbers. Of course, it’s imperative to change all of your computer passwords. As soon as you have your divorce decree, make several copies, because you’ll need them to make some of these changes. Sure, taking care of so much paperwork can be quite a chore, but keep focused and be sure you have the help and advice of an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer. If you are divorcing or considering a dissolution in south Florida, make the call today.

The Best Interests of the Children

Posted on: May 8, 2015 by in Divorce
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In any Florida divorce that involves one or more children, Florida courts will make the best interests of those children the top priority. The law in this state begins with the presumption that children benefit from having both parents actively and frequently participate in and contribute to their lives. At the beginning of the divorce process, the “playing field is even” and neither parent begins with a greater right to custody. As judges work toward a final custody order, they consider a number of pertinent factors. If you are a parent and you are seeking or anticipating divorce in Palm Beach County or elsewhere in south Florida, put your case – and your concerns – in the hands of an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney who is a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law.

The best interests of the children means that a parent may lose custody rights for reasons that include domestic or sexual violence, child abuse, abandonment, neglect, or substance abuse. A judge will also consider each parent’s demonstrated will and ability to meet a child’s genuine needs and to be involved in the child’s life. Judges want parents to establish stability in a child’s life and reduce disruption after a divorce. A judge will consider the impact of frequent travel, especially when the distance is great and the children are young. If a judge believes that a child is mature enough, a statement by the child may be allowed and considered.

Florida courts very much want each parent to facilitate a constructive relationship between the child and the other parent. Parents are expected to refrain from critical comments about the other parent in the child’s presence. Florida law also presumes that the moral character of a parent is an important consideration. Moral fitness might refer to substance abuse, verbal abuse, or criminal behavior. If you expect any dispute over the custody of your children, don’t wait another day or minute to make the call. You must have the quality legal representation that only a Boca Raton divorce attorney who is a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law can offer you.

Custody Rights of Fathers

Florida did an overhaul on their custody and visitation laws in 2008. Now, fathers have much more equal leverage than ever before, in fact, fathers now have the same rights as the mother when it comes to child custody.

Florida courts revised the child custody laws to provide for the best interest of the children and encourage healthy relationships for the children with both parents. Parenting plans and timesharing plans have replaced traditional custody and visitations terms. In most cases, time spent with the children is divided equally between both parents unless there is a reason not to.

Fathers do have equal rights in Florida but that doesn’t mean that a father’s custody rights are protected. Most people just assume that the mother has the upper hand when it comes to child custody, including most fathers. As long as the children’s best interests are met, the courts will accept most parenting plans.

Adultery & Child Custody

Remember, that courts are required to consider the parents’ moral fitness when it makes a child custody decision. The spouse who has been cheated on, may therefore, ask the court to limit the other parent’s access to the child in the custody agreement because the adultery could possibly have a detrimental effect on the child’s development.

Proving however that your spouse’s adultery could have a detrimental effect on the child’s development, or make the parent morally unfit, is challenging. Cheating by itself is not taken as proof that the parent is incapable of being morally fit, or incapable of providing a nurturing, healthy environment for the child. Even the loss of reputation or scandal resulting from the adultery cannot be taken as evidence that the adultery would have a detrimental impact on the best interests of the child.

The Issue of Parental Mental Health

Thousands of people deal with some kind of personality or mental health disorder. For most people, it’s something relatively minor like a mild neurosis or anxiety, but some people have more serious issues and a tougher time coping. In some circumstances, a parent’s mental health is a legitimate consideration in the determination of child custody. The introduction of possibly damaging information about a parent’s mental health, in other cases, may be unfair and wrongly motivated.

A Florida parent usually has the right to prevent disclosure of records regarding the diagnosis or treatment of a mental condition including substance addiction. This privilege applies to communications between a patient and doctors, psychologists, therapists, social workers, drug abuse counselors, and nurse practitioners diagnosing or treating a mental condition.

However, the privilege is not absolute. In custody procedures, the state of Florida makes the best interests of the child its top priority, and the mental health of both parents must be considered by the judge. While a parent does not waive the confidentiality privilege simply by seeking custody, certain factors or events may warrant an exception to the statutory privilege. Absent a “calamitous event,” for example, a recent and documented suicide attempt, substantial evidence of risk to the child is required to make an exception to the confidentiality privilege.

What is Supervised Visitation?

In some instances, unrestricted access to or visitation with the non-custodial parent may be deemed detrimental to the best interests of the child. For instance, when a marriage has involved domestic violence, abuse or other factors, a court may decide that supervised visitation is in the best interests of the child.

Visitation can be supervised according to the guidelines set out by Florida law. Visitation like this is carried out under supervision, and a third-party supervisor will be in charge of supervising the visitation.

To implement a supervised visitation, the two of you must be in agreement with the supervisor, and must hash out all the details of the visitation, including timing, location, duration and other aspects.

You must both agree on the place of the supervision and the supervision must be conducted by a trained supervisor. Florida makes arrangements for training of supervisors, and these are typically psychologists, or social workers. However, a supervisor doesn’t necessarily have to be a psychologist. Even a relative or family member or close friend who is willing to undergo the training required to supervise visitation, can step in to play the role. Talk to a Boca Raton family lawyer for more information about supervised visitation.

Adhering to Court Orders

If you have a parental time-sharing agreement with your ex-spouse, you must adhere to the established schedule, and if your children are old enough to be a bit willful, they must adhere to it too. Any failure to follow your time-sharing agreement can severely damage your custody rights. Adhering to a time-sharing agreement can often be difficult, especially if an older child does not want to return to the home of the other parent. Even if your child is strong-willed, the law puts the burden on the adults to ensure that visitation schedules and other agreements are kept.

Don’t Let An Amateur Handle Your Divorce

Posted on: April 10, 2015 by in Divorce
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Boca Raton divorce attorney

Do not attempt to act as your own attorney in a Florida divorce proceeding under any circumstance. Sure, all kinds of resources are available for “do-it-yourself” divorces, but even the blank forms and documents offered online, in the end, are going to be insufficient. They lack the precise legal language you’re going to need to ensure that your divorce settlement is valid, applicable, and enforceable. Your divorce is unique, so it won’t be compatible with a fill-in-the-blank approach. It’s easy to make a mistake, too. Even before you get to a courtroom, you’ll have to complete some complicated legal paperwork, and any mistake could delay your divorce or count against you when the settlement is determined. If you are divorcing in south Florida, don’t even begin the process without the help of an experienced Boca Raton dissolution attorney on your side.

When you retain the services of an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney, you’ll be hiring someone who’s been rigorously and extensively trained, someone who routinely handles a variety of dissolution cases, and someone who very likely already knows the judge and the opposing attorney. A divorce is going to be one of the most important events in your life, and it’s too important to put in the hands of an amateur attorney – like yourself. If you are divorcing in south Florida, contact an experienced Boca Raton dissolution attorney as quickly as possible.

Complications That May Arise

If you’re a parent, or if you own a business or any real estate, or if you have a pension, you must be represented in a dissolution proceeding by an experienced dissolution attorney who will protect your long-term best interests. A lawyer may cost you a few dollars, but what you could lose if you do not have an attorney is potentially far more than what you’ll pay for the help you really need. Don’t be seduced by online “comprehensive divorce guides” and “divorce tutorials.” They cannot teach you divorce negotiation strategies, the rules of evidence, or how to be a trial lawyer.

For example, how would you handle moving forward with a dissolution when your spouse has disappeared? Your spouse may be AWOL from the military or on the run from law enforcement, bill collectors, an outstanding warrant, or maybe even vengeful drug dealers. Or perhaps your spouse simply abandoned you. Can you get a divorce in Florida if your spouse cannot be located? The answer is yes, but you’ll probably need help finding your spouse or help establishing that he or she cannot be found. If you’re seeking to divorce a missing spouse in south Florida, obtain advice and help at once by contacting an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney.

Florida law requires you to make a reasonable effort to find your spouse prior to a dissolution. You’ll have to talk to your spouse’s family and friends. You’ll have to find out if an address is on file with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Should your efforts fail, your dissolution attorney will help you file “Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure Form 12.913(b) – an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry.” On this form, you explain to the court the efforts you’ve made to track down your spouse. You’ll then file “Form 12.913(a) – Notice of Action for Dissolution of Marriage,” and you’ll have to pay to have the notice published in an “approved” newspaper for four consecutive weeks.

If your spouse does not respond within twenty days of the final publication of the notice, at that point your attorney can help you enter a “default” against your spouse, which will allow you to schedule an uncontested final hearing with a judge. Obviously, divorcing a missing spouse may not be the ideal divorce; a spouse who can’t be located, for example, can’t be ordered to pay alimony or child support. It’s best to obtain an attorney’s advice from the beginning. If you seek a divorce in south Florida – whether your spouse has disappeared or is hanging around constantly – get the help you need by promptly calling an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney.

If you are divorcing with children in south Florida, be certain that you have the advice and counsel of an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney as early as possible. When a divorcing couple has children, Florida courts make the best interests of those children the top priority. When is a child allowed to testify as a witness in a Florida divorce or custody hearing? Many parents actually want their children to be heard in court, and Florida courts strive to take into account the feelings and wishes of children involved in divorce. Nevertheless, most Florida judges believe that children under the age of 13 may not fully understand what they are testifying to. However, there’s no law in Florida preventing children 12 and under from testifying, and their testimony may be allowed at the judge’s discretion.

When one party in a divorce proceeding wants a child under 16 years of age to testify, that party must ask the court to allow the child’s testimony. Typically in a divorce proceeding, the request is for the child’s testimony to be heard outside of the presence of parents and attorneys, known as “in camera” (meaning in private) testimony. While smaller children probably should not testify in most cases, in other cases it’s important for the child to feel that the court will consider his or her feelings and views. The decision to have a child testify should be made after careful consideration and discussion with your divorce attorney.

When you get a divorce with children in south Florida, you need a lawyer who has successfully handled plenty of similar divorces with children. Divorce is tough for everyone involved, but legal help is available. If you’re divorcing or expecting to divorce in south Florida, whether or not you and your spouse are parents, get the legal advice and representation that an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney can provide, and don’t wait to make the call.

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

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