Archive for the ‘ Family Law ’ Category

Preparing For Divorce In Boca Raton

Posted on: December 7, 2016 by in Divorce, Family Law
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Lewert Law Can Help You In Preparing for Divorce in Boca Raton!

Preparing For DivorceGoing through a divorce is never easy, but having to prepare for a divorce can be even more difficult than the process of divorce itself. At Lewert Law, we understand that there are some inherent stresses in preparing for divorce in Boca Raton, and we’re here to help you. As one of the only attorneys in South Florida who is a board certified specialist in marital and family law, Tina Lewert, Esq., of Lewert Law has decades of experience in helping people like yourself in preparing for divorce in Boca Raton.

What are the first steps in preparing for divorce in Boca Raton?

The attorneys at Lewert Law talk to men and women about preparing for divorce in Boca Raton every day, and as such, they’ve come up with this comprehensive list of things you will need before you come in for your initial consultation with us.

Get your financial records together

One of the first things you need to do when preparing for divorce in Boca Raton is to get all of your financial records together. This includes everything from information about your bank accounts, to information about your investments and 401(k)’s. If there’s any piece of paper with information about your money on it, we need to know about it.

Start saving money for your legal fees

No matter if your divorce is contested or uncontested, the next thing you need to do when preparing for divorce in Boca Raton is to get your finances in order so you can save money for legal fees. Divorces – especially contested ones – can be expensive propositions, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to start to save money now.

Get your last will and testament together and/or changed

Finally, but certainly no less importantly, you will need to get your last will and testament in order (if you don’t have one already in place) or changed to reflect your soon-to-be divorced status (if you already have one in place). The last thing you need is to have a judge force you to change your last will and testament into something you may not want for yourself and/or your children because of a divorce.

Contact Lewert Law for all of your divorce needs!

The attorneys at Lewert Law are pleased to offer a free, no obligation consultation for all of their prospective new clients so they can discuss the particulars of their divorce case. For more information on how we can help you in preparing for divorce in Boca Raton, contact us today.

3 Reasons to Pursue Postnuptial Agreements

Posted on: November 7, 2016 by in Divorce, Family Law
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postnuptial agreements

Postnuptial Agreements – Lewert Law

The practice of signing postnuptial agreements is still not widely understood, but the number of these types of agreements is on the rise. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that these legally binding contracts made after a couple has wed can strengthen a marriage. In any case, they are an option for couples who are focused on their relationship. Here are three reasons you might consider pursuing postnuptial agreements:

  1. You Have Children from a Previous Marriage:
    If this is not your first marriage and you have children with a former spouse you likely still have a strong relationship with those children. A spouse who wants to ensure that these children are financially protected if a new marriage were to end needs legal guarantees. Postnuptial agreements can be used to outline how these kids fit into the assets of a marriage.
  2. Your Marriage is on Shaky Ground
    There are lots of reason that a marriage can begin to decline. And it is often the case that one partner is more invested in the relationship than the other. A spouse who wants to demonstrate their commitment to a lasting, effective union can use postnuptial agreements. These legal documents say in no uncertain terms that at least one partner is working to make things better.
  3. You Plan to Raise Children
    It is now a possibility for either parent to take an extended absence from the workforce to raise children. They provide a value for the service but sacrifice a significant amount of wages and career capital in the process. If a marriage should dissolve, this professional disadvantage should not affect the parent who stayed home. Before leaving the workforce, consider drafting postnuptial agreements that address your finances.

Contrary to popular opinion about documents like these, postnuptial agreements are not a cynical approach to marriage. They are simply a realistic one and one that typically serves the needs of both parties. If you would like to explore postnuptial agreements further, call Lewert Law at 561-220-0123 for a free consultation.

Parental Alienation Matters – Lewert Law LLC

Posted on: October 16, 2016 by in Divorce, Family Law
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Parental Alienation

Call Lewert Law for Help with Your Parental Alienation Matters!

Parental AlienationTina Lewert, Esq., of Lewert Law is an attorney who has many years of experience in handling a variety of marital law and family law matters, but she is most experienced in handling matters involving parental alienation. If you’ve been the victim of this misgiving, and need the help of an experienced attorney to fight for your rights and get the justice you deserve, Lewert Law – and Tina Lewert, Esq. – is the attorney you’ll need.

What is parental alienation?

Parental alienation, as a whole, is the name given to both the process and the result of the other parent “brainwashing” the child against you, causing the child to not only fear you and disrespect you, but not want to spend time with you. Alienation is the perfect excuse for a non-custodial parent to keep you from your child.

In his book, “Divorce Poison,” R.A. Warshak claims that parental alienation is a very specific type of psychological abuse and family violence that almost exclusively happens to children during the process of separation and divorce, and that parental alienation not only violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In short, parental alienation is not only illegal in the eyes of the courts, it is a form of child abuse. With such serious consequences to parental alienation, shouldn’t you have a lawyer that’s able to understand the levity of this situation, and get you the justice both you, and your child, deserve?

How can Lewert Law help you with your parental alienation matters?

In addition to being an attorney that has several years of experience in handling family law and parental alienation matters, Tina Lewert, Esq., is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator. Only 281 Florida lawyers out of over 100,000 that are certified to practice law in the state have that distinction, and that alone sets Tina Lewert, Esq., apart from the rest of her colleagues. However, it is her personal commitment to practicality, application of the law, and fair and reasonable solutions for both sides that makes her one of the most trusted family law attorneys in the state of Florida.

For more information on how Lewert Law, and Tina Lewert, Esq., can help you with your case, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Is Polygamy Legal?

Posted on: January 11, 2016 by in Divorce, Family Law
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Although the trend has taken a downward turn over the last century, it was not uncommon in the past to find men in the United States who were married to more than a single spouse at any given time. In fact, even at present, there are still thousands of couples within the U.S. who continue with this practice, particularly in the western United States. However, even though polygamists are usually left to conduct their multiple relationships with little or no interference by the authorities, this does not mean that polygamy is legal in the United States. To better understand the legal status of polygamy in the U.S., you need to be familiar with some of the terms used in that context. The terms include:

  • Polygamy: A polygamous marriage, by definition, refers to a relationship in which a single individual is married to more than one partner. It does not really specify the kind of marriage that exists between the individual and each of the partners. Generally speaking, the individual is usually legally married to only one of the partners, while the other marriages are only considered to be marriages from a “spiritual” perspective. Polygamy is not gender specific in its definition and it could be the man having more than a single wife or it could be the rarer practice of one woman taking more than one husband.
  • Bigamy: Unlike polygamy, bigamy is a more specific term. It refers to a situation in which a single individual is legally married to more than one partner. The second marriage could be intentional, where the individual knowingly goes through the legal process of obtaining a new marriage license to another partner while still legally married to a first partner. It could also be because the individual wrongly believes that the first marriage was successfully terminated, either through divorce, dissolution, or the presumed death of a partner, and then goes ahead to marry a second partner. Again, like polygamy, bigamy is also not gender specific and it could either be the man who is legally married to more than one partner or it could be the woman legally married to more than one partner.
  • Polygyny: Polygyny is the specific practice in which a man takes on more than one woman as a wife.

THE LEGAL STATUS OF POLYGAMY

Generally speaking, it would be accurate to say that polygamy is against the law in all fifty states within the U.S. But it is worth pointing out here that most of the states do not make precise distinctions in their laws when it comes to defining polygamy, and the term is loosely used to cover bigamy, polygyny, and any other relationship in which a single person is in a matrimonial relationship with more than a single partner. Each of the states has its own laws when it comes to matters of polygamy, and they reserve the right to interpret and enforce them within each state. In addition to the state laws, there are also several federal laws that specifically outlaw polygamy throughout the United States and its territories.

Even though the laws on polygamy at first glance appear to be precise in every state, the practice is still carried out in many places almost as though the state and federal laws did not exist. In fact, the state of Utah is now the setting for a reality television show that features a man who is married to four wives at the same time. The program airs weekly on national television. It is matters like these that beg the question. Just how illegal (or legal) is polygamy within the United States? In order to answer this question thoroughly, one must take into account a number of factors that can impact the enforcement of the polygamy laws. These factors are outlined below.

Boca Raton family law attorney

JURISDICTION

Although all fifty of the United States have laws designed to deal with polygamy, these laws differ very widely in their specifics from one state to another. Even within the same state, the laws and their enforcement may vary from one county to another. Consider the state of Florida, for example. In this state, all forms of polygamy are considered illegal, but the laws do not forbid people to live in polygamous-style cohabitation arrangements. If you’re in Florida, an experienced Boca Raton family law attorney can explain Florida’s marriage laws and how the state enforces those laws. On the other hand, in states like Utah, which has had a long history of polygamy-related conflicts, the laws are actually far more stringent. Utah enforces an anti-cohabitation laws that prohibits any two people – or more – from living together in a marital or marriage-style relationship without legal authorization.

SPIRITUAL ASPECTS

A number of jurisdictions recognize “spiritual unions” as marriage-style relationships even if those jurisdictions do not issue official marriages license for such unions. In fact, one of the primary challenges to the enforcement of the polygamy laws in most states is the challenge of overcoming spiritual beliefs that recognize polygamy. Islam, for instance, allows its faithful men to take more than one wife. Here is the conflict – the laws in the United States are supposed to recognize and protect the rights of all citizens to choose and practice their own religion and religious beliefs. Trying to stop Muslim men from taking on more than a single wife can conceivably be considered an infringement on a Muslim man’s right to worship.

LIFE AND SOCIETY

Authorities in many of the states where polygamy still appears to be rampant often turn a blind eye to the matter if it does not seem to affect the lives of the people involved or the society at large in any negative way. In fact, polygamy, if discovered and confirmed, does not usually attract automatic prosecution if it does not appear to be interfering with anyone and if the parties involved seem to be comfortable with the arrangement. But in some cases, as in cases of forced or underage marriages, the authorities may be compelled to act in order to protect the rights of the individuals involved. If compulsion is a factor in a marriage or if a minor child is involved, authorities may aggressively enforce the anti-polygamy laws in their jurisdiction.

PUBLIC OPINION

Anytime an offence – that is clearly defined by the law as an offense – is left unpunished, and the public learns about it, some people are tempted to think that the laws are of no importance or that the authorities supposed to enforce them do not have the willpower. This situation is undesirable for any jurisdiction, and the authorities could be forced by pressure from the public to prosecute polygamous couples who openly flaunt their polygamy. Most people would argue that this is the main reason why the Brown family in Utah — the reality TV stars – were prosecuted for polygamy after their television series first aired.

PENALTIES FOR POLYGAMY

Because of the specific differences in the laws regarding polygamy in the different states, the penalties and punishments for polygamy also vary just as widely. In many states, polygamy is considered a misdemeanor, but a conviction can nevertheless be penalized with a fine, up to a year in jail, or both. For more information about your own state’s laws, speak with a good local family lawyer, and in south Florida, speak to an experienced Boca Raton family law attorney.

Utah – and several other states – consider polygamy a much more serious offence, and those states impose stiffer fines and longer prison sentences for polygamy convictions. Penalties for polygamy also hinge on the circumstances of the relationships. Willing spouses generally receive milder sentences – if they’re even prosecuted. However, in situations that involve underage partners, forced marriages, or sexual abuse, a polygamy case may be treated as a felony, and a prison sentence for a conviction could last up to seven years.

Boca Raton family law attorney

ENFORCEMENT OF POLYGAMY LAWS

It is extremely difficult to enforce anti-polygamy laws in the United States, even in the states that seem to have the strictest prohibitions on the practice. One of the main reasons for this is that the spouses involved are usually very secretive about their relationships and therefore are not easily discovered. Additionally, some states’ marriage and polygamy laws are archaic and difficult to interpret in the present context. For instance, some anti-cohabitation laws assume that male-female couples living together are cohabiting in a marriage-style arrangement, but these days, many such duos live strictly as roommates and nothing more.

Another tactic that is sometimes exploited by polygamous spouses to protect their lifestyle is generating controversy regarding the finality of divorce decrees. In the eyes of the law, a marriage is legally terminated once a divorce decree is issued, but that does not compel a couple to stop living together. Some religious communities do not recognize divorce or the power of the state to grant a divorce. One conclusion is certain. Marriages of all kinds, and the laws that govern marital relationships, will continue to be a provocative and controversial topic for years to come. If you have any questions or concerns regarding marriage, polygamy, or any other matter of family law, contact an experienced family law attorney as quickly as possible for the legal help and advice you need.

Can I Get a Simplified Divorce?

Posted on: October 28, 2015 by in Family Law
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Divorces are common in Florida, and they can often lead to costly legal battles that go on for years and years. Luckily, there are a few other options that you and your spouse can choose to avoid the process of a typical divorce. These options are simplified divorces, collaborative divorces and annulments. It’s important to explore every option that you have before moving forward with a divorce to make sure that you are making the best possible decision. Consult with a Boca Raton divorce lawyer as soon as possible to go over the different available options.

In some cases, couples may go ahead and get a dissolution using a much more simplified procedure. A simplified dissolution of marriage is, like the name suggests, a simple way of dissolving the marriage in a much shorter timeframe.

In order to file for a simplified dissolution of the marriage, you have to meet residency requirements that are mandatory under Florida law, and must file all of your divorce documents. You must also appear before a judge for the final decree of dissolution.

Basically, to have a simple divorce, both of the parties must be in agreement to a simplified dissolution of the marriage, and must have no biological or adopted children below the age of 18. The couple should not be expecting a baby at the time of the dissolution, and at least one spouse must have been domiciled in Florida for at least past six months.

Both of the parties must come to a mutual agreement about the division of marital property as well as marital debt. There is no question of alimony being paid to either party, and neither party will make a claim for spousal support.

Basically, a dissolution like this is best for those who believe and agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken down, and cannot be fixed, and are able to mutually agree on the division of marital property, debt, child support, child custody, and other matters.

Even in a divorce as simple as this, have a Boca Raton family lawyer by your side, especially to review your agreement in order to make sure that your rights are not being compromised. Remember, terms that may seem fair to you may cause you financial distress down the down the road. Get your agreement reviewed by a Boca Raton family lawyer, before you finalize your simple dissolution.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Florida law allows you to get a collaborative divorce. If you wish to have a collaborative divorce, speak to a Boca Raton divorce lawyer. In a divorce like this, you and your divorce lawyers will meet with your spouse and his/her attorneys and will discuss and negotiate the settlement of the divorce. Basically, this is an entirely voluntary technique that is used to resolve disputes that are likely to creep in during the divorce proceedings.

If you and your spouse decide to have a collaborative dissolution, you will sign a collaborative participation agreement with each other. In the agreement, you will agree to voluntarily disclose to the other person, all important financial and other information that is relevant to the dissolution proceedings. You will also promise in good faith to work together to bring about a mutual resolution of any potentially tricky issues in the divorce.

At the end of the collaborative divorce, you will have a written agreement that is agreeable to the both of you. The agreement will resolve the important issues that must be settled before the divorce is finalized.

That will include the division of all your marital assets and your debts as well as determination of the amount of alimony that must be paid. If there are children involved, the collaborative dissolution agreement must also include a visitation plan that clearly defines how and with who the child will spend most of his time, and the visitation times with the other parent. You must also clearly define the amount of child support that will be paid every month.

To learn whether a collaborative dissolution is for you, and the potential pitfalls of a divorce like this, speak to a Boca Raton divorce lawyer. To learn how you can get started on a collaborative divorce, schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer today.

Annulments in Florida

When someone gets an annulment, it basically means the marriage was never legal or recognized to begin with. While annulments are not very common, they do still exist if the legal grounds for one exist. These are often called “nullified” marriages. Also, annulments have to take place early on in the marriage but that specified time frame depends on the laws of that state. Contact an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

In Florida, the laws are pretty lapse and very non specific regarding annulment. Florida permits annulments for marriages that are related by lineal consanguinity (marrying a close relative), common law marriages (after 1967), bigamy, lack of consent due to mental incapacity, lack of consent due to intoxication of drugs or alcohol, no parental consent for underage, and fraudulent acts or misrepresentations to obtain the consent of the other spouse.

Because the laws in Florida regarding annulment are so vague, many times the judges that receive these cases will refer to previous annulment cases to render a decision. This can often lead to denial of the annulment petition. This is why it is a good idea to consult a Boca Raton divorce lawyer to fight for you.

The law sees the difference between dissolution and an annulment as a divorce is terminating a marriage that was legal and an annulment is dissolving a union that was never legal to begin with. Either way, it is not always cut and dry and it is not always fair.

Contact the law offices of Lewert Law if you believe that you qualify for an annulment. Allow the experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer Tina L. Lewert, Esquire work for you to resolve your issue and get the best possible outcome for you. Call 561-220-0123.

Duties of the Noncustodial Parent

Posted on: October 5, 2015 by in Family Law
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A custodial parent is the parent who has sole physical custody of the child or the parent who the child lives with the majority of the time. In most divorces, the custodial parent is entitled to receive child support from the noncustodial parent. This is established to help the custodial parent pay for expenses that are incurred while raising the child. This is a legal obligation, and noncustodial parents are required, under the law, to continue to make the child support payments that have been determined as part of the youngster assist order.

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

How Much Will Noncustodial Parents Have to Pay?

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

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

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

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

How Long Will the Noncustodial Parent Have to Pay?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is It Possible to Get Child Support Modified?

Posted on: September 25, 2015 by in Family Law
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Child support payments once determined are not easy to change. However, if there are circumstances that call for a revision of the child support payments, then modifications can be made to the order.

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

How Can I Lower My Child Support Payments?

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

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

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

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

Can My Spouse Ask For More Child Support?

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

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

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

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

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

What Happens if I Fall Behind On Child Support Payments?

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

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

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

Should You Take Your Divorce to Court?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should You Take Your Divorce to Court?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can A Court Dismiss Your Postnuptial Agreement?

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

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

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

Property & Debt Distribution in Florida Divorce

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

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

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

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

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

Who Gets the Pet?

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

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

Who Gets the Marital Home?

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

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

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

How to Divide Retirement Funds and Pensions

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

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

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

How to Divide Gifts Within Marriage

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

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

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

How to Divide An Art Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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