Our sole focus is family law.
Our mission is to provide you with the best representation possible in your legal case involving divorce, child custody, paternity or other family law matter that you need help with.
Contested divorce occurs when there is at least one issue that the parties are unable to resolve in dissolving their marriage. This often involves issues regarding the minor children such as child support, time-sharing or who will make the parental decisions. It can also be that the parties are unable to decide how to distribute the assets and liabilities amongst them. Other times the parties are unable to resolve issues of whether alimony should be paid and how much.
Uncontested divorce occurs when both parties come to a full agreement on all issues, including issues on time-sharing, parental responsibility, child support, alimony, distribution of marital assets and liabilities, etc. Even when a divorce is uncontested, it is important to have a properly drafted Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan (when there are minor children). Poorly drafted agreement(s) cause future problems and can end up in expensive post dissolution litigation, as well as result in an outcome that was not what a party believes was agreed upon.
Pro Se Divorces
Pro se divorces are divorces where the Husband and/or the Wife decide to represent themselves. Since representation can be expensive, parties seeking a divorce often find themselves without counsel. This generally is not recommended, especially if the other party has retained counsel. Pro Se litigants are at a significant disadvantage of not being familiar with the dissolution process as well as the laws that govern divorces.
Every person has a right to live in a home safe from harm. The courts recognize this and assist those who are not safe by permitting them to file (free of charge) a Petition for Injunction Against Domestic Violence. The Petition is initially reviewed by a judge (generally the same day it is filed), and if the court finds that the petitioner has a reasonable and imminent fear for his/her safety, a Temporary Injunction is entered by the judge. This injunction stays in place until the alleged abuser is served with the temporary injunction and is provided a date to come to court for an evidentiary hearing where both parties present their case to the court.
In the state of Florida, if you no longer live with your minor child’s other parent, there are statutory limitations on moving with your minor child. These limitations begin if (a) you move 50 miles or more from the residence at the time of the divorce (or other time sharing court order), and (b) the move extends 60 days or beyond. If this occurs, the statute requires you to either obtain written consent of the other parent or obtain a court order permitting you to relocate prior to moving. If you fail to do so prior to relocating, the Court will enter an order, upon request, requiring the minor child to return to the jurisdiction the child previously resided.
Child support is provided by the court to the parent who has the most time-sharing with the minor child. The amount of child support to be paid is determined based upon the incomes of the parties and other factors such as the amount of childcare paid, and the amount of health insurance paid.
A Final Judgment can be modified to make certain changes that may be needed. This can include changes to the amount and/or duration of alimony awarded, the amount of child support awarded, the amount of time-sharing awarded for the minor children, etc.
A paternity action is filed to require the natural father of a minor child born out of wedlock to be deemed the legal father of the child. This is generally requested by the natural father to obtain certain legal rights to the minor child, such as the ability to make decisions regarding the child’s well-being or to obtain time-sharing with the child.
Name change actions become necessary in family law for several reason. First if the wife does not request that her maiden name be restored during the initial dissolution action and later desires to do so, she will be required to file a Name Change action. Also, parents, at times want to have the minor child’s name changed, or have the entire family’s name changed.
Contempt / Enforcement
After a Final Judgment is entered in the initial case, should one party fail to comply with the order, the other party can often enforce the order or have the person held in contempt. In order to do so, the language in the Final Judgment must be clear and unambigious and the party’s failure to comply must be willful.
Custody is no longer a term used in family law in the State of Florida. The Court now uses the term time-sharing. The Courts are required to have Parenting Plans entered when time-sharing is an issue in a case. Parenting Plans are entered in paternity and divorce cases and at times in modification and/or relocation cases. A Parenting Plan is known as the “bible” for parents as it relates to their rights and obligations for the minor child. Issues such as parental responsibility, time-sharing, holiday schedules, the rights to travel, education and extracurricular activities are discussed in the Parenting Plan.
Prenuptials / Postnuptials
Prenuptials and postnuptials become very important when one or both parties wishes to protect certain assets acquired prior to the marriage. There are very specific requirements that are required to ensure that a prenuptial or postnuptial is not set aside by a court later, should a party ever seek to obtain a dissolution thereafter. It is for this reason that it is important to consult with an attorney if you are interested in having a prenuptial or postnuptial prepared.
While most people say the State of Florida does not have grandparent rights, there are certain circumstances where grandparents and/or other family members can exercise rights when it comes to minor children. For example, Florida Statute 751. Here the court can enter an order providing a family member with temporary custody of a minor child until such time as the parents are able and fit to care for the minor children.
Guardian Ad Litem
A Guardian Ad Litem in family law actions (i.e. divorce and paternity actions) is a third party that is appointed to help the court determine what is in the best interest of a minor child. The Guardian is often given the task of speaking/interviewing various persons such as teachers, medical providers, neighbors, the children, the parents, relatives, etc. to provide the court with a report and recommendations as to what that Guardian believes would be in the best interest of the minor child (generally on issues such as time-sharing and/or relocation).