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30 YEARS of family law experience

board certified as a marital
& family law specialist

Broward County Family Law Blog

When is one in 'imminent danger' of domestic violence?

Under Florida Statutes, if a person is the victim of domestic violence or if a person has reasonable cause to fear that he or she is in imminent danger of domestic violence, that person can seek a protective order. For the purposes of this statute, however, it is important to understand what "domestic violence" is and what "imminent danger" looks like.

Florida Statutes section 741.28 lists a number of types of domestic violence. Per that statute, domestic violence includes assault and battery. However, it also includes stalking and sexual assault. Also, kidnapping and false imprisonment are considered to be acts of domestic violence. Domestic violence can take place between two spouses, ex-spouses, blood relatives, roommates and unmarried parents of a child.

Keep finances in mind if you separate before divorce

Sometimes when a couple's marriage is on the rocks, they may need some time and space to process their emotions and situation before deciding whether or not to proceed with a divorce. There are also other personal reasons why a couple in Broward County will choose to separate rather than divorce, for example, religious reasons or tax reasons. However, remaining married while separated can present issues when it comes to one's finances. Therefore, it is important for separating couples to move forward on the right financial foot.

First of all, once the spouses separate, they should each make sure they are knowledgeable about their marital finances. This can be a bit challenging, especially if only one spouse took care of the finances while the couple was married, leaving the other spouse relatively in the dark. It is important for each spouse to know what the other spouse earns, purchases, invests and sells.

What happens to pets if their owners divorce?

Dog and cat owners in Florida not only love their pets, but also feel like their pets are a part of their family. However, when a married couple with pets decides to divorce, they must sort through issues, such as child custody, property division and spousal support. But, the very emotional decision must also be made as to what to do with the family pets.

Residents of Florida may be surprised to hear that traditionally, pets have been treated in a divorce the same way as any other piece of property, like a sofa, television or even the family home. These assets are awarded during the property division process. Nonetheless, this treatment of pets may be starting to change as more politicians and groups advocate that the pet's best interests should be addressed, when a couple divorces.

Seeking legal advice can be key before filing for divorce

A Florida wedding is a time of celebration, and on that day, most couples envision a future in which they stay beside each other through thick and thin. However, the truth is that wedded bliss is not in everyone's future.

People change overtime, and some married couples find that they are no longer compatible. In the midst of the tears, fighting, doubt and angst, one spouse or the other may consider filing for divorce. But, there are certain steps that a person wishing to file for divorce may want to take before moving forward.

Establishing paternity is a critical to a child's well-being

Every child in Florida deserves to know who his or her father is. When a child knows who his or her father is, it provides the child with valuable information about his or her family history, including health history. Moreover, a child benefits emotionally from knowing who his or her father is, with the possibility of developing a mutually beneficial parent-child bond. In addition, if a child's parents are not in a relationship with one another, but the child's father is identified, that child may benefit from child support payments made by the father.

If a child is born to married parents, it is assumed that the husband is the child's father for legal purposes, even after the parents divorce. However, if a child is born to unmarried parents who are no longer in a relationship with one another, paternity must be established before child support payments can be instituted or before child custody and visitation rights can be sought.

Are premarital agreements enforceable in Florida?

The act of marriage is assumed to be based upon love and respect. Many Floridians, however, overlook the fact that a marriage is also a legal relationship that can affect ownership of property, custody of children, support obligations and disparity of income. Questions that seemed forever over the horizon at the time of the marriage can appear with devastating force if a couple decide to end their marriage. Even though a prenuptial agreement may seem contrary to the feelings that spawned the marriage, such an agreement can ease the pains of divorce, especially for couples who own substantial assets.

Florida has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act to define the formalities of such agreements and to specify the topics that may be covered. In order to be valid, a premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties prior to the marriage ceremony. The parties must acknowledge that they intend to marry and that the agreement is intended to become effective when they marry.

To keep or sell? What to do with the family home in a divorce

Home may be where the heart is, but when it comes to divorce it is often a very sought after -- and fought over -- piece of property. It can be very stressful when a divorcing couple in Florida cannot agree on who should be awarded the home or whether they should sell it instead. Divorce is already an emotionally tough ordeal, no matter how much it is in a person's best interests, and fights over property division only add to the stress. Nevertheless, in the end decisions about what to do with a couple's real estate in a divorce must be made.

First of all, it needs to be decided whether or not one party will keep the home. For example, the spouse keeping the house might buy out the share of the spouse not keeping the house. Other times a couple may decide to sell the family home and divide the proceeds equally. Sometimes spouses may even agree to hold off on selling the house for a while. For example, one spouse may live in the home with the couple's children until the children are grown, and then they will sell the house and divide up the proceeds.

What is alimony and why is it important?

This blog recently discussed possible alimony reform and suggested changes to Florida's alimony laws. So what is alimony, sometimes referred to as spousal support, and why is it an important concern for so many divorcing spouses? Alimony is an award of financial support following the divorce to one divorcing spouse from the other which is why it can be a significant, and sometimes controversial, concern for divorcing couples.

Alimony reform under consideration again in Florida

Alimony can be a primary concern for many divorcing couples which is why it is important for them to fully understand. A nationally-based parent's organization, which is a political organization, has provided support for alimony reform legislation currently in the Florida legislature. The proposed legislation would allow for greater predictability concerning the court's decision making and allow the divorcing couple greater ability to financially plan following their divorce.

Divorce mediation has a number of benefits

Because of the number of cases in family law court, divorcing couples in Florida are required to go through the divorce mediation process. The mediation process can be beneficial, however, as it allows divorcing couples the opportunity to resolve divorce-related issues in a manner that can be less costly and less divisive. The mediation process can also be a faster process when compared to litigating a divorce. Another advantage is that the mediation process provides more control over the process for the couple rather than having the family law court make decisions for the couple.