Navigating the end of a marriage or a relationship may be emotionally challenging and complicated. Especially when children or significant assets are involved, the proceedings may be fiercely contested, and each spouse’s future may be at stake. Serving people in Hollywood and surrounding cities, family lawyer Cindy D. Sackrin is board certified as a specialist in Marital and Family Law. She has acquired substantial trial experience as a former attorney for Legal Aid. Based in Hallandale Beach, our team of dedicated legal professionals represents South Florida residents seeking a divorce attorney or representation in a wide variety of complex matters. For example, we have handled issues related to child support and paternity involving professional athletes, as well as domestic violence disputes. We are here to listen to the details of your situation, understand your personal goals, and develop a strategy designed to achieve them.
According to Florida law, there are two grounds for dissolving a marriage. First, the couple or one spouse may claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The second basis is the mental incapacity of one of the spouses. In order to file for divorce in Florida, either spouse must have resided in Florida for at least six months before the time of filing. The proceeding must be initiated in the county where the spouse who is seeking the divorce resides. Florida also requires at least 20 days of a waiting period before a final judgment dissolving the marriage will be issued, subject to some exceptions. There is a streamlined proceeding to obtain a divorce if the spouses meet certain criteria, but this is not available if any major issues are contested.
Florida law defines child support as the duty to provide financial support to a minor child. Florida has specific guidelines regarding how the amount of support that a parent must provide is calculated, which takes into account each parent’s ability to provide support for the child. Some of the factors that the court will consider when determining a child support award include the number of nights that the child spends at each spouse’s home, whether the child requires day care, whether the child has medical or dental needs, whether any medical insurance policies may provide coverage for the child, and how much each parent earns. Support is intended solely for the support of the child and is not intended to support the other spouse. If there is an issue regarding the enforcement of a child support order, Hollywood family attorney Cindy D. Sackrin can help you go back to court to get this problem resolved.Paternity
Under Florida’s paternity laws, if a woman is married, becomes pregnant, and gives birth, the law presumes that the mother’s spouse is the father of the child. If the mother is not married at the time of the birth, however, a paternity proceeding may be initiated through either a court proceeding or a voluntary process. The latter method requires the mother and the father to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form and to wait 60 days for the form to become final. If the parties do not have an agreement about paternity, either party, the Florida Department of Child Services, or the child through a guardian or another legal representative may initiate a court proceeding to have paternity established. During the paternity hearing, the judge may also issue orders regarding child support, parenting time, and decision-making power for the child’s care.Domestic Violence
Florida law defines domestic violence very broadly, including assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, and the aggravated versions of each of these incidences. The persons potentially included within Florida’s domestic violence protections are similarly broad, including spouses, ex-spouses, co-parents, relatives by blood or marriage, current roommates, and former roommates. Domestic violence protections also apply to partners in a dating relationship, whether the relationship is ongoing or terminated. (A dating relationship must have an intimate, romantic, or sexual nature.) In any of these instances, the court may issue orders protecting a victim of domestic violence, and the state may prosecute persons who violate the terms of a domestic violence injunction.Timesharing (Child Custody)
Florida describes its child custody laws as timesharing laws that involve a parenting plan. Even when the parents agree about custody of the child, the court will still require the parties to create a parenting plan. If the parties are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the court will create a plan, but it may not be tailored to the preferences of the parties. There are specific items that the parenting plan must include, such as how the parties will oversee and share daily care for the child. There must be a timesharing schedule specifying the time that the child will spend with each parent, designations regarding responsibility for school-related matters and health care, and provisions for how each parent will communicate with the child, including specific technologies. In some cases, such as when one parent decides to relocate to a distant location, one parent or the other will need to pursue a modification of an existing order. This may be contested, so it is important to seek legal counsel if you feel that your situation requires a modification.Spousal Support (Alimony)
Alimony may be granted to a spouse in Florida in order to bridge the gap, serve a rehabilitative purpose, or allow the receiving spouse to work toward a financial situation in which they can provide for their own financial needs. Although many people assume that the payments are only made monthly or bi-monthly, the court has the power to award a lump sum support payment or to use a combination of installments and lump sum payments. The court will consider a number of factors when making a spousal support award, including non-financial aspects of each spouse’s situation.Property Division
In divorce proceedings, dividing the marital property may be challenging if the parties had a complicated financial situation or substantial assets. Florida has adopted an equitable distribution approach to the division of marital assets. This means that the property acquired during the marriage (with a few exceptions like inheritances) will be divided equally unless it would be more fair to provide for a different division.Mediation
In general, mediation is a process that allows the parties to resolve a dispute with the guidance and assistance of a mediator who is certified by the Florida Supreme Court. There are specific rules that apply to mediation, including requirements that the mediator remain neutral, refrain from forcing either of the parties to enter into an agreement, and work toward the mutual good of each party.Discuss Your Situation with a Family Attorney in Hollywood
No matter the nuances of the family law situation that you are facing, you deserve dedicated and experienced legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected. From our office in Hallandale Beach, we proudly represent people in cities such as Hollywood, Aventura, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, North Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, Weston, Coral Springs, and Pembroke Pines. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about your legal options and how we may be able to assist you. Call Hollywood family lawyer Cindy D. Sackrin now at 954-455-0800 or contact us online to get started.