All posts filed under: dissolution of marriage

What is Collaborative Divorce, and is it the Right Path for You?

The collaborative divorce process enables couples who have decided to divorce, separate or end their marriage to work with their lawyers and other family professionals in order to avoid the cost, stress and uncertain outcome of a contested divorce.

Who gets the family pet?

I recently received a call from a gentleman who was preparing for a divorce, and he was concerned about a custody issue. Interestingly, the couple had no children during the marriage. He wanted to understand his rights to custody of a pet, in this case a dog. In a divorce, the question often arises: Who gets to keep the family pet?   Florida family laws are designed to protect the best interests of children in divorce.  Based upon a myriad of factors, the court will determine what it believes to serve the interests of children due to social, economic, educational, emotional and other factors that will serve the children’s interests, and assign custody accordingly.  Pets are not given to either of the divorcing parties based upon this standard.  Rather, pets continue to be viewed by the law and courts as personal property.  Therefore, the court will award the family pet or pets to one of the parties based upon the equitable distribution standard. Pets that were acquired by one of the parties prior to the divorce will …

How to divide assets and liabilities in a Florida divorce

A great deal of financial information and documentation can be needed in order to complete the divorce, depending on the extent of the marital estate and the complexity of the parties’ finances.

Is it legally improper, or just bad etiquette to serve divorce papers through Facebook?

In order to obtain a divorce, the defendant spouse must first be served with a copy of the divorce complaint. Traditionally, this has been accomplished by a sheriff or private process server.  In some cases, this can be completed by certified mail. However, like everything else, the legal system has evolved with the proliferation of email as a preferred method of communication. Now, with the advancement of social media, things may be changing again. A New York judge has apparently ruled that service of a divorce complaint can be provided through Facebook. And let me be clear: I like the idea! Seems harsh to use a social media platform to accomplish something that certainly will not be “liked”, but this is the method by which many people communicate these days. Indeed, I’ve seen several divorces that were caused due to a spouse’s inappropriate activities on Facebook, so why not serve that spouse with a divorce complaint through Facebook? To be effective, service should reasonably apprise the defendant of the action that is pending against them.  A Facebook message can accomplish this …

Veterans in Family Law Cases

Words cannot describe what a pleasure it is to represent those who serve our country in the armed forces, especially those who have recently returned from some far off place that I’ve only read about, or seen on CNN.  It’s not just the thought of helping someone who has put their life on the line for our national defense; it’s also the organization and discipline they bring to a case from an administrative stand point.  If I need a particular document to prove some factual or legal point during the representation, they get me the document immediately.  If I ask for a piece of information, they will move the earth to obtain and relay the information, often before I am ready to process it.  Unfortunately, most people do not possess that level of discipline. But as with all good things, these otherwise positive traits and life experiences can come at a cost. Armed forces personnel seem to develop a sense of discipline that can, for some, result in an abnormally high degree of frustration when confronted with life stressors that are beyond …

The quick and cheap divorce is not a myth, but it may cost you a lot!

Many of the people who contact me for representation in a contested divorce case are interacting with the legal system for the first time.  That’s usually a good thing.  Sometimes they’ve called other attorneys before calling me, and have already learned that the legal fees associated with a contested divorce can range from expensive to really expensive, depending on the issues presented, the degree of animosity and the particular attorney(s) they contacted.  They’re often looking for the best deal available, and I can’t say I blame them.  But here’s a bit of hard truth about the high legal fees associated with a contested divorce…  If you’re involved in a contested divorce, you don’t want it to be cheap. Let’s start with the definition of a contested divorce.  Simply put, in a contested divorce, the parties do not agree on one or more of the issues.  What are the issues you ask?  Custody, visitation, child support, property division and spousal support.  Important, often life-altering stuff.  If the parties to a divorce agree on all of these issues, …

Abused and Neglected Children: Who’s watching out for them these days?

I’ve met a lot of foster children over the years.  The vast majority of them are there for reasons that I could explain, but never justify.  Drugs, neglect and worst of all outright abuse put thousands of children in foster care every year.  I could tell war story after heart breaking war story all day, but in the end those children will still end up in foster care.  Still others are abused, but are able to escape foster care by landing a placement with a relative.  While the case is heard in court, and until the case is closed, somebody will be responsible for watching over these children, listening to them, advocating for them at court and, in general, helping them through a terrible chapter in their lives by protecting their best interests.  The person charged with that responsibility is called a Guardian ad litem, or GAL for short. The GAL is simply the most important player in any family law case.  The GAL is appointed to represent the child(ren), and to make recommendations to the court that …