All posts filed under: family law

Florida Parenting Plans

Florida parenting plans govern post-divorce relationships with children by identifying the time each parent will have with their children, as well as each parent’s responsibilities to make decisions for the children.

Florida Power of Attorney: What it can do, and what it can’t do.

A Power of Attorney is, generally speaking, the most important document in a comprehensive estate plan.  A Power of Attorney is a legal document that delegates authority from one person to another. The person who makes a Power of Attorney (called the “principal”) grants their agent specified rights to act on the principal’s behalf. The scope of a Power of Attorney can vary widely, as authority is limited to specified acts or authority is broadly bestowed upon the agent to engage in a wide range of action.  Each person’s need for a power of attorney should be assessed under their particular circumstances. If the Power of Attorney is “durable,” then the principal’s authority to act survives incapacity.  In other words, if the principal is injured or unconscious in a way that prevents them from being able to take action individually, the principal’s authority will remain active even under these conditions.  To make a power of attorney durable, a principal simply needs to make that intention known in the wording of the Power of Attorney. A …

Making Decisions in a Florida Divorce

Here’s an extremely practical article about making personal judgments during a divorce. So many clients want their attorney to make both legal and personal decisions for them during a divorce, but an attorney’s advice should never be a substitute for personal values and goals. Be active in your case and ask questions to ensure that the outcome reflects what you value most. Family law and elder law attorneys follow the direction of their clients when they make legal decisions to protect their clients.  The given direction, however, should always be determined by the client.  The decisions that are made during a divorce are often difficult decisions.  Attorneys are often well-versed in matters of divorce law and procedure.  However, every client’s goals and interests are different, and the legal course of a case should reflect those goals and interests.  Therefore, no matter how knowledgeable or experienced your attorney is, make sure to communicate information and ask questions as you proceed toward a 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.

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 …

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 …