All posts tagged: dissolution of marriage

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.

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, …

A New Legal Blog, for a New Day and Time

Like many in the legal profession, my career has taken me from one controversy to another.  My career as a family law and appellate attorney has allowed me to observe children prosper in the right environment, and suffer in heart-breaking circumstances.  I’ve seen good people do good things for both noble and despicable reasons, and I’ve seen would-be professionals neglect all manner of professionalism.  Most importantly, I’ve seen friends, colleagues and complete strangers use every ounce of their professional skill to help other people advance in life. It takes a lot to surprise me at this stage of my career, but hopefully I can relay enough to surprise you.