498955_holding_moneyAlimony Reduction and Termination: Alimony is often one of the most contested issues in divorce cases.  For many people, the idea of paying money to financially support an ex-spouse is a disgusting idea.  When the love and reverence turns to hate and disdain, making alimony payments to the ex-spouse is painful.  The pain is only magnified by a judge’s ruling that the payments are to be permanent.  An award of permanent alimony normally stays in place until the re-marriage of the recipient or the death of one of the parties.  However, under some circumstances, modification or termination of permanent alimony payments can be accomplished.

Florida Statute 61.14 authorizes the circuit court to reconsider alimony when the parties’ circumstances or financial ability change.  Courts interpret this by requiring three things: (1) a substantial change in circumstances; (2) the change was not anticipated at the time of the final judgment; and (3) the change is sufficient, material, permanent, and involuntary.  Applying this test, alimony can be either decreased or increased.

Florida courts have deemed that a former wife’s increased living expenses related to her condominium were enough to justify an increase in alimony.  It has also been determined that a former husband who voluntarily retires after reaching retirement age and has less income as a result should have that fact considered when the former husband asks for a reduction in alimony payments.  For more information, or for a free initial consultation regarding the specific facts in your case, call the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC at (904) 685-1200.  Our experienced Jacksonville alimony lawyers and divorce lawyers can help you or a loved one work toward the best outcome in your case.

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Social media has become an everyday part of life for many people, including Florida residents.  Oftentimes, conflicts between people begin on social media platforms.  Other times, issues begin in the “real world”, but are carried out in forums like Facebook and Twitter.  Recently, I encountered a situation that falls into the latter category.  Most Jacksonville injunction and family lawyers are all too familiar with the story of the old spouse  and the new spouse having issues with each other.  Petitions for injunctions or restraining orders end up being filed in many cases.  Physical violence is not always what prompts the petitions being filed.  When the feud manages to stay verbal, rather than become physical, the next best way to elevate the conflict for many is often to turn to social media.  Mean and nasty things are said, sometimes even threatening things, with a very large social media audience watching and weighing in themselves.

So what happens when one person harasses, stalks, threatens, or cyberstalks the other on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…?  If both parties live in Florida, the answer is simple: an injunction petition or a petition for a restraining order may be filed.  Florida laws allows for the petition for protection against stalking to be filed in the Florida county where the defendant lives or in the county where the action accrues , meaning the place where the acts are committed.  Florida Statute 784.0485 creates a cause of action that specifically allows an individual, or an adult on behalf of a child, to file a petition for protection against stalking.  The petitioner, through the petition for a protective order, will ask the court to order the violator to have no contact with and stay away from the petitioner.  The court will weigh the evidence and make a decision whether to grant the request for an injunction.  However, when the conduct that is complained about takes place entirely on social media, like Facebook or Twitter, the court may have more of an issue when determining whether the injunction should or can be issued if the violator is a resident of another state.

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As a Jacksonville divorce lawyer, I am familiar with how messy things can get in a divorce case. People tend to have emotional responses during divorces that can sometimes cloud their judgement. For instance, the Florida Family Law Rules come right out and tell us what financial disclosures must be provided to the other side, yet there will still be disputes regarding what information has to be provided. Oftentimes, the motivation not to provide information as required under the Florida Family Law Rules stems from spite. Divorces are understandably very emotionally draining and tough events to endure for most people. It is your divorce lawyer’s role to help by being your legal counsel and help you make the best decisions in your case.

Thumbnail image for 150130_accounting-calculator-9-90373-m.jpgRule 12.285, entitled Mandatory Disclosure, lists the disclosures that must be made, such as pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and more. There can be sanctions for parties that refuse to comply with the rules. You could end up paying your spouse’s attorney fees associated with asking the court to compel you to comply. It is important to only refuse to produce the information if there is a valid objection to be made. Any objection must be timely. If your objection is not made five (5) days or more before the due date of the disclosure, your objection is considered waived.

Working with your attorney to quickly comply with the rules and time limits can save you time, money, and stress. At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced Jacksonville divorce and family lawyers that can help guide you through the divorce process with care and understanding. It is our pleasure to help with a stressful situation in your time of need. Call us today (904) 685-1200 to schedule a free consultation regarding your divorce case.

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There are numerous reasons that spouses cite when filing for divorce. These reasons vary greatly. However no matter what the reason, in recent years a new trend has developed on when spouses actually file for divorce- and it is right after New Years Day.

The most common time of year for filing for divorce is the month of January, which is now nicknamed divorce month. In the month of January, the most popular day to file is January 2nd and January 3rd, which is right after the New Years’s Day holiday.

There are probably many reasons why divorce filings double during this period of time. Many spouses report wanting to stick it through the holidays because they feel it will be easier on the family and/or the children. Some couples believe that the togetherness and emphasis on family that comes with the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas will solve all of the preceding year’s problems. Sometimes the stress of the holidays makes an already declining marriage much worse.

Since the New Year’s Holiday seems to bring with it a period of reflection and review of the previous year, it may be the last reflection that a spouse needs in order to get them to file. No matter what the reason for the split is, divorce filings double in January. Statistics show that approximately 10 percent of couples don’t make it to their fifth wedding anniversary and roughly 25 percent divorce before they make it to their tenth wedding anniversary.
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Dan Marino, probably the greatest quarterback the NFL ever produced, and champion of autism awareness, cheated on his wife of 28 years and fathered a child with an attractive television personality. Always seen as a clean cut family man and all around good guy, he’s had four children with his wife and adopted two children, and inspired by his autistic son developed the Dan Marino Autism Center with his fortune.

How could someone everyone sees as so good do something so bad? Generally 50 percent of men are assumed to cheat on their significant others and in a study of 400 women, 39 percent admitted to physically cheating on their husbands.

So why is cheating so rampant? It may be that we crave emotional connection. In study after study only around 7 percent of cheating men said all they were after was sex as compared to 48 percent who reported it was the desire to have an emotional connection. Eighty Eight percent of cheaters said the object of their carnal desires was not more attractive than their spouses. It seems that most cheating occurs after someone has formed some close friendship with the person they eventually have an affair with.

Americans don’t seem to protect their marriages. Chemistry is a powerful force and someone with seemingly everything can still be left feeling wanting companionship and love.

Since cheating is so common, it is a good idea to ask yourself before you contemplate a divorce, should I try to reconcile with my unfaithful spouse? We all make mistakes of some degree, and the longer one is married, the more difficult both emotionally and financially it can be to walk away from a relationship.

However, the other side of that coin reads, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. How can you ever trust again?

In order to make a decision to reconcile, it is important to separate emotion from logic. Infidelity is a highly emotional issue surrounded by feelings of betrayal and jealousy. Separate those emotions from the logic of the situation, no matter how hard that may be. It may be helpful to decide at this point to figure out what your dealbreakers are. It is also important to think about your safety and financial security.

It may also help to discuss your feelings with a family law attorney who is not just concerned with getting your divorce dollars. Such a lawyer can explain to yo the pros and cons of a divorce and reconciliation and what your options are to protect yourself in the future.

1. “I brought my ‘friend’ with me to the interview.”

You and I have an attorney client privilege. But once you bring in a third party, whether it’s a friend, a lover or whoever, the benefit of the attorney client privilege is gone. Unless that third party is named in the case or otherwise officially associated with the case, there is no attorney client privilege.. If a friend or a lover is in a meeting with attorney and the case goes sour, in the event of a trial or deposition, there is no privilege and all those secrets can spill out in a deposition or in court.

2. “I am so depressed over this.”

If you need to cry on someone’s shoulder, don’t use your attorney’s. He or she is billing you by the hour, and while they may sympathize with your problems, they have to bill you for the time you spend with them commiserating on the telephone or in person. If you tell all your troubles to your attorney, you’ll really be crying when you see the bill.

3. I know he or she is cheating on me because I’ve been following him/her everywhere.

If you say this to your attorney, one of the things you might be saying to your attorney in the near future is “get me out of jail.”

4. I just got into an altercation with my spouse and the police arrested me.

When going through a divorce, keep things civil. While things may have been stormy right before you decided on a divorce, now is the time to be on your very best behavior.

Family law can be expensive, both emotionally and financially. When clients come to see a family law attorney, rarely are they happy or in a good frame of mind. With this in mind, here are a few things that are often said to family law attorneys, that in hindsight, were better left unsaid:

1. “I don’t care what it costs, I would rather give you everything than give my wife/husband anything.”

No matter what you pay your family law attorney, you are going to give something to your spouse when the marriage is over. You may want revenge but that rarely happens in a divorce. Things said when you are angry will later be taken back, especially when the client receives my final bill for their act of “revenge.” Wouldn’t you rather spend your money on your children’s education than on legal fees?

2. “My friend or neighbor’s divorce worked that way and they told me to do it this way.”

There is nothing worse than asking for advice from people who have nothing to lose when you have everything to lose, and you hired a professional to advise you. Each family law case is different and unique. What makes sense to your well-meaning friends may make no sense for you. Sideline quarterbacking will only be detrimental to your divorce.

3. “I’m in a hurry to get this done”

When you say this, you immediately put yourself at a disadvantage. Compromise is critical in any family law case. Without compromise, you can never come to a resolution, and in Florida, the Judge will make all the decisions absent a compromise. If you tip your hand and let your spouse know you want to get the divorce in a hurry, your spouse’s attorney will know this as well. These cases come up when a client is eager to move forward because of a new relationship. In cases like this the divorce is going to cost you much more than initially anticipated and you will rue the day you told everyone you wanted this over quickly. Don’t rush. Hurrying will be costly.

4. “Never say Never.”

Never say your spouse can have everything. Never say you will pay your spouse nothing. Never say you are going to leave your children. Each case has an n upside and a downside. Saying never is one the worst things you can do. An attorney is here not just to give you legal advice, but to counsel you on how to rebuild your life after the storm is over.

The last several days we looked at laws Jacksonville, Florida parents should know about. This is the last installment in this series.

18. I am not sure that I want my kids vaccinated against all of the diseases that my pediatrician recommends. I have heard about negative side effects. Do I have a choice? Section 381.003, Florida Statutes establishes programs for the prevention of preventable disease. The law requires that all children receive vaccines protecting against the spread of diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and other diseases for child-care center or school attendance. There are religious exceptions.


A religious exemption for vaccination is a written form certifying that the parent’s objection to immunization for religious reasons exempts the parent and child from state vaccination requirements.
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This exemption is only necessary for use in Florida Public and private schools for kindergarten through grade 12.

  • A religious exemption is for anyone who has a sincere religious conflict with vaccination.
  • A religious objection may be expressly implied by religious denomination or it may be based on an individual’s own moral/spiritual conscience to live God’s Word.

Q: What constitutes a religious conflict with vaccination?

  • All vaccines are made in violation of God’s Word.
  • Vaccines are made with toxic chemicals that are injected into the bloodstream by vaccination.
  • All vaccines are made with foreign proteins (viruses and bacteria), and some vaccines are made with genetically engineered viral and bacterial materials.
  • A conflict arises if you believe that man is made in God’s image and the injection of toxic chemicals and foreign proteins into the bloodstream is a violation of God’s directive to keep the body/temple holy and free from impurities.
  • A conflict arises if you accept God’s warning not to mix the blood of man with the blood of animals.
  • Many vaccines are produced in animal tissues.
  • A conflict arises if your religious convictions are predicated on the belief that all life is sacred.
  • God’s commandment “Thou Shall Not Kill” applies to the practice of abortion.
  • When you believe that the practice of abortion should not be encouraged or supported in any way, a conflict arises with the use of vaccines produced in aborted fetal tissue even though you did not have any other connection with the abortions from which the vaccines are derived.

Q: What religions qualify for religious exemption?

  • The statutory language for Florida vaccine policy clearly states that religious exemption must be granted without question if vaccination conflicts with a person’s religious convictions.
  • A religious objection may be expressly implied by religious denomination or it may be based on an individual’s own moral/spiritual conscience to live God’s Word.

Yesterday we looked at laws Jacksonville, Florida parents should know about. Here are a few more.

9. My kid is always bruised from playing. His teacher suspected we were abusing him and called the police and DCF on us. Why did she do that?
She was following Florida law, which requires any person who believes that a child is being abused, neglected or exploited to report the suspicions to the Department of Children and Families (DDCF). The law provides the person making the report with immunity, as long as she acted in good faith. If your son’s teacher hadn’t reported her suspicions, she could have been charged with a crime.

10. What does a child need to know before entering kindergarten?
Admission to a public kindergarten is not contingent upon what a child knows; if the child meets the age requirement, he or she is eligible for admission. The Florida Partnership for School Readiness has published “Performance Standards” for 3, 4, and 5 year olds. Those standards reflect what children should know and be able to do. You may access that information and other resources from the Partnership’s website. In addition, the Sunshine State Standards provide expectations for student achievement in Florida. These were written in seven subject areas, each divided into four separate grade clusters (PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12).
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Like every state in the Union, Florida has a host of laws that affect you as a parent. Some of this laws or Administrative Rules may enhance your parental rights, while others, if not followed could land you in jail or create civil or criminal liabilities if not obeyed. While every Parent in the United States has a Fundamental Right to be a parent, with these rights come important responsibilities.

So how do you know what is the law? We hope this series of articles will guide you to a few important concepts regarding Florida Law.

1. How long can I keep my kids home with me before I have to send them to school?

Florida law, states that all children who are either six years of age, who will be six years old by February 1 of any school year, or who are older than six years of age but who have not attained the age of 16 years, must attend school regularly during the entire school term.

2. Does Florida law specify an age requirement for admission into a public school first grade?

Florida law does not provide a specific age requirement for enrollment to public first grade, the provisions of Florida law related to kindergarten admission and student progression dictate that first grade enrollment be limited to (1) students who turn six years old on or before September 1 who have successfully completed kindergarten; and (2) out-of-state students who turn six years old after September 1 who meet the age requirement for public kindergarten admission from the transferring state, and who have successfully completed kindergarten.
3. Can we home school our Children?

Yes. When you decide to home school a child in Florida, you must notify the school district superintendent of your intentions in writing. The letter must include names, addresses, and birth dates of the children who will be enrolled in home education and must be filed within 30 days of beginning the homeschooling process. The same process must be completed if you decide to stop homeschooling your children, and the letter again must be filed within 30 days of the termination of the home education program. You will also be required to have an annual educational evaluation of your child or children, which is to be performed by a licensed teacher within the State of Florida. If you are teaching elementary grades, an elementary teacher will be needed for the evaluation; and if you are teaching secondary grades, you will need to have the evaluation performed by a secondary teacher.
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