December 2010 Archives

December 29, 2010

Florida Divorce: Equitable Distribution

Equitable Distribution Picture.jpgFlorida has adopted what is known as Equitable Distribution. Under the Equitable Distribution scheme, marital property is fairly (equitably) divided between the parties of a divorce.
The current Fla. Statutes require a court to begin the process of dividing assets and liabilities by setting aside those assets that are defined as "non-marital."
• typically those assets which either were owned prior to the marriage or inherited during the marriage and not mixed with marital assets,
• or those properties specified in a written agreement between the parties as non-marital.
Next, the court will divide marital assets and marital liabilities, starting with the presumption that such assets and liabilities will be distributed equally. The court may distribute unequally marital assets and marital liabilities based upon a series of factors including:
• the contributions of each party to the marriage,
• the contribution of one party to the career or educational opportunities of the other,
• the intentional depletion or destruction of marital assets by one party,
• and other equitable factors.
This is just a very brief look at the basics of Equitable Distribution. If you are considering divorce and are weary of what may happen to your assets and liabilities it is advisable to contact a Jacksonville Florida Divorce Lawyer today.

December 28, 2010

Can I get or change my Alimony

Thumbnail image for landon-donovan-and-wife.jpgAlimony is a term referring to the payment of certain monies as a form of financial support. It is based on the common law right of a wife to be supported by her husband. However, in 1979 the U.S. Supreme Court removed alimony's limitation to husbands, to account for cases in which the wife is wealthier.

Traditionally speaking ex-husbands are probably thought of as being the ones ordered to make alimony payments. However, since the 1979 Supreme Court ruling referenced above, that is no longer the case. For example, U.S. soccer star, Landon Donovan, has filed for divorce from his actress wife Bianca Kajlich, and in his divorce pleadings he is requesting alimony from Bianca.

Therefore, it is important to know, if you make good money at your job, be prepared to pay alimony, regardless of whether you're the guy or the gal.

If you are considering divorce and are unsure of how an award of alimony may work out, contact a Jacksonville Florida Alimony Attorney today.

December 28, 2010

Missing Michigan Boys Have Ties In Florida Divorce

1264297_to_the_light.jpgThis tragic story is one that I see all too often in my practice as a and Florida Child Custody Attorney. When couples are divorcing and child custody and child support are in issue, people often feel as if their entire world is collapsing around them and there is no solution in sight. I help those people find the solutions necessary to go forward in their lives. John Skelton, the father of the three missing boys out of Michigan, was born and raised in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. He and his wife were divorcing and he took his children from Michigan to Jacksonville Beach without the wife's permission. The wife came to Florida and took the children home. Mr. Skelton obviously felt he had no more control in his life. The wife was divorcing him and he was going to have to pay child support. I can only speculate as to what occurred next but as of Tuesday afternoon, December 7, 2010, Mr. Skelton was arrested on three counts of parental kidnapping. No divorce or child custody case ever has to get to this point. Please seek an experienced child custody attorney in Florida or Jacksonville divorce lawyer to help you find the right solutions. There is always an answer, even when one feels there is no solution in sight.

December 27, 2010

Remedies for Florida Guardianship Abuse

Orange Park Guardianship.jpgA Florida guardian is a person appointed by the court to act on behalf of a person who is either a minor, elderly or incapacitated (the "ward"). In Jacksonville and Orange Park there are unfortunate instances when an unsavory guardian entrusted to protect the ward is actually the person exploiting the ward by draining finances or not providing for the best interest of the ward. There are also situations, when the court appointed guardian may isolate the ward from other family members and caring friends.

The Florida Guardianship Statutes provide numerous reasons which provide for the removal of a guardian. Legal issues must be researched as to the best course of action when commencing a termination. Termination of a guardian is often a complicated procedure which is best handled by an experienced Jacksonville Guardianship Attorney.

Fortunately, Florida law provides for several safeguards in which to notify the court of guardian abuse, and which allow the court to take the necessary actions to protect the ward and the ward's assets. If you believe that an elderly or incapacitated ward is undergoing abuse or exploitation from a legal guardian, discuss your situation with an experienced Jacksonville Guardianship Attorney .

December 23, 2010

Florida Divorce And The Holidays: When Marriages Get Cold

1316306_christmas_tree_decoration.jpgIn my position as a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney, I see the holidays as being a tough time for families contemplating divorce. In my experience, people will wait to file for divorce in Jacksonville until after Christmas as they usually have unrealistic expectations for the relationship during the holidays. A Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer can help couples in crisis in dividing the holiday time with the children in an agreeable and workable manner and can help reduce the stress associated with a damaged relationship during the holiday time period. These are issues I deal with in my practice as a Florida Divorce Attorney and often on a last minute basis during the holidays. To help you create a holiday schedule to keep the stress of divorce and the holidays low, contact a Florida Divorce Lawyer to help you so the holidays can be Merry and Bright for you.
December 15, 2010

Harassment In Divorce In Florida

As an experienced Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer, I often see couples at their worst. Many times, when a relationship is breaking up, the civility between the parties is also lost, and the harassing begins. This harassment can go from simply bothersome to criminal. Florida law requires that if you feel that you are becoming the victim of harassment, you must first put the offender on notice to stop calling you or your family members or to cease the harassing act. You should keep a log of each call with the time, date, and number from where the call came and from whom. If the offender continues the offending act after being placed on notice to stop, then the act becomes criminal and you may seek the protection of the police or the Office of the State Attorney. It is important to have a Florida Family Lawyer to help you address the issue and to file the appropriate documents in your divorce. Taking these steps will help stop the harassment while the divorce process is pending.

December 13, 2010

Injunction Functions in Florida

867288_anxious_3.jpgAs a Florida Family Law Lawyer, I initiate injunctions for protection against domestic violence for my clients and I defend against them when they have been filed against my client. The injunction in Florida is probably the most misused and misfiled document in domestic relations. Florida statute section 741.28 defines what acts are considered as domestic violence in Florida. Many times, I see a petition for protection against domestic violence that does not contain any allegation of domestic violence as required by the statute. As such, I am able to successfully defend against the allegation in court. If you are attempting to seek an injunction talk with Jacksonville injunction for protection against domestic violence lawyer.In addition, if you are in an abusive situation, you should call 911 and report the abuse and get the immediate protection you require and deserve.

December 10, 2010

Divorce Rates On The Rise

Thumbnail image for 1174492_silhouette.jpgAs a Jacksonville divorce lawyer, I keep track of trends in the area of divorce and child custody issues. As of December 6, 2010, the divorce rate in Jacksonville, Florida was on the rise. However, there is an even bigger trend for younger couples in having children and waiting to get married. In these cases, Florida child custody issues are addressed in the form of a Paternity case. The main thing that people who are practicing this trend should know is that simply because the father is named on the birth certificate does NOT make him the father by law. It isn't until a Judge signs an Order naming the father as the biological father that he will have any legal rights to the child. It is imperative to obtain a child custody lawyer or paternity lawyer to petition the court to give the father legal rights and legal obligation such as the obligation to pay child support in Florida.

December 9, 2010

Federal Regulations Granting Florida Gay and Lesbian Partners Hospital Visitation Rights.

A Department of Health and Human Services regulation will prohibit hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding from discriminatory visitation rules, beginning in 2011. The rule will prohibit discrimination in visitation policies based on one's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Florida hospitals often bar visitors who are not related to a patient. Although there may be new rules, it is still advisable to consult with a St. Augustine Family Law Firm and prepare a hospital or health care visitation authorization document. This will give you written evidence of whom you want to visit you, and who can make health care decisions on your behalf, in the event of your incapacity.

Make sure you and your lesbian and gay partner living in St. Augustine or Jacksonville are protected in the event of future illness or injury, by talking with a Gay and Lesbian Family Law Attorney, about legal documents such as a Designation of Agent for Health Care Visitation and Designation of Health Care Surrogate. These documents will preserve your wishes in the event you are unable to express them at the time they are needed.

December 8, 2010

Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer: What is a Parenting Plan?

Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer Parenting Agreement.pngIn Jacksonville all divorces where there are minor children (under the age of 18 in most cases) require a "parenting plan."

In a Jacksonville Divorce, a parenting plan is created to establish the roles of each parent in regards to important decisions about a child's education, health care, physical, social, and emotional well-being and must include:

  • A description of who will be responsible for health care, school-related matters, and other activities.
  • A time-sharing schedule for the parents and child which describes the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child.

In creating the plan, the parents' relationship, any history of domestic violence, and other relevant factors must be taken into consideration. A parenting plan can be developed and agreed to by the parents and approved by the judge.

Ideally, a well drafted parenting plan is not a fixed document etched in stone - but rather a flexible agreement about how best to share timesharing of the minor children. For further information on parenting plans or to review your circumstances for changes to your current plan contact a Jacksonville Florida Divorce Attorney today.

December 6, 2010

Florida Gay Marriage Advocates look to California

Jacksonville gay marriage proponents waiting for the oral arguments over California's Proposition 8. Over the summer, a district judge held the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and since August 16th the law has been on hold. Read more about the California panel of judges that will be hearing oral arguments in this case.

As Florida does not recognize same-sex marriages, Jacksonville gay and lesbian families would do well to consult with a Florida Gay and Lesbian Family Law Attorney who can provide information about the various legal documents that create marriage like agreements. Whether they are called domestic partnership agreements, living together contracts or something else, these documents reflect the intentions that you and your partner have towards issues such as title of real and personal property, property owned before the relationship began and property either or both of you accumulate during the relationship.

Agreements which memorialize Jacksonville gay and lesbian relationships are contracts. Traditional contract considerations such as intent, capacity to enter into a contract as well as other considerations must be met. As these contracts create enforceable legal rights, it is best to discuss what you want to achieve, and obtain advice from a Jacksonville gay and lesbian friendly law firm for important issues to consider, and clauses to include in any written legal document.