October 2011 Archives

October 31, 2011

Gay Divorce and Termination of Relationships

Ponte vedra gay law and divorce.jpgAs a Jacksonville LGBT Lawyer, I receive many calls from gay and lesbians who are ending their relationships, with no formalized seperation documents in Florida that dictate what happens to jointly owned property. This issue becomes more complicated when real property is involved.

Same-sex couples do not have the inherent safeguards of the law which benefits opposite-sex or heterosexual relationships in a legal marriage as defined in Florida law.

The best advice would be to consult with a Ponte Vedra Law Firm as to how real property, other property purchased together and financial accounts should be titled, managed, and protected.

Those in a new relationship never think about the relationship ending. The best way to begin is to take certain precautions which may prevent trauma and drama should your relationship end.

Whether you call it a "living together agreement", a "domestic partnership agreement" or a "prenuptial agreement", most gay and lesbian couples will benefit by putting their intentions down in writing.

One major issue is when real estate is involved. How the deed to the home is titled, who is named on the mortgage, who is named on the utilities, these are all concerns that may reappear if the relationship "goes south".

Living circumstances are unique to each relationship, so it is advisable to consult with a Ponte Vedra Estate Planning Attorney to discuss what happens to my/her/his/our property should your relationship end.

October 28, 2011

Alcoholism and Divorce

mum-and-alcohol-alamy.jpgAlcoholism is the leading substance abuse problem in the United States. It has been estimated that over 13 percent of adults will experience some form of alcohol abuse at some point in their lives. For many of these individuals it can be a factor in the dissolution of a marriage. As a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer I see alcohol play a role in many of my divorce cases.

Not only can alcohol abuse be a factor that leads a spouse to file for divorce but alcohol abuse can also play a large role in divorce proceedings, especially if the parties have children.

For example, if one party has a severe alcohol abuse problem and often becomes violent when under the influence or drives while under the influence of alcohol, this will be considered when the court determines issues relating to the parties' children.

If the Jacksonville Court believes one party has an alcohol abuse problem the court, in its discretion, can order that party to attend and complete an alcohol treatment program or an alcohol assessment.

If you are considering divorce and have a spouse with alcohol abuse problems contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer with Law Office of David M. Goldman or call us at (904) 685-1200 to schedule a free consultation.

October 27, 2011

Divorce, Adoption, and Custoday for Gay and Lesbian Families.

Orange Park Gay and Lesbian Issues.jpgFlorida same-sex couples who are raising children together or are planning to either adopt or use donor insemination should consult with an Orange Park Law Firm practicing in gay legal issues.

Florida same-sex parenting issues are an evolving area of law. The question about the legal parentage of a child can be the most important question in a couple's relationship, as well as having significance to the child.

Should an Orange Park same-sex couple break up, only the legal parent will be entitled to custody and visitation, and only they are legally responsible for the care and support of the child. This can have a profound and detrimental effect to not only the non-legal parent, but the child as well.

A "legal parent" is one who has the right to live with the child and has the authority to make decisions about the health, education and welfare of that child. A legal parent also has a legal obligation to support the child financially.

There have been several cases nationwide in which a biological or adoptive parent tries to deny the parental rights of their partner (or ex-partner). The results of these cases has been mixed.

The Deleware Supreme Court issued a ruling last spring upholding the rights of a woman who had raised a child with her former same-sex partner (a child the partner adopted but that the woman herself did not). The court identified the woman as a "de facto " parent. A "de facto" parent has been defined as a person who shares (at least) equally in primary childcare responsibilities while residing with a child for reasons other than money.

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that a non-biological mom has a right under the doctrine of "in loco parentis" (which recognizes a person who has acted as a parent) to be heard at a court hearing regarding custody and visitation rights of a child that she and her former partner were raising.

However, the North Carolina Supreme Court, in a decision last year, decided that a lesbian mother's second parent adoption was void.

Mixed court ruling equates to uncertainty in this area of law. It is important therefore, to take the time to speak with an Orange Park Family Law Attorney who can suggest legal documents which may help to protect you, your partner and your kids.

October 27, 2011

Domestic Violence and Divorce

gafl.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I am well versed in the issues of Domestic Violence and its effects on Jacksonville families. Domestic Violence seems to pop up in nearly 50% of my cases; whether the case be one of divorce, paternity, termination of parental rights or modification. The possibility of domestic violence being an issue is always on my mind.

I can't help but wonder with this weekends BIG GAME and the large amount of "cocktails" flowing, would Jacksonville domestic violence and or alcohol related crime rates experience an increase. With this question on my mind I decided to look into the relationship between alcohol and domestic violence.

I stumbled upon the Stop Violence Against Women website and read a page titled, "Myths About Alcohol and Domestic Violence."

The page read, "The relationship between alcohol or other substance abuse and domestic violence is complicated. A prevailing myth about domestic violence is that alcohol and drugs are the major causes of domestic abuse. In reality, some abusers rely on substance use (and abuse) as an excuse for becoming violent. Alcohol allows the abuser to justify his abusive behavior as a result of the alcohol. While an abuser's use of alcohol may have an effect on the severity of the abuse or the ease with which the abuser can justify his actions, an abuser does not become violent "because" drinking causes him to lose control of his temper."

I also stumbled upon some figures which do suggest that there is a correlation between alcohol abuse and domestic violence. For example, researchers have found that one fourth to on half of men who commit acts of domestic violence also have substance abuse problems. Also, the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse found that as many as 80 percent of child abuse cases are associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs.

If over this weekend or any time you become a victim of domestic violence contact a knowledgable Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer or a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer. Also, should you be charged with an alcohol related crime contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer.

October 26, 2011

Guardianship Of Minor Child

orange park guardianship attorney.jpgAs an attorney in an Orange Park Guardianship Law Firm, I often receive calls from parents of minor children who have received an inheritance, proceeds of a lawsuit, or insurance policy. Florida Guardianship law provides that a guardianship is required if the monetary amount in question exceeds $15,000 dollars.

Parents in Orange Park or around often question why a court proceeding is necessary for them to get access to their children's money. In most instances, a bank, insurance company or other financial institution will not release funds to you until you have the necessary court order demonstrating your legal authority to take control of the money.

To become the guardian of a minor, (even natural parents) you need to consult with a Jacksonville Guardianship Lawyer mandated by Florida law to protect and serve the best interest of the minor. Any money exceeding $15,000 is considered significant, and the court requires that the money be placed in a restricted financial account.

The guardian(s) of the minor may petition the court for a monthly allowance, or a lump sum amount of the funds for the minor. The court must be convinced that the funds are to assist the parent in raising the child, paying for education, extra-curricular activities, or anything related to the health, education and welfare of the child.

An Orange Park Guardianship Attorney can advise and guide you through the guardianship court proceeding. If you have questions about the process, schedule a consult with an attorney at an Orange Park Estate Planning Law Firm that practices guardian law.

October 26, 2011

Evidence: Text Messages and Divorce Case

text message.jpgRecently, an Australian man had charges of rape dismissed because of text messages stored on his iPhone. It's not uncommon for text messages to be used in such cases; what's interesting is that the man had deleted the text messages several weeks earlier. Fortunately, an it expert was able to access those deleted messages and recover them for use in the rape case.

Text messages from phones are often difficult to access once they've been deleted, however; as a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer I know that retrieval of these messages is possible. Specifically, your cell phone service provider may hold on to the content of text messages for a certain time period, so even if you delete them from your phone, they might be accessible. Often times a subpoena is necessary to retrieve the text message content.

This information has been important in many of my Jacksonville divorce cases because text messages may reveal valuable evidence regarding child custody, adultery, injunctions, etc. Typically, it is not a good idea to use text messages for intimate discussions or other conversations you may wish to keep private. If you don't want something you say to be used against you, either don't have the conversation or have it in person so there's not a history of the conversation stored on your phone or computer. And remember, if you are going through a divorce, contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer to discuss your questions or concerns.

October 24, 2011

If My Spouse Gets To Keep The House, Can I Still Be Held Responsible For The Mortgage?

mortgage.jpgThe short answer to this question is, unfortunately yes. If, in a divorce, one party is granted sole exclusive use and possession of the former marital home the other party could still be held responsible in the event of a default on the mortgage.

Thus, even if the former marital home is deeded to one party the other party's name is still on the mortgage and can still be held responsible. If the party with possession of the home fails to pay the mortgage, the bank has the option to come after the other party.

During the divorce proceedings the party without the home can ask for their name to be removed but this is likely not to occur. Also, the Court can order the party with possession of the home to try and refinance to get the other party's name off the mortgage, but in todays market this is not a likely solution.

As a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer, I run into this and similar issues all the time. I know there are ways around this issue that can put my clients in the best position possible after a divorce.

Questions of this topic? Contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer with Law Office of David M. Goldman or call us at (904) 685-1200 to schedule a free consultation. Night and weekend appointments available.

October 22, 2011

Los Angeles Dodgers Owner Reaches Divorce Agreement With His Soon To Be Ex-Wife

frank mccourt.jpgThe Daily Pitch is reporting that Frank and Jamie McCourt have reached a divorce agreement that will give Frank McCourt, the Los Angeles Dodgers Owner, sole control over the Dodgers. Jamie McCourt, on the other hand, will be leaving the marriage with a hefty $130 million in her pocket. The settlement is believed to be the costliest divorce in California history.

As a Jacksonville Divorce Attorney, I can't help but think of how less costly the McCourt's divorce could have been had they worked together and agreed to settle nearly two years ago. In Jacksonville, I see clients argue over the most insignificant things because they are experiencing so many emotions due to the divorce. I can only assume that is what the McCourts did, except for on a much larger financial scale.

I personally tell my Jacksonville clients to look at the big picture and to try to take emotions out of the decision making as much as possible. This is often a difficult thing for clients to do, however; I know in the long run it is the best way to go about a divorce.

If you are in the Jacksonville, Florida area and are currently going through a divorce or are contemplating filing for divorce contact a Jacksonville Divorce Attorney today. Call Law Office of David M. Goldman (904) 685-1200 to schedule a free consultation. Night and weekend appointments available.

October 21, 2011

Support Arguments that Don't Matter

divorce money.jpgAs a Jacksonville Divorce Attorney I am all to familiar with the topics discussed in Georgialee Lang's article, 5 Support Arguments That Don't Matter in Divorce Court. In the article, Ms. Lang lists and describes what she deems to be the five most common complaints in divorce cases. Ms. Lang lists the complaints as follows:

(1) My wife left me to move in with her boyfriend, why do I have to pay her spousal support?

(2) My ex spouse has remarried, why do I still have to pay spousal support?

(3) Why does my ex get spousal support after my death?

(4) Why am I still paying child support for my 24 year old child?

(5) Why doesn't my ex spouse have to contribute to child support?

Ms. Lang goes into brief detail on each of the above-mentioned complaints, however, as a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer I know these questions can be answered in numerous ways depending on what jurisdiction the case is in.

For example the answer to complaint number four listed above is different in Jacksonville, Florida. Specifically, in Jacksonville, Florida child support is paid until the child is 18. However, there are exceptions such as if the child turns 18 and is still in high school, or if the child is disabled, or if the parents previously agreed to a later termination date.

To find out more about child support in Jacksonville or any other Divorce issues contact Law Office of David M. Goldman (904) 685-1200 to schedule a free consultation. Night and weekend appointments available.

October 20, 2011

Domestic Battery Going Unprosecuted in Topeka, Kansas

kansas.jpgThis does not have any real effect on Jacksonville, Florida, but it goes to show how politics and lack of funds can severely limit law enforcement with regard to harmful criminal acts. For the past 25 years, the county has prosecuted the city's misdemeanors. After a 10% budget cut, however, county officials said they would no longer prosecute those crimes, saying the city should pick up the tab. The city, however, says it does not have any money. Further, the city points out that its attorneys don't have any experience prosecuting the matters because the county has done it for the past 25 years.

The fight has been going on for a month. During that time, the city's misdemeanors -- including some charges of domestic battery -- have gone largely unpunished. The city is hoping the county continues prosecuting these crimes, but it's unclear when the issue will be resolved.

Domestic violence is a serious issue for both men and women. The act itself is a crime, but there are other personal and legal issues that come with domestic violence. Domestic violence is a serious issue and if you or someone you know is in a violent relationship, contact local authorities.

October 19, 2011

Don't Rely on a Verbal Child Support Agreement

agreement.jpegLet's say you and your ex divorced several years ago. It was somewhat contentious but the two of you try to maintain some contact because you have children. As part of your divorce, your spouse retained custody of the kids and you have to pay $500 a month in child support. But after a while you got a different job and could no longer afford the $500 a month. You spoke with your ex and she agreed to accept $300 a month instead. You have been paying the $300 a month like clockwork for the past 20 months, but now your ex says you owe her the difference -- $4000. Do you have to pay?

Unfortunately, you may have to. You and your wife may have made an oral agreement, but the court might not give that agreement any effect because the only agreement on record is the one that said you pay $500 a month. That oral agreement -- though made with the best of intentions -- could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

Instead, you should attempt to modify your custody arrangement in court. This can be done, and is easier when your spouse agrees to the change. Speak with a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney to discuss your options.

October 18, 2011

Cheating Spouses and Divorce in Jacksonville Florida

caught cheating.jpgFlorida is a "no fault" divorce state. This means that either spouse may seek a divorce without showing cause for the desired separation. The spouse seeking a divorce has the option to simply claim the marriage is "irretrievably broken." Generally, Jacksonville Florida courts are not concerned with which party played the greater role in causing the divorce.

As a Jacksonville Divorce Attorney, I am often asked how a cheating spouse factors into a divorce in Florida. While adulterous conduct does not factor into the court's decision to grant a divorce, it can impact other important issues raised in a divorce.

In child custody battles, a court considers the "moral fitness" of a parent seeking custody. Evidence of adulterous conduct can lower a party's level of "moral fitness," and decrease his or her chances of receiving custody. However, it is not an absolute bar to child custody. Often times, a larger impact will be whether the adultery had an adverse impact on the child.

Additionally, Florida Law stipulates that adultery is a factor to be considered in determining the amount of alimony awarded. In short, a higher frequency of adulterous conduct by a cheating spouse can lead to a larger amount of alimony he or she will have to pay.

If you are contemplating a divorce in Florida or have concerns about the impact of adulterous behavior on your divorce, contact a Florida Divorce Attorney today!

October 17, 2011

Child Custody Leads to Eight People Dead

scott de kraai.jpegAs a Jacksonville Child Custody Lawyer I know all to well that custody disputes can get very volatile. Unfortunately, one custody dispute in Southern California turned deadly this past Wednesday.

Reports have come out that 42-year-old Scott Evans De Kraai of Huntington Beach, California allegedly opened fire at the salon his ex-Wife worked, ultimately killing eight people including is ex-Wife.

Orange County court records show that Mr. De Kraai and his ex-Wife, Michelle De Kraai, were involved in child custody dispute and a child custody evaluator was recently appointed by the court in April.

It is unknown what drove Mr. De Kraai to take such deadly action, but it is hard not to suspect the court battle between his ex-Wife played a factor.

October 14, 2011

Divorcing a Spouse Who Has Alzheimer's Disease

alzheimers.jpgA few weeks ago, Evangelical host of the 700 Club Pat Robertson made waves when he suggested that Alzheimer's is a type of death and it would therefore be permissible to divorce someone suffering the disease. Many people in both medical and religious groups took offense to Mr. Robertson's statement, but what about the legal aspects? Would the courts even grant such a divorce?

In Florida, there are two general grounds for divorce: the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and mental incapacity. A divorce based on mental incapacity would likely not be granted by claiming mental incapacity, as that requires the other spouse to have been adjudged incapacitated for the past three years.

The only available option seems to be asking the court for a divorce based on the marriage being "irretrievably broken" -- but since the other spouse is incapacitated, he or she would likely require a guardian. A judge might not be lenient in granting a divorce in such a situation, but it appears to be possible. It is certainly an interesting issue. If you or someone you know has been served with divorce, make sure you have a Florida Family Law Attorney helping you get through this difficult situation.

October 13, 2011

Two-Year Marriages in Mexico City?

till death do us part.jpgMost of us think of marriage as lasting "till death do us part", but high divorce rates are making that sentiment less of a reality. Facing a high divorce rate, legislators in Mexico City have made waves recently by proposing legislation that limits the marriage commitment to two years, as many divorces occur within those first two years.

The bill is not yet law and still needs to address issues such as child support and estate planning. Nevertheless, proponents argue it will save money and time by allowing couples to choose a two-year marriage if they'd like. Of course, the bill has been met with plenty of opposition from Mexico's conservative groups. These groups claim the bill ignores fundamental aspects of marriage, which should be a lifetime commitment.

Nevertheless, this bill is an interesting method for solving rising divorce rates. It's unlikely that such bills will be proposed--let alone passed--in the US anytime soon. However, if you are going through a divorce, contact a Florida Family Law Attorney today.

October 12, 2011

Termination of Parental Rights

rivera.jpgYou may have heard the sad but interesting story about a Jacksonville woman, Jessica Rivera, who has been charged with the death of her 13-year-old daughter after the young girl was found malnourished and covered with lice back in June. The girl was originally found unresponsive. Coroners stated the cause of her death was due to organ failure, caused by a massive infection.

Unfortunately, Ms. Rivera had three other children. The good news is that all three of her children were removed from their deplorable condition and are now under the state's custody.

One interesting aspect of Ms. Rivera's case is how the state has the ability to remove her children from the home. Ms. Rivera's case is extreme and it appears the state was within reason when it removed her children, but that's not always the case. Generally, courts will terminate parental rights only in extreme situations where the bets interest of the child is not in his or her parental home. There is usually a hearing involved, but court proceedings can be confusing and overwhelming, especially in such harrowing circumstances. If you are wrongfully facing the loss of your parental rights, contact a Florida Family Law Attorney to discuss your options.

October 11, 2011

Hubbard House and Domestic Violence

hubbard house.jpegHubbard House was the first domestic violence center to open in the state of Florida. To date, the center has been critical in helping thousands of domestic violence victims - be it man, woman, or child. The center is celebrating its 35-year anniversary since opening the doors in 1976. Hubbard House has been integral in creating the significant number of options a victim of domestic violence has today compared to what was available prior to 1976.

Hubbard House doesn't just provide an emergency shelter. The House provides adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education. So Thank You, Hubbard House, for all that you do for Northeast Florida!

Remember that if you or anyone you love is ever in the unfortunate situation of dealing with domestic abuse, referring that individual to Hubbard House could be a life or death move. 10 people on average per year in Jacksonville are killed as a result of unreported domestic abuse, far too many in the eyes of the Hubbard House.

In an abusive relationship, also be sure to seek the help of a Jacksonville Domestic Violence Lawyer who can help assert your rights as a battered spouse.

October 10, 2011

Domestic Violence Signs

amanda stevenson.jpgThis story that came up in the Florida Times Union last week presents a great example of why no one should underestimate a threat. That's not to say overreact to every threat; but when a threat gets to a dangerous level, especially where there are questions about the aggressors mental state, it is time to take some action.

On Sunday, September 25, a 96-year-old St. Augustine woman was charged with the murder of her nephew - who, by the facts, feared her. The story told of an aunt that moved in because there was no one else to care for her. All seemed pleasant, but at the drop of a hat the aunt would grow unpleasant. She threatened to kill her nephew and his wife on multiple occasions, and even told them she had a gun. But, because of her age and the fact that the nephew didn't know of any gun, the threats appeared

As it turns out, the threats were very substantial, as the aunt shot her son with a .357 magnum as he slept only a week after the supposed harmless threats.

If you are in a situation where you feel unsafe, even if it seems like a stretch, it probably is a good idea to seek help. Shelters such as Hubbard House are available to provide batterers intervention services to the Jacksonville community. Also, one can file an injunction, which is a court order requiring the aggressor to stay away from you.

To discuss the various options while seeking help against domestic violence, be sure to contact a Jacksonville Family attorney who can help in getting you protection from somebody you fear may harm you.

October 8, 2011

What is Required to Obtain an Injunction/Restraining Order Against Someone?

reasonable fear.jpgI have written about Injunctions on numerous occasions throughout this blog. I've described the types of injunctions in Florida, the definition of domestic violence, and firearm rights and the relation to injunctions in Florida, among many other things. However, I recently realized I have not blogged about the legal standard required to obtain an Injunction against an individual.

The case of Oettmeier v. Oettmeier, 960 So. 2d 902, (Fla. §2d DCA 2007), speaks directly on this topic. In this case the wife sought a domestic violence injunction against her husband. Said injunction was granted by the Circuit Court. The husband appealed and the Second District Court of Appeals held that competent, substantial evidence did not support the finding that the wife had an "objectively reasonable fear of imminent domestic violence". The case holds that if fear alone is the "reasonable cause" alleged to support the injunction, then not only must the danger feared be imminent but the rational for the fear must be objectively reasonable as well; absent this objective reasonableness, the Petitioner's belief is unsubstantiated speculation that does not support the entry of an injunction.

If you're seeking to obtain an injunction contact a Jacksonville Domestic Violence Lawyer today to schedule a free consultation. Night and weekend appointments available.

October 7, 2011

Child Custody: 50/50 Custody

50:50.jpgAs a Jacksonville Beach Child Custody Lawyer, I will, on occasion, have clients ask whether the Judge overseeing their divorce will likely grant them and their soon-to-be ex-spouse 50/50 timesharing (commonly known as custody). The law surrounding this question is convoluted at best.

Basically, Florida law has established a presumption against ordering rotating or 50/50 timesharing. With this presumption Florida courts have traditionally not ordered 50/50 timesharing unless the court can find that exceptional circumstances exist which make such a timesharing arrangement in the best interests of the child.

However, in 1997 the Florida Legislature enacted section 61.121, Florida Statutes, which states as follows: "The court may order rotating custody if the court finds that rotating custody is in the best interests of the child." And looking just at the plain language of this Statute it appears as though there is no presumption against 50/50 timesharing.

Therefore, as a Jacksonville Beach Child Custody Lawyer I can merely inform my clients of the current statute and case law that relates to 50/50 timesharing, and make an informed argument to the Judge based on the facts of the case. There is always an argument to be made!

If you're considering divorce and have concerns regarding your potential timesharing schedule contact Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC at (904) 685-1200 today to schedule a free consultation.

October 6, 2011

How Can I Hire an Attorney When My Spouse Has All the Money?

401k.jpgWhen a family is going through a divorce it can be one of the toughest times in a person's life. Concerns range from child support, alimony, and distribution of assets and liabilities. Many people find themselves so caught up in the emotion of their case that they can overlook very important considerations. That being said, let's look at a specific example of oversight that could potentially cost a person thousands of dollars.

Say husband and wife are getting a divorce, and at issue is the support due wife after the dissolution. Wife, in her settlement agreement, gets husband to agree to give her a portion of his 401(k), let's say $50,000, and in turn waives her right to any alimony that she could potentially qualify for. Unfortunately, wife's attorney forgets to account for taxes inherent in 401(k)'s, and instead of negotiating the taxes into the agreement, the wife ends up paying nearly 30% in tax on the settlement, $15,000. With careful negotiation the husband might have agreed to account for those taxes, thus giving the wife the full value of her settlement.

Issues like the one seen above can be avoided by carefully choosing a Florida Divorce Lawyer who will represent you. An experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer is sure to take the important tax implications into consideration before presenting a proposed final agreement. Contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer to discuss the facts surrounding your case today.

October 5, 2011

Divorce Mediation

divorce mediation.jpegIn the vast majority of divorce cases (and all family law cases for that matter) in Duval County, Family Law Judges order parties to attend Mediation prior to trial. As a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer, I know that the majority of these cases can be settled at Mediation.

What exactly happens at Mediation? Well, in Mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) helps negotiate a marital settlement agreement between the divorcing couple. However, it is important to know, the mediator cannot force either party to agree to anything. The decision-making is truly left up to both parties, which is of course completely opposite then if the parties were to go before a Judge. The mediator can meet with the parties together and/or separately to see if a compromise can be reached, which tends to be far more relaxed and informal then trial.

If an agreement is reached during the mediation, it is immediately reduced to writing. Which then, basically becomes the final divorce decree, and is legally binding. After an agreement is made and reduced to writing at mediation all that is left to do is have the Judge sign the agreement and thus make the divorce final.

Contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer today to learn more about the mediation process and other related family law issues.

October 4, 2011

Mexico City Proposes Law that Would Require Marrying Couples to Estimate How Long Marriage Will Last.

mexico city.jpgMexico City legislators have recently proposed a new bill that would require all marrying couples to sign a prenuptial agreement indicating how they plan to handle certain issues that may arise in the event of a divorce. The proposed bill would also require couples to estimate how long they expect to be married.

Sponsors of the bill suggest that the bill's purpose is to cut down on the lengthy and often hostile divorce proceedings that are currently clogging the court's docket. Sponsor's believe that requiring couples to agree on divorce terms prior to the end of the marriage will directly benefit the court's docket.

Needless to say local Catholic leaders are not that keen on this proposal. Specifically, Rev. Hugo Valdemar, spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese for Mexico City, stated, "this denigrates the concept of the family... and makes it more like a pact between friends."

To read more see: "Mexico City lawmakers propose mandatory prenups" with Associated Press.

October 3, 2011

Marriage Equality Fight In New Jersey

Jacksonville LGBT--rights lawyer.jpgFlorida gay and lesbian community looks to the rest of the country to track the universal fight for marriage equality. In 2006, New Jersey, enacted a civil union bill. In 2008, a legislative review commission, concluded that civil unions are insufficient and do not provide equality. This past summer a new lawsuit was filed in the Garden State again demanding marriage equality.
The LGBT community in Jacksonville and all over the Sunshine State, demands equality as well. Without marriage Florida same-sex couples are denied workplace benefits and protections equal to those accorded to married people. Florida may have a long road ahead for gay relationships and the benefits gay couples receive.

As the fight for equality continues, it is of the utmost importance for those in relationships to learn about the various ways that legal documents may protect these relationships. Whether it be the preparation of gay estate planning documents, or domestic partnership agreements, talking with a Jacksonville Attorney who focuses on LGBT issues is recommended.

Having a Jacksonville lawyer prepare gay and lesbian legal documents can help to ensure that you, and not your family (parents, siblings), or the State of Florida will make the decisions as to what happens to your property once you pass away. To schedule a consultation with a Jacksonville Law Firm that is sensitive to the needs of those in same-sex relationships contact a Jacksonville LGBT Rights Attorney

October 3, 2011

Florida Putative Father Registry

putative father.jpegThe State of Florida's legislature, in 2003, created what is called a "Putative Father Registry." This registry was created so unmarried "putative" fathers could register their intent to exercise parental rights to a child who the they believe may have been born by virtue of a sexual relationship they had with the child's mother. What exactly does putative father mean? Putative father is a person who is alleged to be the father of a child or the supposed father of a child.

Florida Law states that an unmarried man, by virtue of the fact that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman, is deemed to be on notice that a pregnancy and an adoption proceeding regarding the child may occur and that he has a duty to protect his own rights and interest.

In order to preserve the right to notification and consent in the event of an adoption an unmarried man in the State of Florida must file a claim of Paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry. By doing this he must confirm his inclination and intent to support the child for whom paternity is claimed. However, such a claim of paternity may not be filed after the date a Petition is filed for the Termination of Parental Rights.
If you fathered a child outside of a marriage contact a Jacksonville Beach Paternity Lawyer today!

October 1, 2011

Paternity: Who are the legal parents?

whos your daddy.jpgAs a Jacksonville Paternity Lawyer, I often have cases where the parties are not married but they have a child in common. In my experience many men falsely believe simply because their name is on the birth certificate that they are legally the fathers. In Florida this is simply not the case!

Under Florida law, until a Judge signs an Order which determines you are the father, then the child is NOT legally yours. As such, you have no legal rights to the child for timesharing or parental rights of any kind.

In order to be recognized as the legal father in Florida it is necessary to file what is called a Petition for Determination of Paternity. Paternity actions are brought before the court in order to assist a parent in acknowledging and protecting important time-sharing and child support rights and/or obligations.

You may ask, "Who exactly can file a paternity action?" Any woman who is pregnant or has had a child, a man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child, or even a child may bring a paternity action to determine paternity when paternity has yet to be established. With that being said, an individual can also bring a paternity action if he believes he is not the father of a child but currently has a child support order against him.

Paternity actions are not simple proceedings that can be easily undertaken without the assistance of a knowledgeable Jacksonville Paternity Lawyer. If you have had a child out of wedlock and are concerned about your rights or what may be due to your child, contact Law Office of David M. Goldman to schedule a free consultation today! Night and weekend appointments available.