Articles Posted in Marriage

Divorce is an unfortunate reality.  It happens to people of all walks of life from the average Joe to household names like celebrity couple Gwen Steffani and Gavin Rossdale.   According to, Gwen filed for divorce on Monday.  Gwen and Gavin are both successful musicians and have been married for over 13 years, but sources report that Gwen complained that Gavin was a cheater and was on tour with his band too often.  Gavin claims that Gwen spent time on the road, as well.  Reasons for divorce vary as much as the couples that get them, but there are a few reoccurring themes in divorce cases.  Financial issues, cheating, domestic violence, substance abuse, and simply growing apart are the ones I hear most often.  Whatever the reason, divorces are common, but knowledge about the process and rights each person has is not common.
imagesThe process of getting divorced is legally simple.  What is complicated at times, is accomplishing the task.  The emotions that go along with the process can make matters difficult, especially where one party is being spiteful or is suffering from emotional pain that enhances the legal battle.  Pushing aside the emotions that come along with a divorce, the major issues to be decided are:

  1. Child child custody and visitation (referred to as “time-sharing” in Florida)
  2. Child support
  3. Spousal support (alimony)
  4. Division of marital property (equitable distribution)

Time-sharing is based on what is in the best interest of children.  A list of factors to be considered can be found in Section 60.13(3), Fla. Stat.   Child support is determined by a formula and is based on the parents’ incomes and the children’s needs, amongst other factors.  Spousal support (or alimony) is based on the length of the marriage, the parties’ needs and ability to pay, and more.  MArital property (and marital debt too) is generally divided equally between the parties, but there can be a deviation from this scheme, depending on the circumstances.

For more information on your rights and responsibilities, and general information on divorce in Florida, contact the Jacksonville divorce lawyers at the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC at (904) 685-1200.  Initial consultations are free.  Our attorneys can help you navigate through the process, while protecting your rights.  Call us today to schedule an appointment.


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.

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.

During the holidays, the stress level for many Florida families inevitably goes up. With the much of Florida still stuck in the 2009 recession, unemployment still very high and the foreclosure rate in and around Jacksonville still at record levels, when family problems creep into the picture, stress can go through the roof. Add a separation or dissolution of marriage to the picture and the situation can seem unbearable.

Competing parents can make this unseeingly unbearable situation far worse by fighting over sharing time with their children. But a wise parent, with their eye on the long term will add perspective to their thought process. How do you add that perspective? By remembering two things. First, just because the holidays do not seem like a joyous time right now, does not mean that your children feel the same way. Find ways to hide this stress from your children. Don’t make them associate the holidays with economic and marital stress.

Second, instead of fighting with the competing parent, why not talk things through? Most parents don’t want their children to go through the stress of a divorce and when both parents share that attitude, the stress of sharing time with their children decreases with the level of cooperation.

Right now, if you are going though a separation, think about what really is important to you, and act on that. Don’t act on a temporary situation. You will thank yourself that you had the presence of mind to talking things through, instead of fighting things out.

Social Media Pressures Get Jewish DivorceSome creative Boca Raton residents are using social media pressure to get one woman’s husband to sign their divorce papers. A Jewish woman has found out the hard way that her husband is not willing to grant her a Jewish divorce. Although she has received a civil divorce, Jewish divorce laws require that the husband sign a Get, a Jewish divorce decree, which would allow his ex-wife to remarry.

Yomin Postelnik and Leah Postelnik went through a tumultuous divorce and Yomin refused to grant his wife a Get, even though a host of rabbinical courts handed down orders for him to sign the document. A rabbi in Boca Raton heard about the case and mounted a social media campaign against Yomin to pressure him into signing the document. He urged several in the South Florida Jewish community to blackball Yomin until he granted Leah the divorce.

The Postelnik’s are not the only Jewish couple going through a divorce and who have experienced social media pressure. Tara Epstein and Aharon Friedman had a similar experience to the Poselniks. Friedman refused to grant Epstien a religious divorce. The social media campaign against Friedman was so aggressive that some were even demanding that he be fired from his job with United States Representative Dave Champ, R-Mich.

While this case involves Jewish litigants, it is possible that social media could be used to harass and pressure divorce litigants regardless of their faith. It is not advisable that anyone engage in such an aggressive campaign. When going through a divorce proceeding, it is important that litigants be careful what they post on social media websites. If that information is available to the public, it can be used against the poster in future legal proceedings.

If you have questions about a divorce proceeding and would like a Jacksonville divorce attorney to assist you in the matter by email or by calling today at (904) 685-1200.

Source: “Desperate for a divorce,” by Lois K. Solomon, published at

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marriage.jpgCommon law marriage, often referred to as sui juris marriage, is only recognized in twelve states; Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Texas, and Utah. The District of Columbia also recognizes common law marriages. However, you will notice, Florida is not among those states.

Florida Statute 741.211 reads as follows, “No common-law marriage entered into after January 1, 1968, shall be valid, except that nothing contained in this section shall affect any marriage which, though otherwise defective, was entered into by the party asserting such marriage in good faith and in substantial compliance with this chapter.”

Although Florida does not have common law marriage, there are instances when Florida will recognize common law marriages that occurred out of state. Contact an Orange Park Family Law Attorney with Law Office of David M. Goldman for more information on this and other family law issues.

cohabitat.jpgImagine you are offered a credit card with fantastic terms: zero percent interest for the first 12 months and no foreseeable strings attached. You need a line of credit, so you sign up and promptly fall behind on your payments. After the first year, you have a fair amount yet to be paid. The credit card company informs you that your first year interest rate is expiring; the new rate is 23%. That’s higher than a lot of other cards but, if you’re like many people, you simply stay with the card because getting a new one with a lower limit is just too much work. You’ve made the commitment; you’re stuck with it.

This is the analogy being drawn by experts studying what they refer to as the “sliding, not deciding” effect of relationship development. Many young couples are now moving in with each other to sort of “test the waters” before marriage. Many of them find out, however, that their cohabitation becomes something very difficult to get out of — more difficult than they realized — and marriage just sort of happens based on their mutual desire to keep things the way they are. Instead of actually committing to the marriage, these couples simply slide right into it.

Unfortunately, many of these couples do not communicate their full intent prior to cohabitating. As we’ve blogged about in the past, lack of communication is never a good thing. While dating, these couples spend more and more time with each other until they simply get married. What might’ve been a relationship that would’ve otherwise lasted only a few months turns into marriage simply because both parties are too invested in their living situation to try anything else.

Nevertheless, cohabitation has increased by 1500% since 1960, when about 450,000 couples lived together. That number is now more than 7.5 million. It’s unclear how many of those live in Florida–cohabitation between unmarried couples is technically still illegal here (though not many, if any, people are actually charged with this “crime,” and new legislation has been proposed to overturn the law). Though many of these couples view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, these couples tend to be less satisfied with their marriages and more likely to divorce.

As a Ponte Vedra Beach Family Law Attorney, seeing couples going through a divorce is often a difficult process. Making the decision to get married in the first place is an important one and should not be a decision made simply out of convenience. Nevertheless, if you are going through a divorce, contact a Ponte Vedra Beach Family Law Attorney to discuss your options. It’s important to surround yourself by a good support circle, and a qualified Ponte Vedra Beach Family Law Attorney can help you get through the process.

drew.jpgSince I just wrote about the top ten most expensive celebrity divorces, I figured why not go ahead and write about the shortest celebrity marriages. This topic may not have that much to do with my job as a Fleming Island Family Law Attorney, but it is interesting nonetheless. See the list as follows:

Actress Drew Barrymore married comedian Tom Green on July 4, 2001. Less than six months (166 days) later, Green filed for divorce.

“One Tree Hill” actors Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush were married on April 16, 2005 and separated five months later, merely 163 days after they said their vows.

On Aug. 31, 1994 late singer Aaliyah and R. Kelly were secretly married. The marriage was annulled by Aaliyah’s parents 114 days later as Aaliyah was only 15 years old.

Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley were married in 2002. They made it less than four months or 108 days before filing for divorce.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries filed for divorce on Halloween, after a mere 72 days of marriage. Their wedding was believed to have cost an astonishing $10 million dollars.

American Pie actress, Tara Reid, married Zack Kehayov in Greece. Just 68 days later Reid stated the marriage was never official because it wasn’t made legal in the U.S.

At 19-years-old Drew Barrymore married bar owner Jeremy Thomas. She filed for divorce a mere 39 days later. This is Drew’s second appearance on this list. And present news reports have her currently engaged to Will Kopelman, her art consultant. Only time will tell if Drew will make her third appearance on the list of the shortest celebrity marriages.

Singer Sinead O’Connor announced on Dec. 27, 2011 that she was divorcing her fourth husband after just 18 days of marriage.

Actress Ali Landry and actor/host Mario Lopez were married in April 2004, but the marriage was annulled after 18 days when Landry discovered Lopez had been unfaithful.

Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds married on January 1, 2008 in Bora Bora, but never had a legal ceremony. They split when they returned the United States just 15 days later.

NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra were married in 1998. They divorced after 10 days.

Cher Bono filed for divorce from rock singer Gregg Allman in 1975 only 9 days after their wedding.

Pop Star and Icon Britney Spears married childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander at about 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2003 at a Las Vegas wedding chapel. The two filed for an annulment after 55 hours of marriage.

And the shortest celebrity marriage goes to…..Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. Zsa Zsa was married to Felipe de Alba for less than 24 hours in 1983. The marriage was annulled because Gabor’s marriage to Michael O’Hara had not been properly dissolved.

Whether you are seeking a divorce from a short term or long term marriage, contacting a Fleming Island Family Law Attorney should be your first step towards the single life.

Call (904) 685-1200 to schedule a free consultation.

Law Office of David M. Goldman serves the counties of Duval, Nassau, Clay and St. Johns.

prenup.jpgLeBron James and his high school sweetheart and mother of his two children, Savannah Brinson, are officially engaged. News agencies are reporting James popped the question on New Years Eve at the Shelborne Hotel in Miami, Florida. The happy news comes after a long courtship of sixteen years.

I hope the best for the couple and wish them a lifetime of happiness together. However, I can’t help but hope James’s legal team is on top of making sure a prenuptial agreement is in place in case of an unfortunate divorce. You can never be too cautious. Prenuptial agreements are all too important for the rich and famous and really anyone looking to protect assets in a divorce.

In Jacksonville Beach and all of Florida, premarital agreements are governed by Florida Statute 61.079. This statute is often referred to as the “Uniform Premarital Agreement Act”. Under this act a premarital agreement is defined as, “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage”.

Contact a Jacksonville Beach Family Law Attorney for more information on why a prenuptial agreement may be in your best interest.

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