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December 31, 2013



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.


November 15, 2013

Why Do Good People Cheat?

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.

November 11, 2013

Things to Never Say to Your Divorce Attorney

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.

December 18, 2012

Two Household Families and the Holidays: Create rise in divorce and custody disputes

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.

May 25, 2012

Social Media Pressure Comes to Bear on Jewish Divorce

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

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Jacksonville Beach Divorce Lawyer: Harassment During Divorce
Yulee Divorce Attorney: Divorce Concerns

April 24, 2012

Common Law Marriage in Florida? Really?

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.

April 19, 2012

Cohabitation and its Affect on Marriage

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.

March 31, 2012

Drew Barrymore's Marriages, Engagements, and Divorces.

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.

January 4, 2012

LeBron James Engaged and in Need of a Prenup

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.

September 14, 2011

Common Law Marriage in Florida

common law.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 Law Office of David M. Goldman for more information on this and other family law issues.

August 1, 2011

Common Law Marriages Outside Of Florida Can Be Valid

marriage license.jpgThe state of Florida has changed its view on common law marriage in 1967 to not allowing it. As a Florida family law attorney, I get many questions from people who have resided together as husband and wife who have never been officially married. Florida will only recognize this type of marriage if it was formed in another jurisdiction that does allow this type of marriage. In a recent case, a couple had lived as husband and wife in another country without ever having been officially married. The Florida court had to follow the laws governing marriage in the foreign country, which allowed the couple to enter into a common law marriage. If you are from a foreign jurisdiction (either another country or another U.S. state), and your "husband" or "wife" has been in an accident, it may be pressing to get a Florida court to determine that you have some marital rights. If you have a situation where you require a determination of marriage, please contact a Jacksonville family law lawyer.

July 30, 2011

Premarital Agreements In Florida

premarital agreement.jpgPremarital agreements in Florida are an important tool if you wish to keep your assets private during a marriage. While such agreements may never come into play if the marriage lasts, they can be incredibly important in the event of a divorce in Florida. Florida is one of the many states that allows premarital agreements. The agreement must be voluntary as it will not be considered enforceable if it was entered into due to fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching. Additionally, the agreement must not be unconscionable. These are all issues that are decided by the court in the event the agreement is challenged. In fact, such agreements are challenged and often! If you are thinking about utilizing a premarital agreement in Florida in your marriage, or you wish to challenge a premarital agreement that you've already entered into, contact a Florida Family Law Attorney today.

July 18, 2011

Morality Clause in a Divorce

morality.jpgMorality clauses used to be popular in the South. These clauses were included in a Judge's divorce order and usually required one or both of the divorcing parents to take some action (or refrain from taking some action). For example, a common morality clause was to require that a woman not have any male overnight guests unless that person was a direct relative or married to the woman.

Nowadays, these clauses are less common and extremely difficult to enforce. While you and your former spouse may agree to include such a clause, the court will not likely enforce it. If your divorce had a morality clause and you are trying to gain custody of your child because your former spouse violated the terms of the clause, the court will not likely enforce the clause based simply on the fact that the other party violated its terms. Instead the court will focus on whether or not the child was actually harmed by the overnight guest (or any other violation of the clause).

Courts have stated that they consider the child's (or children's) welfare more than anything else in a custody proceeding. So, if you cannot show that your former spouse is endangering your child's welfare, the court will not likely uphold a morality clause.

However, nothing is preventing you from including such a clause in your request for divorce (however, most courts require both parties to consent to such a clause). If you are filing for divorce, or seeking to enforce a morality clause, contact a Florida Family Law Attorney.

July 7, 2011

Adultery's Impact on Florida Divorce

cheating.jpegFlorida is a "no fault" divorce state, meaning 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, 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!

June 24, 2011

Predatory Marriage: What are your Options?

old young marriage.jpegYou might've heard that Hugh Hefner is getting married -- yet again -- at the end of this week. Keep in mind that Hugh is 85 years old and is engaged to a 24-year-old former Playmate. In other words, Hugh was a little over 60 when his soon-to-be wife was born. While it's not really the purpose of this blog to criticize Mr. Hefner's lifestyle, one could reasonably question his bride-to-be's motives.

As our population grows older, you may hear more stories about "predatory marriage". This is when a younger -- usually much younger -- person marries an older person without the family's knowledge. When the person dies, his or her new spouse emerges on the Will as the beneficiary to assets that should otherwise go to the family. For example, in one extreme case, an adult daughter left her elderly father with a family friend while the daughter went on a weeklong vacation. In that week, the family friend married the woman's father, transferred some of his assets to a joint account, and named herself his pension beneficiary. The man's children found out about the marriage a month later; when they asked him about it, he couldn't remember anything about the arrangement.

In many states, such arrangements are difficult to challenge as inheritance rights of widows and widowers often trump estate-planning documents. In a few states, however, courts and legislators are trying to make it easier for families to challenge these predatory marriages. Florida is one such state; last year, a law was passed that allows heirs to challenge any marriage, even after a spouse's death, on the ground of fraud, duress, or undue influence. Such statutes often have legal implications regarding the Constitutional right to marry; however, Florida's law does not infringe that right but instead alters the property rights associated with marriage.

Nevertheless, it is important that you take care when seeking a caregiver for your elderly relatives or friends. Conduct a background check on potential caregivers. Discuss power of attorney with your parents, or place assets in a trust. Asset protection is one of the many important things you need to consider, so you should contact a Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorney as soon as you can. Should you need to discuss your available options in challenging a predatory marriage, speak with a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney to discuss your legal options.