Divorce is a hard enough process for anyone to go through and there are lots of complicated financial decisions that must be made. The money worries can multiply for small business owners who have the added concern of how the divorce will affect their livelihood and even employees.

First things first, your business will likely need to be valued in connection with the distribution of marital assets. This will mean a financial expert may need to go over the records of the company and ask questions about expenses and revenue streams. You’ll need to produce extensive documents to verify the numbers in this process. Sometimes valuations, especially complicated ones, can be expensive. Many times each party insists on having their own expert look at the books. The process can be time consuming and can serve as a distraction for employees who must spend time gathering documents.

Though the worst-case scenario in many business owners’ minds is that the company will have to be sold to pay the spouse his or her share of the marital assets, there are ways to minimize the impact of divorce on a small business.

1. First, hire a good attorney. An experienced Jacksonville divorce attorney will know what to do to reduce the impact of the messy divorce process on the continued operations of your business.
2. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that could come in very handy. Such agreements can predetermine the amount of assets that will be distributed in a divorce and can thus protect a business from being broken up.
3. If you have partners, take a look at your partnership agreement and see if it addresses a way of buying out or valuing a share of the company if divorce is filed against one of the owners. While this may not control what a family court judge does, it can show that there was an intent to minimize business disruption which the court will likely respect.
4. If you aren’t lucky enough to have either of the two above agreements, consider hiring a joint financial expert to value the business which will save both time and money. The process will move more quickly if the two of you can agree on one neutral party to conduct the examination.
5. All involved parties, including attorneys and experts, can sign a confidentiality agreement to protect any sensitive information that is uncovered while examining the business’ books such as trade secrets or other proprietary information.
6. Finally, to minimize the risk of a sale of the company, you can attempt to structure the settlement with periodic payments to your spouse rather than a lump sum.

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

Source: “How to Minimize the Impact of Divorce on Your Small Business,” by Jennifer Brandt, published at FoxBusiness.com.

slide_11845_156784_large.jpgFacebook is a good resource to communicate with old friends. Some people find it useful for such odd things as improving your heart rate or landing a job by networking. But one thing using Facebook may hurt is your chances of getting a fair hearing if you are going through a Florida Divorce or a Child Custody proceeding.

Facebook based circumstantial evidence has been used by 81percent of its members according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

You are probably thinking that you set your facebook account’s privacy settings high and you’ve blocked your ex, so they can’t see damaging information. But that does not stop your “friends” from forwarding damaging information.

He’s a list of things never to post to Facebook while going through family law related legal issues:

• That your ex was just a surrogate.
• Your ex is CRAZY, STALKING YOU or PSYCHO!!!!!!
• Pictures of you in the embrace of your new squeeze.
• Pictures of you consuming alcoholic beverages.
• Don’t check in at 3am at the club.
• Don’t Friend that Hot Guy or Girl that has 1000 friends.
• Photos of your Children.
• Racy Pictures.
• Brag about how sexually desirable you are now that “you’re free.”
• Anything that can be deemed negative about your former mate.
• Anything you would not want a Judge to find out about.

If you need a Jacksonville Family Lawyer, please give us a call at 904-685-1200.

old-tree-2.jpgWhile most of us look forward to a happy New Year as we head into January, many couples in Jacksonville marital problems are thinking about taking the first steps towards separation.

Winter is widely regarded in the legal profession as the busiest time of year. Jacksonville Divorce lawyers find that a lot of people who are having marriage difficulties try to get through Christmas, especially if they have children to think about, but once the stressful festivities are over, they see the New Year as the ideal time to make a fresh start.

Legal Seperation in Florida is not valid so the decision and implementation of a separate is one of the most important step in ending a relationship. the decisions you may during seperation or without advice of counsel can affect you for the rest of your life. It can change the division of assets, child custody, child support and even who gets to keep the marital home. The emotional upheaval, worries about how much the divorce will cost, and how it will affect your children make it a time fraught with worry and uncertainty.

At a minimum getting sound legal advice will make you feel that you have some control over a very unfamiliar situation and give you some reassurance about your long-term future.

If you would like to talk about the decisions you are making for the New Year, give us a call at 904-685-1200.

hp.12.19.12.Russiachild.jpgOn December 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law Russian Federal Law No. 186614-6, which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. This law went into effect on January 1, 2013.

Prior to traveling to Russia, The United States State Department strongly encourages families, in cooperation with their adoption service providers, to confirm that Russian authorities will process their adoptions to conclusion and provide all required documents.

It remains unclear whether Russian immigration authorities will allow adoptees to depart the country and whether families in this situation will encounter legal complications with Russian authorities. Because of the Russian Christmas Holidays, which are celebrated later than in the United States, Russian Government offices will remain closed until January 8th.

Last year, nearly 1,000 Orphaned Russian Children found moms and dads in the United States.

If you need legal representation with an overseas adoption, or have a question about the situation in Russia please give us a call at 904-685-1200.

As most everyone realizes, some child custody cases can quickly become heated between the two feuding parents. More often than one might like to admit, one of the parents might engage in some less than honorable behavior. One millionaire father in Florida recently did just that and is now finding himself in hot water.

The Florida dad decided to take his custody case into his own hands, ignoring the ruling by the judge presiding over his divorce. While his actions did help resolve the dispute in his favor, it also ended with a jail sentence of 180 days. Not quite the bargain he was hoping for.

So what did the dad do to warrant such severe criminal sanctions? He made the mistake of ignoring a judge. Family law judges have tremendous power in custody cases and when they issue an order requiring specific action, failure to follow that order can result in an individual being held in contempt of court. In the Florida case, the father was ordered to enroll his son in a boarding school across the country. Apparently believing that he knew best, the father ignored the judge and instead consented to the minor son’s marriage.

The marriage was between the 16-year-old son and the 18-year-old daughter of the family’s long-time housekeeper. The young couple eloped to Las Vegas where marriage only requires the consent of one parent, which the father gladly gave. The result of the marriage was that it effectively emancipated the son, making any further custody disputes such as child support or decision-making power moot.

When word got out about what the man had done the judge was understandably livid. When handing down his sentence, the judge wrote in his final order that, “It is hard for this court to imagine a bolder, more egregious example of indirect criminal contempt.”

The son now lives in a penthouse owned by the father, and the father reported that he plans to appeal the decision sending him to jail. The moral of the story is clear: if your family law judge tells you to do something, do it, or else you might find yourself wearing stripes.

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

Source: “Fla. Millionaire Gets 180 Days for Contempt in Divorce Case for Permitting Vegas Wedding,” by Martha Neil, published at ABAJournal.com.

So what do you do when your Ex Spouse decides that since you are now out of state, he or she can ignore his or her child support order or obligations? An out of state child support order can be “domesticated” in Florida even if the obligation was created from another state. What domestication does is bring the out of state child support order into Florida’s Jurisdiction so the court system here can enforce it. Once the child support order is domesticated, the Florida court can determine how much is owed, how much interest is owed and potentially hold your ex-spouse in contempt of court for failure to meet their child support obligations. One prerequisite, the children must be living with you.

A contempt order can send the nonpayer to jail until they make arrangement to pay if it is shown that they have the ability to pay and are refusing to make child support payments. The judge is much more likely to order them to enter into a payment plan with a deduction order so the child support is taken out of their paycheck each payday.

If you have any questions about Domestication of an out of state child support order or any other family law issues, please give us a call at 904-685-1200 or fill out the contact us form on right hand side of this page.

DNA Doesn't Determine FatherFew Floridians realize that although the DNA test is the strongest evidence we can get to prove actual genetic relationships that there is a difference between Legal Fatherhood and Genetic Fatherhood in Florida.

For instance if a Legal Father finds out that he is not the Genetic Father of the child and despite this fact allowed himself to be listed on the child’s birth certificate, he cannot disestablish his paternity. Any even trickier provision states that a Legal Father cannot disestablish his paternity if a government agency directed him to take a DNA test and he refused. The reason for the refusal appears to be irrelevant, so if he doesn’t want to pay the cost of a DNA test, he loses his right to deny that the child is his.

From the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar:

As the start of the 2013 legislative session approaches, one of the items for debate among advocates will be Florida’s alimony statutes. Florida currently enjoys some of the most progressive alimony laws in the nation and the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar has worked closely with members of the legislature to pass good public policy that is fair and equitable to all parties. As a result of the efforts of the Section through changes made to the alimony statutes in 2010 and 2011, fewer cases are litigated and more are settled.

“The Family Law Section believes any new legislation should set a reasonable approach toward improvements,” said Carin M. Porras, chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. “In the upcoming legislative session, we will be working to educate policy makers and the general public to clarify misconceptions about Florida’s alimony statutes; misconceptions such as permanent alimony payors are prohibited from retiring or the income of a second husband or wife creates a basis for an upward modification of alimony.”

The Family Law Section is committed to ongoing dialogue regarding Florida’s alimony statutes with policy makers and advocacy groups alike. Section members have evaluated draft proposals and are interested in supporting fair policy that will continue to decrease litigation, lessen the burden on an already overwhelmed court system and pass these cost savings onto taxpayers.

The members of Family Law Section are family attorneys who represent Floridians on both sides of the statute — people seeking alimony support as well as those who are obligated to pay alimony — as opposed to only representing the opinions of alimony payors. The Section will work together with Florida’s legislators to review and propose improvements to the current statutes that protect the rights of the alimony payor and the alimony recipient.

child left behind.jpgAs a Jacksonville custody lawyer, I often deal with cases where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Florida has started an investigation of parents because someone has anonymously called in an allegation of abuse on the child. When DCF begins an investigation, often the Department will remove the child from the parent’s home. This is called a “shelter”. If you or someone you know has been accused of harming a child and DCF is investigating, you need a custody attorney in Jacksonville, Florida to help you. There is a chance that the Department could terminate your parental rights and place your child up for adoption in the future without the help of a skilled Jacksonville, Florida custody lawyer who is trained in dependency in Florida.

toolbox.gifIn family law, there are several remedies at the court’s discretion that comprise the toolbox of Family Law. One of these tools is the Child Support Lien.

A “lien” is a recorded claim against property such as real estate. This property can be seized or sold to satisfy and discharge the lien. This process, in the child support context, is just like a foreclosure.

If a parent of your children owes back child support and has no income, the family law court may decide to investigate any real property he owns. The Court would then place a lien on that property which would be recorded in the Office of the Clerk of Court in the county where the property is located. The child support lien, once it has been recorded, is just like a mortgage on a house. In a traditional foreclosure, if a homeowner falls behind on house payments, the bank can, after meeting certain procedural requirements, foreclose on the house. By filing a child support lien, the parent filing the lien is in effect stepping into shoes just like the bank. You can foreclose after meeting procedural requirements.

The state of Florida is a member of the Child Support Lien Network, which helps enforce child support liens across state lines.

Contact Information