Divorce is difficult, but there are steps you can take to make it easier. Read on to learn how to have a peaceful divorce.

The divorce rate in the US is around 40% to 50% of all marriages. While you may have initially thought you found your soulmate, maybe things have changed. And despite trying to work out your differences, you’ve grown too far apart and divorce is the only logical next step.

Reaching this decision isn’t an easy one, especially if there are children involved. Your friends may have gone through messy divorces themselves, and you want to do everything you can to avoid the same fate.

If you’d like to have a peaceful divorce so you can move on with your life better, then read on. We’ve got some helpful tips on how to do so.

Don’t Place Blame on One Another

When things get bad, it can be easy to blame one another for the failure of your marriage. Maybe you think your wife hasn’t paid enough attention to you in the last few years, or maybe she thinks you’ve been too focused on growing your career.

At this point, it doesn’t do any good to point fingers at one another. Trying to pinpoint exactly what made the marriage fail will just make both of you extremely bitter, which will set the tone for a messy and ugly divorce.

Once you’ve reached a place where both of you agree 100% that you should divorce, that should be it. Don’t try to assign a reason to the divorce; just agree it’s better for the two of you if you go your separate ways.

If you leave blame out of it, then you’ll stand a much better chance of having an amicable and peaceful divorce.

Don’t Be Petty

Those who don’t feel slighted by their exes may be tempted to be petty in the divorce process. For example, maybe your ex really loves your shared car, and just to make her suffer, you want to take it in the divorce.

But by doing this, you’re just dragging out the divorce longer. Since it’s such a treasured possession of hers, she’ll most likely fight you on this, which can end up in more meetings with the lawyer and time in court.

Instead of trying to exact revenge, try and be the bigger person. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should acquiesce to everything your ex wants.

What you should do is sit down and think about the big picture. What is it you truly want and can’t compromise on? Once you figure that out, everything else will be trivial.

The two of you should come together and discuss these non-negotiable needs and see if you can work around them.

Be Honest and Open

While in the midst of a divorce, some people will try to hide their assets so they don’t get cleared out by their ex in the process. But by doing so, you may entangle yourself in much more legal messes.

We’re not saying you should be best friends with your ex while you’re getting divorced, but both of you should be able to discuss all your assets and income without hiding anything.

By doing so, you’ll be doing a “good faith negotiation” with your ex-spouse. When the two of you can openly discuss everything, this makes it a lot easier to resolve any financial issues. This is especially important if you have children with them.

If you weren’t the spouse that handled the financial side of things in the marriage, this can give you a better picture of what the two of you shared. That way, you can have better trust and keep the divorce more amicable.

Put the Needs of Your Children First

Again, while you’re separating from your spouse, it’s tempting to find any ammo against them and use it. Often, parents end up using their children as pawns in the game of divorce. While it may be temporarily satisfying, it ends up being harmful to everyone involved.

Make it clear to your ex that the welfare of your children come first. You may want to consider divorce mediation, as this lets you discuss your children’s needs with a neutral third party present.

Always use positive language when discussing issues involving your kids. Always ask for your ex’s input so they feel involved instead of pushed away by you.

How you work together during the divorce can be extremely beneficial for the future, as it lays down the groundwork for you working successfully as co-parents.

Have a Good Support System

Not only can going through a divorce on your own be lonely, but it can really take a toll on your mental health as well. If you aren’t feeling 100% emotionally, you may end up taking it out on your ex. Needless to say, that won’t end up in a peaceful divorce at all.

Make sure you have a good support system consisting of close friends and family members. When you’re alone, it can be tempting to self-medicate in unhealthy ways. The after-effects won’t be so pleasant, plus it can kickstart a downward spiral.

If you have friends and family you can rely on, you can turn to them in times of need instead of self-medicating. Sometimes, all it takes is calling someone up for a chat for you to feel better and stronger. This can leave you more clear and levelheaded to deal with your divorce.

Have a Peaceful Divorce and Get Along With Your Ex

Just because you’re going through a divorce doesn’t mean it can’t be amicable. With our guide to a peaceful divorce, hopefully, you can navigate this difficult time of your life with more ease and tranquility.

If you need a divorce lawyer to help you through this process, then get in touch with us today. Not only can we assist you with your divorce, but we can also advise you on other related subjects, such as alimony and child custody.

Getting divorced is tough, but deciding how the money will work can be more difficult. Read on to learn about alimony in Florida.

Up to half of the couples in the United States end up getting divorced, and Florida has the 7th most noteworthy divorce rate.

Florida is one of the most stressed states, particularly about financial situations.

Whether it’s because of money or other factors, many cities in Florida have high divorce rates. In Live Oak, for example, the divorce rate is 23%.

Regardless of where you live, alimony is one of the fiercest divorce battles to face.

And alimony in Florida is particularly challenging to determine, mainly because there is no mathematical formula for doing so.

Getting divorced is hard enough as it is, but figuring out how the money will work between divorced couples can be even harder.

Keep reading to learn all about alimony in Florida.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony is also referred to as “spousal support.” Alimony is the legal obligation to provide financial support to a spouse after a divorce.

State divorce law varies, so alimony is issued by a divorce decree that works according to state divorce law.

Alimony is much different than child support, though people sometimes confuse the 2.

Alimony is considered taxable income to the receiving spouse. Plus, it’s deducted from the income of the spouse who is paying.

Child support payments, on the other hand, aren’t deductible to the paying spouse. They aren’t taxable to the receiving spouse either.

Child support is paid. There are no tax concerns that come into play, unlike alimony.

 

One important thing to remember about alimony in Florida is that there is no mathematical calculation for determining an amount. Child support payments, on the other hand, are determined based on the payee’s income.

There Are Different Type of Florida Alimony

Florida law has 5 different types of alimony.

A judge will award these 5 different types in whatever combination that seems fair under the particular circumstances of that divorce.

Alimony payments can consist of periodic payments from one spouse to another or a single lump-sum payment.

Spouses can agree on different terms and conditions of alimony on their own. A spouse can also opt to give up alimony entirely, which typically occurs in exchange for another valuable type of property.

What Are the Different Types of Alimony?

As we mentioned above, there are 5 different types of spousal support in Florida.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

Bridge-the-Gap alimony starts after the divorce is final, but it’s short term. The most it’ll go for is 2 years.

The purpose is to help the receiving spouse meet those temporary needs like living expenses while they wait for a home to sell or enter into an educational program to allow for better employment prospects.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony only lasts the duration of the divorce. It’s awarded to a spouse who needs financial support during the divorce process.

As soon as the divorce is final, temporary alimony ends.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony exists to assist the receiving spouse in acquiring training or education that’s necessary for appropriate employment.

A spouse who requests rehabilitative alimony must submit a plan that outlines the amount of money and time they need to complete their program.

Durational Alimony

A court could award durational alimony if other types are insufficient to support a spouse’s needs.

The maximum term of durational alimony pertains to the length of the divorced couple’s marriage.

If you were married for 20 years, for example, you won’t be able to receive alimony for any longer.

Permanent Alimony

When the recipient spouse’s economic needs are forecasted to be permanent, an alimony award will be permanent too.

A judge who awards permanent alimony always has to state the reasons why another form of alimony wouldn’t be fair or reasonable under the facts of the particular case.

Permanent alimony exists to provide support to a spouse who can’t be self-supporting at a standard of living that’s as close as possible to the marital standard that was set before.

What Factors Will a Judge Consider?

Every court makes decisions on requests for alimony based on many different facts of the case.

They must determine whether or not the spouse who’s requesting alimony meets the standard to prove the alimony is necessary.

The court also has to determine whether or not the wealthier spouse has the ability to pay. But, only exceptional circumstances would cause a court to award alimony if it leaves the paying spouse with significantly less income than the recipient.

When a judge finds that there is both a need and an ability to pay, they consider all relevant factors in deciding which alimony to award.

These factors include things like:

  • All sources of income
  • Time and expense required for education and training
  • The marital standard of living
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The financial resources of the spouse who’s seeking maintenance
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
  • Any tax consequences of a potential alimony award
  • The responsibilities each party will have for children under 18 that they have in common

If adultery occurred and it caused financial harm to either spouse, that will also be taken into account.

Alimony in Florida Works Best with Representation

Divorces are tough, no matter the circumstances. The best thing you can do if you’re going through a divorce is to hire a professional who specializes in family law.

Alimony in Florida is more complicated than in other states because there is no set formula or means for calculating what it is.

Plus, there are so many factors to consider and lots of paperwork to submit.

If you’re going through a divorce, contact us so that we can help you through the process and get you the fair results that you deserve.

 

 

 

 

There are many different and important things to know about divorce in Florida. If you want to learn more, you should click here.

Studies have shown that 12.6% of married couples in Florida will wind up getting divorced. If you find yourself potentially facing a divorce in Florida, it’s important to know the ins-and-outs of the state’s law to better equip yourself of what may be ahead. Whether your divorce is ending with feelings of betrayal or indifference, you’ll need to know exactly what rights you have under Florida state law in order to come to an amicable agreement in which both parties receive exactly what they deserve.

If you’re going through or about to go through a divorce in Florida and would like to learn more about what to expect read on for some important information on what your divorce proceedings may entail.

1. What to Consider When Going Through a Divorce in Florida

Before diving into the following laws, it’s important to try and have a clear and mature conversation with your former spouse in order to reach a peaceful agreement.

Divorce is known to come with its fair share of hurt feelings, especially when children are involved. For the sake of all parties involved, being able to have a civil conversation is always the best option.

In the event the civil conversation is not possible, it’s best to speak directly with your lawyer to avoid any further confusion or problems from arising.

2. The Amount of Time Spent in Florida

Whether or not Florida state laws on divorce apply to you depends on the amount of time that you’ve been living in Florida. However, this does not necessarily mean that you had to live in Florida as a couple. At least one of the divorcing parties is expected to provide proof of them living in Florida for a minimum of six months before the divorce petition was filed in order for the Florida state laws to apply.

3. Divorce Court or Family Court

When it comes to determining whether or not your divorce is a matter for standard divorce court or family court, it’s a simple matter as to whether or not there are children or minor children involved.

The State of Florida considers the matter of child custody in the best interest of the child to be of the utmost importance and in divorce cases which is why the presence of children or miners would dramatically influence the proceedings of a divorce.  Being able to come to a strong agreement over custody and joint parenting outside of court, with or without the help of legal counsel, is one of the best things you can do to help reduce the emotional effects of the divorce on your children.

If there are no children shared between the married party, then the couple may apply for a simple dissolution of marriage application. From there the divorcing parties can come to an agreement on what will be done with their remaining assets and discuss alimony and further payments. In this case, the family court is not necessary.

If the divorcing party has trouble reaching an agreement on such matters, then divorce court may be an option worth pursuing.

There are still some factors that come into play for whether or not a couple is eligible for a simplified dissolution.

These factors include

  •  whether or not the wife is currently pregnant
  •  whether there any minors or dependent
  •  whether or not both parties can agree that the marriage is broken
  •  no partners are requesting alimony
  •  no partners are requesting information aside from the court-approved financial affidavit (more on this below)
  •  both Partners have surrendered their right to an appeal
  • both partners are willing to go and sign the petition
  • and both partners are present at the final court hearing

If all of these factors are approved, the couple may be eligible to dissolve their marriage.

It’s important to remember that the only two grounds accepted by Florida law for the dissolution of marriage state that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that one of the spouses has been mentally incapacitated for over 3 years.

4. Matters of Custody

In the event that there are children and custody needs to be negotiated, this decision is typically decided among the couple. In the event that the couple cannot come to a shared agreement as to how the custody of the child will be divided, the courts may appoint a mediator or counselor to help make the final decision.

The opinion of the mediator or counselor will then be presented to the judge who will appoint custody to one or both of the parties.

A custody agreement will also include other important decisions such as the amount of child support that may be ordered, visitation schedules, and who will be in charge of primary decision-making over the child.

Once again, if the couple is unable to make this decision together, the court will have to make one on behalf of what is healthiest for the child.

5. The Division of Assets

When it comes to dividing assets between the couple, it’s best to have any documentation that proves liabilities, transactions, and original ownership. These documents will be used to assess what’s fairly divided among the couple.

These documents may also be used with a tax attorney as your current tax status and filing situation may be affected once the divorce is complete.

Some factors the court may look into while determining the division of remaining assets include

  •  the partner’s contributions are sacrifices that were made during the marriage.
  •  how long the marriage lasted
  •  if either partner contributed towards the enhancement of the others career or education
  • Deteriorating a business or home when there is a dependent child
  •  any acts of waste or destruction that were done after filing for divorce or two years prior to filing from one party to another
  •  any additional factors that may be defined as equity

If required, the court may also need to look into testimonies provided as character witnesses or in the form of provided documents.

6. Submitting an Affidavit

Couples divorcing in the state of Florida are required to submit an affidavit. This is a document that contains all of their financial information in order to ensure the division of assets and finances is done so in a clear and transparent manner.

This affidavit is used as the basis for determining the amount of alimony, child support, and how the division of other assets may be computed.

7. Divorce and Taxes

Among the financial documents that may be submitted, tax returns dating up to 3 years ago may also be submitted with the affidavit.

This is to fully take into account all expenses and earnings that may have taken place among the couple.

It’s suggested to speak with a tax accountant if you have any questions on pending tax matters post-divorce.

8. Remaining debt

In the State of Florida, all debt such as mortgages and car payments are typically divided evenly among the divorcing parties.

Still, it’s important to remember the debts that had occurred before the couple came together are typically exempt from being divided. This may include things like student loans or business loans that were taken out and can be easily traced to before the date of marriage.

9. College Payments

While alimony and child support may be enforced by the court, the state of Florida plays no part in determining whether or not either parent is required to pay for college.

This is a matter that must be agreed upon between the couple and must be recorded in the original divorce agreement.

Finding Legal Counsel You Need

Divorce in Florida can be messy enough without issues being dragged into court. However, in the event that your divorce requires a court proceeding or you find it necessary to fight to receive the adequate amount of alimony or child support, it’s in your best interest to find the legal counsel that can help.

It’s important to have a lawyer behind you that understands the ins and outs of the Florida state laws, and that can adequately assess the documents and affidavit provided to help you claim what’s rightfully yours.

From child custody to dealing with issues of alimony our team is here to help you every step of the way. We understand the emotional rollercoaster that comes with divorce and are here to bring you some peace of mind while fighting on your behalf.

If you would like to learn more about how our team can help you both in and out of the divorce court contact us today for more information on how we can be of assistance.

 

 

If you are looking to learn more about child custody cases in Florida, you should click here for information on how a judge will decide who gets custody.

Divorce and child custody are ranked very high on the Holmes and Rahe Life Change Stress Units scale, with divorce ranking number second in terms of the most stressful life events. The only other thing in life more stressful than divorce according to this scale is the death of a spouse.

One of the reasons these breakups are so stressful is because child custody becomes a life-changer.

Parents wonder if they are going to lose their child or see that relationship changed forever.

Under this pressure, you want to be sure you are equipped with the best information possible. Find out here what to expect in your child custody matter when a Florida judge decides the rest of your family’s life.

Florida Child Custody Basics

When it comes to child custody in Florida, there are a few basic terms you need to learn right away. There is legal custody, physical custody, sole custody, and shared or joint custody.

Then you need to understand the differences between custody and responsibilities. Parenting time is not the same as parenting responsibilities.

The one thing that often muddies all of this up for parents is the emotional factor of divorce and custody. Breakups are emotional and painful, and many parents go into a divorce or child custody matter feeling contentious and vengeful.

Going into a custody matter with this mindset will work against you. Florida judges don’t care about how sad you are about a breakup when determining which parent gets custody.

They are only looking for a solution that fits the best interest of the child. And the term “best interest of the child” should be at the top of your mind when you are in the middle of a heated custody battle.

The definition of “best interests of the child” is defined by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

There are exceptions to this, such as abuse and domestic violence. Those factors too will be considered by your Florida judge, when you have evidence to substantiate those claims.

Defining Custody Terms

In Florida, judges will decide who gets legal custody, who gets physical custody, and whether or not joint custody will occur.

Custody is a decision on where the child lives, and when they live there. In addition to custody decisions, judges will determine who has parental responsibilities.

This is different than determining where a child lives. Parental responsibilities decisions involve determining who is responsible for what in the child’s life.

Responsibilities determine who decides what in the child’s life, including school choices, dentist appointments, medical decisions, and more.

So even if your child does not live with you full-time, you can negotiate what responsibilities are yours when it comes to determining child custody.

In most cases, by the time these decisions are made before you go before a judge, the two parents and their lawyers can hash something out that makes everybody happy.

What is Joint Custody?

Joint or shared custody is the most common form of custody in Florida, as Florida judges want to ensure that both parents are taking an active role in a child’s life. Joint custody usually means you share both responsibilities and access times with your child.

It is not called “visitation.” When your child is with you, you are their parent.

You are not visiting them. You are not babysitting them. You are performing your legal responsibilities to your child.

Judges do not look kindly on actions that include shutting a parent out of a child’s life because you are emotionally upset with them.

So it is in your child’s best interests to avoid an acrimonious situation.

And that’s a good thing. You are entitled to help from the other parent when you are raising a child.

Joint Custody Example

For example, let’s say enrolling a special needs child in an extracurricular activity would help them socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. But the activity sometimes falls on the access times of the other parent, who isn’t interested in doing this because they are feeling spiteful towards you.

You want a judge telling that parent, this is not okay, wise up.

The more conciliatory and harmonious you are with the other parent, at all times, and in custody court, the more you are going to look like the winning party. And, the more likely you are to get what you want.

Remember that in child custody court, the only party that is supposed to win is the child.

Can I Get Sole Custody?

Sole custody in Florida is possible, but it is often an uphill battle. It is rarely granted unless you can prove to the court that the other parent is simply unable to or unwilling to share responsibilities of parenting.

Sole custody often involves one parent taking on the most time with living with the child, and also becomes the main decision-maker of the child.

But this does not mean that the other parent disappears from the child’s life. If this is the mindset you go in with when seeking sole custody, you are going to be disappointed.

Judges will often grant sole custody in matters that are high conflict, entail abuse or violence, or when a parent is an absentee parent.

Many parents are able to negotiate sound parenting plans with the other parent in a custody matter. Florida requires a parenting plan, and Florida judges expect you to be able to reach this plan in a sound way with all parties.

Sometimes This is Not Possible

If this is impossible, either due to an absentee parent or a high-conflict situation, then you are getting closer to sole custody. Other situations such as abuse, domestic violence, incarceration, or drug abuse could also lead to sole custody.

Judges also look at moral fitness when determining custody. If one parent, for example, has a revolving door of boyfriends or girlfriends, a judge may not be keen on permitting a child to live there most of the time.

At the same time, sole custody does not mean the other parent disappears from the child’s life. It means the child lives with you the most, and you make big decisions.

The other parent is still permitted access time, and judges even expect and encourage this when possible.

Leave Emotions Out of It

How you feel about the other parent is not a factor in determining the best interests of the child in child custody.

But the reality is that sometimes you just can’t do that. As in the example above, if another parent is impeding with your child’s best interests, a Florida judge is not going to have that and will grant sole custody to the parent that is contributing the most to the best interests of the child.

If that is repetitive and consistent behavior by one parent, this could be determined to be a high conflict situation and sole custody could be the outcome.

Judges Are Tie-Breakers

Florida judges consider the law, that stipulates that it is your responsibility to protect your child from pain during divorce and custody matters. If one parent is unable to do that, it is going to harm them in a custody matter.

When that happens, a Florida judge will be the tie-breaker on custody decisions and will do so with protecting the child in mind at all costs.

This is why it is always best to be conciliatory in court, and when mapping out a parenting plan. The last thing you want is for the control of the rest of your life to be taken out of your hands and determined by a judge.

But if you are in a custody matter, this is the risk that you take. Be rational and fact-based, and not emotional.

This is why divorce lawyers are worth it. It gives you peace of mind as someone takes the problem out of your hands while you sort out the specifics and resolve the emotional battles on your own, outside of court.

Determining Best Interests of the Child

Florida judges move to protect the child at all costs at first and will use the legal definition of the best interests of the child to determine sole custody.

That usually involves looking at a child’s life to see what would lead to the least amount of emotional disturbance for a child. If a child has been living in one home their entire life, without frequent moves, for example, that home will likely be the home for primary custody and access.

But that alone is not going to get anyone sole custody, it’s simply used as a guideline by judges when determining the legal specifics of best interests of a child.

At the same time, the judge will want to decide on an environment that ensures the child has regular contact with the non-residential mother or father. This is the legal rights of the child.

Where the child is going to school will also play a role, as most judges do not want this disruption.

The strength of the relationships between the child and parent also plays a role in the best interests of the child. The parent that is providing the most basic necessities to the child will also be the residential parent that is in the child’s best interests.

Moral fitness is also a factor in determining the best interests of the child.

Contact a Custody Lawyer Today

Florida is ranked in the middle of the road when it comes to overall happiness in America. One of the things impacting this rate is its divorce and child custody rates, which rank among the highest in the nation.

Child custody matters are matters that change everybody’s life, in a way that permanently alters them. This is why divorce ranks so high on the Holmes and Rahe scale.

Many Florida residents think representing themselves in court will make the process easier and less expensive. But the truth is, child custody matters are determined by a Florida judge who looks at the facts at hand, and not the emotions.

Self-representing could lead to emotions getting tangled up in your matter, which could lead to decisions that are not in the best interests of your child.

Give yourself and your child some peace of mind. Custody lawyers are worth their weight in gold, and can even pursue costs from the other party for you if this is a concern.

Sleep better tonight and contact a Florida child custody lawyer today.

 

 

You might assume that hiring a divorce attorney isn’t a necessary step if you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce. Many people assume they can handle all the detail and the paperwork, especially if they don’t consider the split to be acrimonious. But this can be a costly misconception. A divorce attorney can be a vital resource for making sure your divorce is handled professionally, responsibly, and will no future unforeseen recourses. In this video, we talk about some of the reasons why hiring a divorce attorney is always a great idea when you are going through a divorce, regardless of how contentious the split will be. We go over some ways that a good divorce attorney will take the burden off of your shoulders, and help make sure that all the necessary legal steps are followed. So check out this video today, and for more info, head here: (insert link here)

Do you plan on getting separated from your partner and want to keep your kid at all costs? Here are 10 serious signs you need a child custody lawyer.

Child custody matters can get messy. You both have a vested interest in raising your child, and may also still be healing from the loss of the romantic relationship.

However, you need to handle the legal aspect of this situation by hiring a child custody lawyer that can protect your interests.

It’s vital that you do what is in your child’s best interests, and that means getting your fair shake as a parent. Consider the points below so you know when hiring a lawyer is necessary.

1. Hire a Child Custody Lawyer If You Live in Different Places

Whether you split due to a divorce or just the end of a long-term relationship, you’ll need to put a custody arrangement in writing. This becomes more difficult when you live in different places.

Simply put, you’ll absolutely need to bring in a child custody lawyer if you’re living in different areas. When you’re living in two different cities or regions, the judge will need to consider the distance and where it makes the most sense for the child to live.  In Florida, the traditional concept of child custody is dead and they instead practice “shared parental responsibilities”.

If you’re in two different states, you will potentially be dealing with two entirely different family court systems. This means you’ll need to learn where and how to file, and what sorts of circumstances the situation is subject to.

Having a lawyer lets you make sense of these issues for you.

2. If the Other Parent Has Hired a Lawyer

It’s definitely important to hire an attorney if the other parent has already retained an attorney. If that’s the case, you’re already behind the legal 8-ball and will need to catch up. and ensure legal requirements are not missed.

When you hire an attorney, you can be at the cause and not the effect of the situation. Without a lawyer, you’ll likely be at the whim of whatever filing the other parent and their attorney submit.

3. Your Ex Is Trying to Keep the Kids from You

Sometimes, the other parent is flat-out being aggressive in trying to deny you your rights to your kids.  This is of course not the mandate behind share parenting.

As long as you’re not abusive or unfit, you have every right to get a child custody arrangement that lets you see your child, and share in the time caring for your child and the responsibility.

If your ex is playing games, creating roadblocks, or breaking the law to keep you from your child, you’ll definitely want to get in touch with an attorney immediately. Your lawyer can intervene and expedite the process of getting in front of a judge and putting a halt to these sorts of actions.

Having a lawyer encourage and facilitate order also puts a third-party between you and the situation, which can help deescalate your involvement. That’s important since these situations are emotionally charged and can open up an entirely different can of worms. Sometimes your strong and emotional attachment can cause definite difficulty for yourself.

4. You Believe Your Child Is in Danger or Being Mistreated

When you believe that your child is in danger, you’ll need to report mistreatment or get in touch with Child Protective Services.

Having a lawyer get involved will not just protect your rights as a parent, but it’ll also get your child out of a potentially abusive or dangerous situation. Your attorney also has enough of a handle on the law to put together evidence that can be useful in pursuing criminal charges as well.

5. A Court Order Has Been Issued

When a judge issues a court order, you’ll definitely need to get the help of an attorney.

A court order dictates concrete custody for shared parenting and visitation schedule. Each state has its own laws in this regard, so you need to figure out how you must respond based on where you live.

In many situations, you’ll be hiring a lawyer so that you can address the order that was filed, to either enforce or modify the order. Having an attorney lets you explain your case in detail, and assert your parental rights.

It’s important to assert your position at a final hearing so your shared parenting is protected.

6. You’ve Been Forced to Take Anger Management or Other Classes

Family court orders often come with a series of stipulations. One situation that people run into is having to take anger management classes, share parenting or other counseling.

There’s nothing at all wrong with anger management, but if you feel like you’ve been wrongfully ordered by the court, it can put your custody rights at risk.

This sometimes happens when a parent tries to sway the judge against the other and engage in sharing. They may fabricate or exaggerate certain stories to paint the other as someone unable to control their anger so that the judge limits access to the child.

Since these types of tactics are nefarious and damaging, you’ll absolutely want the help of a child custody attorney, who can ensure the share parenting laws are being followed.

7. There Have Been Some Significant Complications to the Case

Don’t wait until you’re in over your head to call a lawyer. There are situations where your case starts in a straightforward manner but then becomes more complicated.

For instance, you may begin filing for joint custody or share parental responsibilities, but then your ex begins to get evasive or less cooperative. Or maybe they started a relationship with someone that you don’t feel comfortable having around your kids, and you gro concerned for their safety.

Since these matters get so complicated, you’ll definitely need the help of a lawyer that can jump to your defense.

8. The Case Has Several Complex Matters

As time goes on, the case can become more complex due to life changes. You or your former spouse could have remarried or even had another child by the time family court hearings conclude.

You may have also significantly increased or decreased your income, moved to another area, or have differences of opinion on where to send your child to school. In fact, if the two of you are having significant differences of opinion on how to raise the children, these matters will need to be hashed out in court as well.

Your attorney can help you in court, in addition to opening channels to negotiate an agreement with the other parent and their attorney. Many child custody lawyers are also skilled mediators, which can come in handy with these cases, and ensuring the shared parenting is working for your unique family.

9. Your Child Custody Case Is Costly

If your child custody case is costing you a bit of money, it’s best to bring an attorney on board to make sure your money is being spent productively, which in Florida is known as share parental responsibility, sole parental responsibility or ultimate decision making responsibility.

When your case involves any sort of disputes over getting sole custody, partial custody, or joint custody, you’ll need an attorney that can sort out the details. A child custody case that continuously goes back and forth with multiple hearings might cost you thousands and thousands of dollars, so make sure that you are spending this money in a way that works out for you.

With access to an attorney, you’ll optimize this spending, rather than spending money on trial and error while DIYing your case.

10. You Received a Summons for a Hearing

Once you’re hit with a summons, you’ll need to craft a proper response. By working with an attorney, you’ll be able to respond to the summons in a way that helps your case, and ensures the court will hear your side of the case.

When you fail to respond to the summons in a timely manner, or not at all, your ex has the right to move forward in the case and receive a court judgment without your participation.

Having an attorney that you can strategize with lets you know when to file for continuances to buy more time, how to prepare for any hearing that you have to fulfill, and argue your case to the fullest.

Know What to Look for in an Attorney

Finally, be sure that you choose wisely when looking for a child custody lawyer, no matter where your case may be.

Find someone that fits your sensibilities, and who responds promptly whenever you have a question. Be sure that you have access to an attorney that can prioritize your case, and who you trust to handle it from start to finish.

You’re always better off finding a great attorney by getting references and taking your time to make the wisest decision.

Hire a Child Custody Lawyer for Your Case

When you need the help of a child custody lawyer, it’s important that you do some research. These are the primary situations in which you should definitely call in a custody attorney.

At the Law Office of Erin Morse, you’ll get attentive care for any child custody situation. We can help whether you’re creating a court order, trying to negotiate custody arrangements, or need help modifying a judge’s decision.

We’d be happy to offer you a consultation for your case.

If you need help with a child custody case, contact us for more information.

Are you about to go through a divorce and want to get everything you’re entitled to? Here’s why you should invest in a divorce attorney.

Have you and your spouse decided to end your marriage? Are you wondering what the next steps are and whether you need a lawyer? The short answer is: yes. Don’t try to navigate the divorce process alone.

Maybe you and your spouse agree on “everything” (or so you think). Maybe you don’t have a lot of assets to divide or have an agreement as to who gets what if the marriage dissolves and think you and your spouse can handle it on your own and you’d rather not spend the money on a divorce attorney.

If this sounds like your situation, and you’re reluctant to hire a divorce attorney, keep reading. You should make the decision with all of the knowledge and information. Even if the divorce is amicable (so far) and seems like it will be quick and easy, you should still hire an attorney to represent your interests and ensure the order are enforceable.

Here are 9 reasons why hiring a divorce attorney is worth it.

1. They Determine if Your Agreement is Fair

Perhaps you and your soon to be former husband or wife think that you have an agreement that fairly divides your assets and debts between the two of you. An experienced attorney can evaluate this agreement and let you know if it truly is fair for both of you.

While you may think that you are getting a fair deal, a divorce attorney can take a critical eye to the agreement, think towards the future, and identify any hidden inequities that put you spouse at an advantage. Remember that their job is to get the best deal for you and create a solid divorce agreement that will stand up in court.

Even if you’re the party that will benefit more, you still may want to consider rewriting the agreement, as an unfair agreement could be contested in the future if it was grossly unfair to one spouse. If your spouse decides they didn’t get a fair deal, they may be able to go back to court to attempt to reopen the agreement. This will cost time and money, of course.

2. Even If You Agree, You Need a Lawyer to Draft the Agreement

Even if you agree on everything (or most things) and can come to a fair agreement on your own, you’ll still need a divorce attorney to draft an agreement that will be accepted by the court.

If you do not have legal experience and try to do this on your own, the court may not fully understand your agreement, resulting in a divorce decree that does not accurately state what you and your spouse want.  The court can also reject your agreement entirely if it does not follow the law.

When an attorney drafts the agreement, you can rest assured that the decree will state exactly what you and your spouse want. An attorney also will make sure that the language is clear and enforceable.

3. They Will File the Appropriate Paperwork

In addition to drafting the agreement, your attorney will also fire any necessary paperwork and motions as part of the divorce process. If you attempt this on your own, you run the risk of your case getting dismissed if you don’t file the appropriate paperwork at the right time or you file it incorrectly.

While you could attempt this on your own, as most states provide the documents to their citizens free of charge, it is still difficult if you do not have legal expertise. These documents also represent the bare minimum of requirements, and often fail to address everything necessary for your unique family.  The last thing you want is for your case to get thrown out due to procedural issues. This puts you right back at square one.

4. They Reduce Stress and Can Provide Emotional Support

Divorce is a stressful time. Your marriage is ending, you have to divide up your assets, you might have to move, and you could be suddenly sharing custody of your child. The last thing you need is the added stress of managing the divorce process in court yourself.

While a divorce attorney can’t replace a good therapist, they can reduce your stress level and provide emotional support to you. Remember that they are experts and deal with people seeking divorces every day. They know the process inside and out and can provide support when it all gets to be too much to handle.

5. They Can Help Avoid Delays

Divorce can take a long time. It varies by state, but in Florida, it could take as little as a few months to as long as a few years. A divorce taking that long is the exception, rather than the rule, and those cases typically are very acrimonious, contested, and have significant assets that need to be divided.

You likely want the divorce to be finalized as quickly as possible. This is where an attorney comes in. They will prepare the documents and file them for you, avoiding unnecessary delays.

Because they know the ins and outs of divorce law, documents prepared and filed by an attorney will be complete and error-free, keeping the process moving along as fast as the courts will allow.

6. They Know the Law

Every state has its own divorce laws, and your divorce attorney should understand the intricacies of divorce in your particular state. Not only do they understand the laws surrounding the division of assets, but also spousal support and child custody.

They can also use their professional experience and relationships with local judges, other divorce attorneys, and court personnel to give you a better idea of how your case will proceed through the courts.

7. You Have Children

Custody (or parental responsibilities) can be one of the most contested and contentious issues in a divorce. An attorney can help you navigate this process and ensure you keep your rights to your child. They will help you decide what’s in the best interest of your child and help you prepare a case to fight for custody and time-sharing if that’s the best option.

A good family law attorney will remain objective and help you to fight for what’s best for your child or children.

 

8. They Guide Your Decisions

It’s often hard to approach a divorce with a clear and level head. Emotions may cloud your decisions and lead you to make rash decisions. This is where a divorce attorney comes in. They are a neutral third party, not swayed by emotion, and can guide you in your decision making.

9. You Don’t Actually Agree on Everything

Just because you and your spouse think you agree on everything doesn’t mean that’s always the case. Chances are, there are things that you haven’t thought of, such as a life insurance policy to cover child support obligations if one of them passed away. Or who will pay for things like extracurricular activities for their children, healthcare premiums, or doctor office copays?

 

Perhaps you and your spouse agree on the big things, like the house, bank accounts, investments, cars, and other properties, but, likely, you haven’t thought of everything, which is understandable. A professional will have thought of all of these other things and can walk you through them.

What to Look for in a Divorce Attorney

Now that you understand why it’s so necessary to hire a divorce attorney, you might be wondering what you should be looking for.

Before hiring someone, do your research. Talk to friends and family members and ask them for referrals. Read online reviews to see what others have said and speak to the lawyer in person to see if you can work well together.

A few other things to look for include:

  • an attorney who will be honest about what you may get out of the divorce
  • an attorney who can give personal attention (versus a large firm with many clients)
  • clear and effective communication
  • resources and support staff to prepare your case promptly
  • skill and experience with divorce cases
  • timely responses to your questions

You may also wish to check with your state’s bar association to see if your attorney has ever been punished or had their license suspended for any reason.

The Bottom Line

Divorce is a stressful and emotional process that can drag on for far longer than you would like. Take steps to reduce that stress by hiring a divorce attorney. There’s not a lot you can control, but by hiring an attorney, you can control who is advocating for you and ensuring that you come out of the process with a fair outcome.

Our firm can handle all aspects of the divorce process for you, from alimony to child custody and support to child visitation arrangements. Contact us today to learn about what our firm can do to support you.

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