Board Certified in Marital & Family Law
Board Certified in Marital & Family Law
Board Certified in Marital & Family Law
Board Certified in Marital & Family Law
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The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is pleased to announce that Sandy T. Fox, Esquire of the law firm, Sandy T. Fox, P.A. has successfully achieved Board Certification as a family trial advocate. The NBTA was formed out of a strong conviction that both the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization designed specifically to create an objective set of standards illustrating an attorney’s experience and expertise in the practice of trial law.

Sandy T. Fox, Esquire joins a growing number of trial attorneys that have illustrated their commitment to bettering the legal profession by successfully completing a rigorous application process and providing the consumer of legal services with an objective measure by which to choose qualified and experienced legal counsel.

The elaborate screening of credentials that all NBTA board certified attorneys must successfully complete includes: demonstration of substantial trial experience, submission of judicial and peer references to attest to their competency, attendance of continuing legal education courses, submission of legal writing documents, proof of good standing and passing of an examination.

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insuranceA lot of divorce cases have multiple distinct but related components. Even if a couple has no minor children in the home, there may be numerous elements to a divorce case, including the distribution of assets and debts, as well as alimony. When a trial court issues an order in your divorce, the law requires the judge to make certain factual findings as part of the ruling. In one case from North Florida, the lack of some required findings led the First District Court of Appeal to grant a husband’s appeal and send the case back to the trial court.

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disabled signThere are many things that can play a role in the outcome of your Florida alimony case. The court must decide whether your marriage counts as a short, moderate, or long-term marriage. The judge must also determine the paying spouse’s ability to pay and the recipient spouse’s need. Another thing that can add an extra layer of complexity to your case is if the recipient spouse is disabled. In one recent case from the Tampa Bay area, the Second District Court of Appeal threw out part of a trial court’s ruling in a divorce judgment because the lower court only awarded the wife durational, rather than permanent, alimony, even though the wife was permanently disabled and could not return to work.

The couple in the case married on New Year’s Eve in 2002. Just short of a decade later, they separated. A year after that, the wife filed for divorce. In that filing, she asked for alimony. The husband, at that point, was earning $117,000 per year in gross income. The wife had a degree in psychology and had previously worked as a counselor, but she had developed several medical problems. Shortly before the divorce, an administrative law judge had determined that she was permanently disabled and could not return to work, due to fibromyalgia, traumatic brain injury, and back problems. The wife’s disability benefits, which amounted to a gross of $880 per month, were her only income.

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Wooden hourglassSometimes, winning or losing a family law case depends not on what the trial court order says but on what it doesn’t. A South Florida mother received a renewed opportunity to litigate the issue of timesharing after she succeeded in her recent appeal. The Fourth District Court of Appeal threw out the trial court’s timesharing plan because the order did not state that the timesharing arrangement was in the best interests of the child, and such an express finding is required by the law.

The appeal arose from the divorce case of Corina Castillo Marquez and Fredy Lopez. The final judgment in the couple’s divorce case set up a parenting plan that established a 50-50 timesharing split between the two parents. This timesharing schedule was part of the basis of the wife’s appeal.

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It is very common for Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyers to be told about the numerous sexual partners a spouse has had when they ask questions about adultery and its impact on the divorce, equitable distribution and alimony. Florida is a no-fault divorce state but adultery is a factor that the trial Judge can consider in awarding alimony or as justification for an unequal distribution of assets. However, it is not too often that the Court is concerned with the amount of sexual partners a wife has had and whether that has caused the divorce.

New research from the Institute of Family Studies has revealed that divorce rates have decreased for women who marry as virgins but have stayed the same for those who had one to two premarital sex partners. Women who have had 10 or more sexual partners prior to their marriage saw the highest increase in divorce rates. Interestingly, women who have premarital sex partners have consistently higher rates of divorce than those with three to nine partners.

Sexual behaviors have changed in recent years since younger people are having sexual encounters outside of their relationship. Sexual attitudes and behaviors continue to change. However, the extent of younger people hooking up has been embellished by the media.

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It is being reported today that the death of Daniel Markel, a former Florida State University law school professor, has been linked to a murder-for-hire scheme. Markel was shot in the head inside his garage at his home during the middle of the day on July 18, 2014.

Law enforcement officers in Hallandale Beach, Florida have arrested Sigfredo Garcia for his alleged role in the 2014 death of Daniel Markel. On May 25, 2016, Garcia was charged with shooting Markel only two days after he was interviewed by investigators. He has pled not guilty and is presently being held without bond in Leon County, Florida. Law enforcement officers intend to charge a second man, Luis Garcia, in connection with the homicide.

It is believed that the murder of Daniel Markel is related to the desire of his former wife’s family to have his former wife, Wendi Adelson, and their two minor children relocate from Tallahassee, Florida to Miami, Florida. It is, however, unknown who hired the killers.

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father and daughterFor many parents, events in their lives may trigger within them a desire to reconnect with the children from whom they’ve become distant. Depending on the perspective of the child’s other parent, this may not always be easy. A recent case originating in Palm Beach County is a useful reminder to all Florida parents that, even if your desire to forge a closer relationship is strong, you cannot demand a change in your timesharing based solely upon proving that you’ve gotten your life in order. Simply getting your life back on track doesn’t amount to the sort of change in circumstances recognized by Florida law that would allow a court to change your timesharing schedule, according to a Fourth District Court of Appeals ruling.

The case, which involved ex-spouses Christopher Reed and Suni Reed (Suni Meyers at the time of the appeals court’s ruling), was based on a complicated, although not entirely uncommon, set of facts. The husband and wife had one minor child together when they divorced in 2008. As part of that divorce judgment, the court ordered shared parental responsibility with the mother as the primary residential parent. The father had visitation twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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paying moneyWhen you go through a divorce in Florida, you may be ordered to make payments to your ex-spouse for various different reasons. While the preferred outcome is to make all payments in full and on a timely basis, it is nevertheless important to understand the difference in possible punishments for failing to pay different kinds of obligations. In one recent case in North Florida, the First District Court of Appeal threw out a finding of contempt against an ex-husband, ruling that the payment he failed to make on time was neither child support nor alimony, so he was not subject to the trial court’s contempt powers.

In this case, a couple from the Jacksonville area, Steven Schneider and Angela Schenider, divorced, and the trial court ordered the husband to pay the wife $343 per month in child support and $200 per month from his military pension, starting on Dec. 1, 2014. On Dec. 4, the husband wrote the wife a $343 check but also expressed his intention not to pay the remaining $200. Although the husband eventually did pay the additional $200 on Dec. 22, the wife had already filed a request with the court to find the husband in contempt. The wife argued to the trial judge that she deemed the $343 check to be the $200 sum her husband owed her plus $143 of the $343 of the child support obligation. The trial judge approved of the wife’s “election” to construe the $343 sum in the fashion that she did, and the judge held the husband in contempt for failing to pay his full child support obligation on a timely basis.

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Reform Jewish ServiceIn any case involving the divorce of two parents, one of the most important issues the parents will have to resolve will pertain to the religious upbringing of the child. Hopefully, the parents will have similar views or backgrounds regarding religion or alternatively will be able to work cooperatively in the best interest of their child to put a plan into place regarding the religious training of the child. Unfortunately, that does not always happen, as a recent case involving a Jewish family from Palm Beach County showed. As the Fourth District Court of Appeal‘s ruling demonstrated, courts will generally give a parent significant latitude in making these decisions as long as the decisions he or she makes are not proven to be harmful to the child.

The couple in this case, Wayne Steinman and Elizabeth Steinman, were the parents of two children and divorced in 2011. The parents reached a marital settlement agreement that gave both of them shared parental responsibility. All major decisions about the children, including religious upbringing, were to be made collectively by the parents whenever that was possible. Problems emerged three years later when, according to the father, the mother began, with no input from the father, immersing the children in Orthodox Judaism, including enrollment in an Orthodox after-school program and introduction of Orthodox teachings and customs at home. The children had, according to the father, been raised only under Reform Judaism prior to that time.

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Brooklyn BridgeWhen your spouse files a divorce action, it is almost never a good idea not to act upon that filing. In fact, it is almost always a good idea to retain counsel and begin addressing the matter as soon as you possibly can. In one case recently heard by the Second District Court of Appeal and ongoing in the Florida court system, a wife is still trying to get a Florida default divorce judgment overturned because, according to her, neither her husband nor she was ever a resident of Florida.

Gary Minda and Nancy Minda got married in New York in 2000. They resided in New York at that time and remained in New York for several more years. As the marriage deteriorated, the husband filed for divorce, doing so in New York. The wife, as part of that case, petitioned the trial court for an award of spousal support. After the wife made the alimony request, the husband voluntarily dismissed his divorce petition. Shortly thereafter, the husband filed again, except this time, he filed in Pinellas County. Florida law, like the laws in other states, imposes certain residency requirements before its courts can assume jurisdiction over a case. In Florida, this means that one spouse must have been a Florida resident for at least six months. The husband in this case alleged that his wife met this requirement.

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