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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cell phoneWhen you believe that you are threatened by your partner or former partner, the law and the courts may be a vital part of enhancing your safety. In order to make sure that you protect yourself, it is important to be sure that you are pursuing the proper type of injunction of protection. In one recent case originating in Palm Beach County, the Fourth District Court of Appeal revived a woman’s case seeking an injunction of protection against repeat violence. Contrary to the trial court’s decision, the woman did present a valid case because the woman’s evidence of stalking qualified as “violence.”

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A recent study is reporting that there are specific peaks of divorce filings in March and August. According to researchers, people who want to get divorced do not want to file during the summer family vacation season or before the winter holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The study found that divorce filings peaked in March and August and were the lowest in November and December. Divorce filings also decreased in April and did not increase until August.

Researchers examined divorce cases in 37 of 39 counties in one state between 2001 through 2015. Irrespective of the size of the counties, the trends appeared to be similar. The research indicated that there were 430 divorce filings in December, 570 divorce filings by March and 558 in August. From December to March the divorce filings increased by 33%. Similarly, from December to August divorce filings increased by 30%. The peaks in divorce case filing happen in the months after the winter and summer breaks.

The delay in divorce filings may be attributed to socially sensitive times during the year. People enter holiday seasons with rising expectations even though they may have had a substandard year. They leave the holidays looking for a new opportunity, a fresh start and a change. For unhappy marriages, vacations can be very stressful when they do not meet expectations. After spending a lengthy vacation with a spouse, individuals often find that they are even unhappier and begin to plan for their divorce.

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open prison cellWhen you become involved in a family law case, it is important that you follow the orders issued by the judge. However, it is also important to understand that, if you do not comply, there are certain limits imposed by the law regarding the punishments that the judge can hand out. These limits are the reason that the Third District Court of Appeal threw out an order jailing a man recently. The man, represented by Sandy T. Fox, P.A. Law Offices, could not permissibly be jailed because the notice regarding his most recent hearing, which he attended, did not state that he was potentially facing criminal contempt penalties.

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justiceThere are many things related to family law that you cannot avoid paying by declaring bankruptcy. These include child support, alimony, or anything else paid to your spouse, ex-spouse, or child that is “in the nature of” support. In one recent case, though, a federal bankruptcy court ruled that a father could discharge as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case his portion of the fee owed to a psychological professional for a court-ordered psychological evaluation of the father’s child as part of the parents’ custody litigation. Bankruptcy covered the debt because it was not owed to or recoverable by either the child or the man’s ex-wife.

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hourglassIn Florida, if your marriage lasted 17 years or more, and you seek alimony, the law is fairly clear that a legal presumption exists that you should receive permanent alimony. There are various forms of proof that can overcome this presumption, but your young age cannot, by itself, make you ineligible for permanent alimony. In a recent South Florida case, the Fourth District Court of Appeal threw out an award of bridge-the-gap alimony because the trial court appeared to believe that the wife’s age of 42 alone made permanent alimony improper.

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Pink SlipOne of the many things you may be concerned about in a child support dispute is, “How will the court go about calculating how much I am able to pay?” This concern can be extremely high if you are someone who has recently lost your job, especially in this time of economic uncertainty and frequent “downsizing.” A case from the Tampa area that the Second District Court of Appeal decided earlier this month offers some very useful insight and information on this topic, along with hope for parents who’ve been recently fired but who are in court as potential payors of child support.

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domestic violenceAs a parent, one of your primary goals in life is the nurturing and protection of your children. When discovering that domestic violence has taken place in the home of your ex-spouse — and in full view of your children — you will probably feel spurred to take action. The law does allow the courts to make emergency changes to custody, timesharing, and visitation arrangements when situations like this occur. However, as one case from the Second District Court of Appeal shows, it is important to understand exactly what the courts can and cannot do for you when this sort of thing happens.

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taxesIn Florida, equitable distributions are presumed, as a starting point, to be equal distributions between the spouses unless special circumstances exist that warrant an unequal distribution. One of those special circumstances is a spouse’s misconduct with marital funds. Even if a spouse is guilty of misdeeds with marital funds, there are limits to what a trial court can impose. The Fourth District Court of Appeal recently threw out an equitable distribution because the trial court’s decision would have essentially made a husband pay for the income tax consequences of withdrawing money from the wife’s individual retirement account not once but twice.

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bags of moneyGoing to court can be a lot like athletic or other competitions. In each situation, you want to make sure that you give yourself as many avenues for success as you possibly can. A recent alimony dispute from Palm Beach County demonstrates this well. In this case, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed a trial court’s decision that threw out an ex-husband’s alimony modification request. The appeals court revived the husband’s case because, regardless of whether or not the husband’s ability-to-pay argument was premature, he also presented a valid case of the wife’s reduced need for alimony, and that reduced-need argument alone was enough to allow him to continue pursuing his modification case.

The husband, Lee Fischer, and his wife, Candice Fischer, had divorced some time ago. As part of that divorce case, the wife received an award of alimony. In more recent times, the husband went back to court, asking for a modification of his alimony obligation. The husband had two arguments underlying his assertion that circumstances had changed and that the court should lower his alimony payments. First, the husband had recently retired, and this change in employment status had substantially lowered his income. Second, in the period following the couple’s divorce, the wife had come into “additional substantial and unanticipated” streams of income, which had greatly reduced the wife’s need for alimony.

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stenographerA 1960s song written by Chuck Berry, which was later re-recorded by artists ranging from rock icon Bruce Springsteen to country star Emmylou Harris, states in its refrain that “it goes to show you never can tell.” Litigation — especially family law litigation — can be a lot like that. There are a great many facts, legal issues, and procedural nuances that can make your case unique and unpredictable. Legal counsel can help you deal with the peculiarities and detours of your case. Take, as an example, a recent case in which the Third District Court of Appeal granted a husband’s appeal and awarded a new trial in the man’s divorce case after the court reporter’s records of the original trial were lost through no fault of the husband.

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