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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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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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.