Many years ago, Frank Sinatra sang that “Love is lovelier the second time around.” For some, though, that isn’t true. There’s a reason that the couple broke up the first time – and those problems eventually doom the relationship the second time around. Some couples may divorce and remarry and divorce again. Others may make it to the brink of divorce, perhaps even going so far as for one spouse to file a divorce petition and for both spouses to agree to the terms of a marital settlement agreement before backing off and deciding to remain married.

If you’re in a situation like the second scenario and you eventually decide to divorce years later, what, you may wonder, should you do in terms of dealing with that old settlement agreement? The first thing you should definitely do is consult an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney to get the customized answers you need for your specific situation.

A recent case from Miami-Dade County looked into exactly that scenario of a near divorce followed by an actual divorce years later. V.T., the husband filed for divorce in 2009. In 2012, both spouses agreed to terms on a marital settlement agreement. However, the husband never pursued finalizing the divorce and the court threw out the case in 2013 after neither spouse showed up for a scheduled hearing.

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There are many different decisions that have to be made in connection with your divorce, and they are all important to achieving your overall goals, although some may be more important than others. For example, if you file your divorce in the wrong county, then that may lead to your case getting dismissed or transferred to a different county, all of which can slow down you getting you to where you want to be – which is with a signed divorce judgment in find.

To make sure than you are doing everything possible, in terms of factual evidence, legal issues and procedural rules compliance, to give yourself the most complete and most efficient success possible, be sure you have an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney on your side, who can help you avoid getting trapped by the sort of procedural pitfalls that can ensnare even the most intrepid of self-represented spouses.

N.D. was a woman placed in a particularly precarious divorce scenario. She married her husband, J.P.D., in 2015 and, for three years, they lived in Orange County. In late 2018, they moved to Volusia County. Three months after that move, the wife again was relocating, this time to Miami-Dade County. This last move, though, was to escape the domestic violence her husband was inflicting on her.

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In today’s “gig” economy, fewer and fewer people are receiving incomes solely through salaried positions that pay steady earnings every week or every two weeks. Whether you’re a self-employed professional, someone who works in commissioned sales or an Uber driver, you know what it means to have an income that fluctuates.

If you’re also someone who owes alimony in Florida, you may wonder what these fluctuations mean to your alimony obligation. As a recent case highlighted, there are situations where an income change may entitle you to obtain a reduction (or even an elimination) of your alimony obligation. If you think your income changes have placed you in that position, be sure to contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale alimony attorney right away to discuss your potential case for alimony modification.

In that recent case, C.M.S. was a professional who owned her own real estate title and escrow business and also was an ex-wife who owed an alimony obligation to her ex-husband. The wife’s title business relied very heavily on one client. That client, which had been responsible for roughly 85% of the title company’s business, eventually opened its own title operation and ended its relationship with C.M.S.’s company. Additionally, real estate “short sales,” which had been a huge area of profitability for C.M.S.’s company, became massively less common as the economic recovery led to rising property values. On top of those things, new regulations significantly restricted how C.M.S. could market her business.

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Typically, under most circumstances, assets and debts acquired during the time that a couple is married are considered by the law to be marital assets. That applies to student loan debt just the same as any other debt, generally speaking. There are, however, special circumstances that may make one spouse’s student loan debt acquired during the marriage non-marital debt or debt that is otherwise required to be distributed unequally.

In order to win that, the spouse seeking the unequal distribution (or classification of the debt as non-marital) must show the court that special circumstances exist. So, whether you’re arguing for a 50-50 division of the student loan debt or for some other type of distribution, you need to have on your side a skilled South Florida divorce attorney with an in-depth knowledge of Florida law and what that law requires in this kind of dispute.

A.T. was a Gainesville-area man with student loan debt who was going through a divorce case with his wife, N.T. During the time that the couple was married, A.T. incurred more than $10,000 in student loan debt. When the time came for the trial court to rule on the equitable distribution of the couple’s assets and debts, the court declared that the student loan debt was the husband’s non-marital debt and that he was 100% responsible for paying that debt.

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Sometimes, you may have some serious items working against you in your family law case. If your case falls into that category, don’t let that intimidate you and lead you into making the mistake of simply giving up. Many times, the law is more complex and nuanced than people realize and there may be opportunities to achieve a successful outcome, even in the face of a difficult situation. In other words, don’t give up – contact an experienced South Florida child custody attorney instead.

L.S. was someone who definitely had some things working against her in her divorce case. Her husband had gone through all of the legal steps required to get what the law calls a “default judgment.” A default judgment is something that a court may award when a plaintiff has done everything the law requires of him to advance his case, but the defendant has not participated in the case in any meaningful way. When that happens, the court may enter that default judgment and, many times, that ends with the court giving the plaintiff everything he asked for in his court filings.

L.S. had not responded to the husband’s court documents that were served on her. She was given notice that the court was holding a hearing on her husband’s request for a default judgment, but she didn’t attend that, either. As a result, the trial judge granted the husband his default judgment, granting him a divorce. The judgment also gave the husband what he wanted with regard to equitable distribution, timesharing and parental responsibility.

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Sometimes, the story of your marriage and divorce, for purposes of your divorce case, can be very straightforward. Many times, though, it’s not. Many, if not most, divorcing couples, have some nuance, quirk or other atypical element to their story. To make sure that you are getting the best possible outcome from your divorce case, it pays to have a skilled South Florida family law attorney on your side to spot those unique things and to help you understand what those things can mean for you.

J.H. and W.S. were one of those couples with an atypical element in their case. They married in 1997. Late in 2000, they separated. The pair was quite serious about divorcing, with the wife filing a divorce petition and the pair completing and signing a marital settlement agreement early in 2001.

Then… fate intervened. The husband received a diagnosis of colon cancer and the two got back together. The wife dismissed her divorce filing and (according to the wife, anyway) resumed living together as husband-and-wife for another 15 years.

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Reason #237 why it pays to have a knowledgeable South Florida family law attorney on your side: because winning your case requires an in-depth knowledge of the law… all of the law.

Some people may think they can pursue their divorce case without legal counsel. They may reason that they have strong grasp of the relevant facts of the case, and may even claim a working knowledge of certain divorce-related Florida laws like alimony law, parental responsibility law, child support law or equitable distribution law. As the recent case of one Flagler County couple demonstrates, winning your case may require more than that.

A.R., the wife, reportedly filed for divorce in 2016 after 17 years of marriage. The couple had three children together. The spouses worked to negotiate the terms of a marital settlement agreement and, eventually, the husband sent the wife the agreement, which he had already signed. The wife talked to her attorney, wrote down five handwritten statements on the document, signed the agreement and sent it back to the husband.

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An old saying proposes that “numbers never lie.” They may not, but they can be deceiving. That is one of the reasons why you should avoid jumping to conclusions in your legal case, but instead talk to an experienced Florida family law attorney. Even if some of the numbers on your and your spouse’s financial disclosures seem to be stacked firmly against you, there may be other factors and other numbers that can sway the outcome in your favor.

The case of A.L. and T.L. is an example. In 2015, T.L. filed for divorce from A.L., her husband of 36 years. In her divorce petition, the wife asked for permanent alimony in the amount of $1,000 per month.

The husband’s financial documentation indicated that he made roughly $3,000 per month after taxes, and had monthly expenses of $5,937. The court deducted $1,553 of those expenses because they related to bills that the husband was not actually paying at the time (as those bills were connected to a home that was in foreclosure.) Nevertheless, that still left the husband with $4,382 in monthly expenses, meaning he had a monthly deficit of more than $1,300.

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Some people may have the idea that attorneys just want to pursue the course of action that will lead to the largest legal fee. The reality is that the vast majority of experienced South Florida family law attorneys are focused primarily on something else – which is the best interests of our clients and clients’ families. Rarely does this involve engaging in a “scorched earth” kind of hostile, contentious legal battle. Generally, that type of extremely hostile family law litigation is driven by the client, not the lawyer.

However, even those spouses and parents who engage in “behaving badly” through the legal system are entitled to certain rights and protections. This includes things like being forced to undergo a mental health examination on an involuntary basis.

So, what do you do if your ex-spouse or the other parent of your children wants the court to make you undergo a mental health exam even though you oppose doing so? A recent case from the Florida panhandle offers some useful information about how to respond.

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When it becomes necessary to go to court in a family law dispute, there are several things you expect to obtain through the litigation process. One of the most basic is that you’ll receive a fair hearing and a decision made by an impartial judge. However, what happens when you find out information that calls that expectation into question?

If it turns out that the judge in your family law case has a history with your ex and/or your ex’s attorney, Florida’s court rules give you certain options. Making sure that you get a truly fair trial may mean knowing how to use those options to your maximum benefit, which is one more reason (among the countless others) why you should be sure you have an experienced South Florida divorce attorney representing you.

So, what can you do if you find yourself in that kind of circumstance where your judge has a connection to the other side? There’s a recent case that serves as a real-life example. O.B. was a husband who filed for divorce in Miami-Dade County. In mid-June, the court held a hearing on several motions. Immediately after the hearing, the husband discovered that the opposing counsel wasn’t just his wife’s divorce attorney. A few years earlier, that lawyer had also been the judge’s divorce lawyer.

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