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Parties seeking a dissolution of their marriage in Florida must comply with any applicable procedural rules. This means, among other things, that the party that institutes an action must properly serve the initial pleading on their spouse. If they do not, the court may lack jurisdiction over the responding spouse. A person cannot attempt to avoid dissolution by evading service of process, however, as demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion issued in a divorce case. If you or your spouse intend to end your marriage, it is important to speak to a Miami divorce attorney regarding your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. He then hired a process server to serve the petition on the wife. The process server attempted to serve the wife at her father’s home. She tried to evade service, however, by refusing to answer telephone calls or the door and running into the house. Further, her father attempted to stop the process server from getting close to the house.

Reportedly, the process server subsequently left the wife a message on her cell phone and yelled into the house that he had papers to serve her. She did not respond, and he ultimately left the papers in an obvious location and screamed that she had been served. The wife subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the action due to improper service of process. The court denied her motion, and she appealed. Continue reading ›

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Florida law dictates that all parents have a duty to support their children financially. When parents share custody of a child, this is often reflected through the imposition of child support obligations. While one parent may be compelled to pay child support to the other, such support is for the benefit of the child, not the parent. As such, in cases in which a court is presented with factors indicating a support obligation should be offset, their paramount concern should be the child’s welfare, not the financial status of the parents, as discussed in a recent Florida case.  If you have questions regarding child support, it is in your best interest to confer with a Miami child support attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the father and the mother had one child during their marriage and subsequently divorced. The court granted them joint custody and time-sharing rights and order the father to pay the mother child support. The father failed to make any payments for a lengthy period of time and incurred a significant arrearage. He subsequently filed a petition to modify time-sharing. The court granted the motion and modified the custody order to indicate that the child would reside primarily with the father.

Reportedly, the court also imposed a child support obligation on the mother. It then set off the mother’s obligation against the father’s arrearage and stated that the mother would not have to pay child support for years. The father appealed. Continue reading ›

When a couple with minor children divorces, the courts will usually issue a final judgment of dissolution of marriage that includes a parenting plan and timesharing schedule setting forth their custody rights. As situations can change after such judgments are issued, the parties can seek modifications of timesharing when the need arises. Merely because a party seeks a modification does not mean that it will be granted, however, or that the court will amend timesharing rights as requested. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the court adopted the mother’s proposed timesharing schedule following the father’s motion for a modification. If you have questions regarding how you can protect your timesharing rights, it is wise to talk to a Miami child custody attorney.

History of the Case

It is reported that the parties divorced in 2018. The Final Judgment of Dissolution included a timesharing schedule and parenting plan. In 2020, the father filed a motion for a modification of the timesharing schedule due to a change in his work schedule. He submitted a proposed schedule along with his motion.

Allegedly, the wife submitted a proposed timesharing schedule in response to the husband’s motion, arguing that the husband’s proposed schedule did not comply with the terms of the parenting plan. The court granted the husband’s motion but adopted the wife’s proposed timesharing schedule. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›

It is not uncommon for people in the process of ending their relationship to have heated battles. While arguments can be stressful, they should not cause a person to fear for their safety, and if they do, they may be grounds for seeking an injunction for protection from domestic violence. Recently, a Florida court discussed what constitutes satisfactory grounds for entering such an injunction in a case in which it ultimately reversed the trial court’s order. If you are a victim of domestic violence or were recently accused of abusive behavior, it is smart to speak to a Miami domestic violence attorney regarding your options.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the wife filed a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence against her husband. She stated she did so to get “space” from the husband after she advised him of her plans to seek a divorce. In her petition, she asserted that the husband verbally abused her, and sent her numerous text messages. She also claimed that he had punched a hole in a wall and kicked down a door after a disagreement.

Reportedly, though, the wife conceded that the husband had never threatened her and had never committed acts of physical violence against her. Regardless, the trial court ultimately granted the wife’s petition and entered an injunction against the husband. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›

It is not uncommon for married couples to earn disparate incomes; if they divorce, the courts may award the lesser earning spouse alimony or child support. The courts will not only consider a person’s salary when determining their income but also other sources of revenue. As illustrated in a recent Florida ruling, though, not all money received from an employer is necessarily considered income. If you or your spouse are considering ending your marriage and you have concerns about the financial impact of the decision, it is wise to talk to a skilled Miami divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the parties married in 2011 and had four children. They decided to end their marriage and proceeded with a divorce action. The father, who worked for a construction and utility company, was required to travel for work. He received per diem payments from his employer to offset the cost of travel. In determining the father’s income for purposes of calculating alimony and child support, the trial court included amounts listed on the father’s earning statements as per diem as income. The father appealed the final judgment of dissolution of marriage, arguing, among other things, that the court incorrectly calculated his income.

Determining Income for Purposes of Calculating Child Support

On appeal, the court determined that the trial court erred in ruling that the money the father received as a per diem from his employer was considered income. Specifically, the court noted that under Florida law, gross income only includes in kind payments or reimbursed expenses to the extent that they reduced living expenses. Continue reading ›

Many people living in and around Miami regularly travel out of the country. While international travel is not a cause for concern under ordinary circumstances, it can be when it involves a minor child whose parents share custody. In such instances, the courts may impose limitations regarding how and when either parent can leave the country with the child, and if a parent violates an order imposing such limitations, they may face sanctions. Recently, the dedicated Miami child custody attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., dealt with such an issue in a case where the mother failed to abide by requirements for traveling internationally with a child. We were able to obtain sanctions against the mother in the amount of $10,000. If you have questions regarding your rights as a parent, you should contact us as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father married and, in 2013, had a child. They divorced in 2015 and entered into a marital settlement agreement that the trial court adopted as part of the final judgment of dissolution. In the agreement, the parties established that if either parent wanted to travel internationally with the child, they would provide the other parent with a week’s notice in writing. Additionally, the agreement stated that if a parent failed to provide adequate notice, they would owe the other parent $10,000 and would be prohibited from traveling internationally with the child while they were a minor.

Allegedly, in 2019 the trial court entered an order stating that the mother could travel internationally with the child without the father’s consent. She took the child to Ireland later that year without notifying the father. He moved for contempt and asked the court to order the mother to pay him $10,000 and bar her from taking the child out of the country in the future. The court denied the motion, and the father appealed. Continue reading ›

Parents who share custody of a child do not always agree as to what is best for their child with regard to education. If they cannot resolve a dispute over a child’s schooling, they may ask the court to intervene. The Florida courts always aim to rule in the best interest of the child that is the subject of a custody disagreement, but sometimes their aim falls short. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion in which the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling ordering that a child should attend public school. If you need help with a custody issue, it is advisable to confer with a Miami child custody lawyer to discuss your options.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the parties were married for seven years before the wife filed a petition for dissolution. The couple had a daughter during their marriage that was diagnosed with autism. They resolved most of their issues via a marital settlement agreement and had a hearing to resolve the remaining matters, like child support, parental responsibility, and their daughter’s schooling.

Allegedly, the wife had homeschooled the daughter, who was now eight years old, since she was four and wanted to continue homeschooling, while the father wanted her to attend public school. The trial court determined that it was in the daughter’s best interest to attend public school and issued an order to that effect. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›

There are different types of alimony the Florida courts can award in divorce proceedings, including permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is not as permanent as the name suggests but can be adjusted if a court finds that a modification is warranted. The court will only grant a modification if there is evidence that it is necessary due to a change in circumstances that is both material and substantial, however, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case. If you have questions regarding alimony or the financial ramifications of divorce, it is smart to confer with a knowledgeable Miami divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the wife filed a petition to modify the periodic payment of permanent alimony awarded to the husband via a marital settlement agreement that was adopted by the trial court as part of the parties’ divorce judgment. Specifically, she requested that the court impute income to the husband based on the fact that he was eligible to receive Social Security benefits, even though he had not applied for such benefits. The court denied her petition, finding that she failed to adequately prove that there had been a material and substantial change in either her or the husband’s circumstances that warranted a modification. The wife then appealed.

Grounds for Modifying Alimony Awards

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, it stated that pursuant to established case law, a trial court cannot impute the value of Social Security benefits that a person is eligible to receive but has not yet applied for as income to a person if they offer evidence showing that their decision to defer the benefits is merely a prudent investment strategy, as their benefits will increase if they do not take them until a later date. Continue reading ›

It is not uncommon for a couple to take a practical view of marriage and enter into prenuptial agreements prior to their wedding. Florida courts will typically enforce prenuptial agreements entered into in Florida as long as they were executed in accordance with Florida law. It is not always immediately evident, however, if foreign prenuptial agreements should be upheld. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion discussing the analysis that must be conducted to determine whether foreign prenuptial agreements are enforceable. If you have questions regarding how a divorce could impact your financial rights and obligations, it is in your best interest to contact a Miami divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in Quebec in July 1992. Prior to marrying, they entered into a prenuptial agreement (foreign prenuptial agreement). The agreements stated, among other things, that they adopted the separate property regime set forth by the terms of the Civil Code of the Province of Quebec and that they would pay for any marital expenses in proportion to their respective capabilities.

Allegedly, the parties maintained separate accounts throughout their marriage. They became residents of Florida in 2009. Ten years later, the wife instituted a petition for dissolution of the marriage in which she requested alimony and equitable distribution in accordance with Florida law. In the husband’s response to the petition, he asserted that they largely had separate rather than marital assets and argued that the foreign prenuptial agreement should govern the distribution of any marital property. The case proceeded to trial, after which the court found that the marital residences purchased by the husband were subject to equitable distribution. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›

In divorce matters involving children, the courts will generally issue orders establishing the parties’ timesharing and parental responsibility rights. In doing so, the courts’ sole concern is what is in the best interest of the divorcing couples’ children. As such, custody orders are not easily disturbed, and a parent typically must show a significant change in circumstances to obtain a modification. Recently, a Florida court issued an order discussing what constitutes a change that is substantial enough to warrant an alteration of custody rights, in a matter in which the father appealed the denial of his petition for modification. If you need assistance with a custody matter, it is smart to speak to a capable Miami child custody lawyer to evaluate your options.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife had two children together, born in 2010 and 2012. They divorced in 2015, and the final judgment of dissolution granted them shared parental responsibility and equal timesharing. Shortly after the divorce, the wife began a relationship with another man. In 2018, the husband filed a petition for modification of the final judgment, seeking a change in timesharing and parental responsibility due to the wife’s harassment of the husband, domestic violence incidents between the wife and the boyfriend, and the wife’s interference with the husband’s custody rights.

Reportedly, the magistrate determined the husband demonstrated a significant change in circumstances, noting that the children were temporarily removed from the wife’s care in 2017 and that there was a significant history of domestic violence between the wife and the boyfriend. Thus, he recommended that the husband be named as the ultimate decision maker on issues pertaining to the children’s health and education and to amend the timesharing to grant the wife visitation every other weekend. The wife filed exceptions to the magistrate’s report and recommendations, which the circuit court granted. The husband then appealed. Continue reading ›

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