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Your thoughtful, caring and ethical Florida divorce attorney wants what’s best for you both as a client and as a person. That generally means getting you a fair and appropriate outcome (whether via settlement or judgment) that comes with a minimum of hostility and animosity between you and your spouse, thereby allowing you to obtain closure and move on with your life in a healthy way.

Some spouses resist that, though. Sometimes, one sees a case where the bitterness and pain have taken over. It can be educational in multiple ways. For one thing, it stands as an example of what not to do if you’re a spouse going through a divorce. For another thing, court rulings in these kinds of cases can relay important information on topics such as the circumstances in which you can get your spouse to pay your attorneys’ fees.

A recent court ruling in a Santa Rosa County divorce case was one of those instances. The spouses displayed “a level of animosity… bordering on the visceral,” according to the appeals court.
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In the past, most people assumed that the process of getting divorced, in the absence of complete agreement by both spouses on all the issues, involved a trial before a judge. Today, alternative dispute resolution is more popular than ever, and that includes resolving divorce cases. Even if you’re not going before a judge, that doesn’t mean you don’t need good legal advice from a skilled attorney. Your knowledgeable Florida divorce attorney can help ensure you are choosing the best path for you, and help you make that best choice before you agree to anything binding.

Forty years ago this year, The People’s Court debuted on TV. If you’re familiar with the genre, you know that there are other similar shows on TV, such as Judge Judy and Divorce Court, the latter of which is the only reality courtroom show that is longer-running than The People’s Court.

You may be, at this point, asking yourself, “OK, but what do reality courtroom shows have to do with alternative dispute resolution?” As it turns out, a lot. These shows are actually a type of alternative dispute resolution. When the two opposing parties appear in TV “court,” the “judge” is actually serving as an arbitrator and the “trial” is binding arbitration. So, what happens if you’ve finished your binding arbitration but you think you didn’t get a fair outcome? An actual court case from Indian River County gives us a clearer picture.

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Celebrities, in many ways, live lives very different from ours. They are, however, still real people with real problems just like the rest of us and, when those problems are marital ones, there are things any of us can learn when it comes to our marriages. Whether or not you are a reality TV star, when your marriage seems headed for divorce, you should take the time to reach out to an experienced South Florida divorce attorney. It will be well worth it.

The sometimes tumultuous marriage of Love & Hip Hop star Ray J and fashion designer Princess Love has been in the entertainment news several times recently. Last May, the wife filed for divorce in Los Angeles. Two months later, she sought and obtained a dismissal of that divorce petition.

Two months after that dismissal, it was the husband’s turn, as he also filed for divorce in Los Angeles. However, by February 2021, the marriage had taken a turn for the better. Ray J told E! News that he and his wife were living in Miami, that Miami brought a “different vibe” and that the couple had reached “a peaceful place.”

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Just because you have a domestic violence injunction out against you, that doesn’t mean you lose all your rights, and it doesn’t mean that you are powerless to seek the aid of the courts if circumstances have changed in your case. So, even though that original injunction was entered, you can still take action. If you think you need the aid of the legal system, reach out to a knowledgeable South Florida family law attorney.

There are lots of reasons why restraining orders get entered. Sometimes, they may involve a case where the alleged abuser unwisely didn’t hire an attorney and didn’t show up to his hearing. Other times, they may involve someone who did commit the abuse alleged but who subsequently did not engage in any misconduct thereafter.

In both of those cases, the person who is the subject of the order may be someone who’s trying very hard to remain compliant at all times. If that’s you, one thing you may fear is the prospect of inadvertent non-compliance. That can happen in numerous ways, including, as was the circumstance in one recent Sarasota County protective injunction case, a relocation choice made by the alleged victim.

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The law office of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., recently secured an important victory in the Third District Court of Appeal on behalf of a Miami-Dade divorce client who had received an unfair ruling in the trial court. The court of appeal’s decision overturning that trial court ruling is an important reminder of the profound importance of having the right legal team in your corner. It is also a reminder that, while the law gives trial court judges very broad discretion in making their rulings, there are limits on what they can do.

The divorce case involved, among other things, the issues of alimony, child support and a parenting plan. The wife was a successful attorney who worked for the federal government and made more than $113,000 per year. The husband was a disabled former construction worker who made less than $30,000 per year, all from various forms of government benefits.

The spouses were able to use mediation successfully and resolve the division of their assets and liabilities. They also worked out a parenting plan at that time. When the case went to a hearing before the court, the spouses asked the judge to decide alimony, child support, and to adopt the parenting plan. The judge indicated that the parenting plan would be ratified.

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Here in 2021, families come in more shapes and sizes than ever. One of the byproducts of that is that you, as a parent, may be caring for and providing for children who came from multiple different relationships. So, what can you do if you have majority timesharing with some of your older children and now your ex-spouse or partner wants you to pay child support for the child you share with her? One of the first things you should do is reach out to an experienced South Florida family law attorney who can help you get a fair and just child support outcome that recognizes all the forms of support you are providing for all of your children.

A father from near Tallahassee found himself in that kind of difficult circumstance. The father had custody of two of his older children. He also had 40% timesharing with a younger child, a preschooler.

The mother of the preschooler went to court seeking an order imposing a child support obligation on the father. The trial support calculated how much the father would have been paying in child support for the two older children (if he was paying child support at the guidelines-indicated level) and subtracted that from his gross income. The trial judge then used the result of that calculation to determine the father’s child support obligation for the preschooler.

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Here in Florida, the law strongly favors keeping the things discussed between you and your doctor or mental health provider private. There’s the doctor-patient privilege and the psychotherapist-patient privilege… and there are only a few situations where those privileges can be overcome. However, if you think that your ex-spouse’s addiction and/or mental health problems are potentially placing your children’s health and safety at risk and you need his/her medical records to prove it, now is not the time simply to assume there’s nothing you can do about it. Instead, reach out to an experienced South Florida family law attorney and find out what steps can be taken to protect your children.

A few months ago, this blog took a look at a parental responsibility dispute between a father and a mother from Polk County, the latter of whom was undergoing mental health care. In that case, the court ultimately ruled that the mother was not required to disclose her mental health records because she never did anything in that legal custody case to make her mental health an issue.

Now, we are going to look at the other side of that coin. Say you need to obtain your ex-spouse’s mental health and/or substance abuse records and get them before the judge. To do that, you need to prove that the privilege has been waived.

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There are lots of things that can “sneak up” on you, but a judgment of divorce shouldn’t be one of them. If you’ve received notice that your spouse has obtained something called a “default judgment of dissolution of marriage,” chances are high that you didn’t have an attorney. If that happens, you may not know what to do. Let’s start with what you shouldn’t do: don’t panic, don’t despair and definitely don’t give up. Instead, do reach out to an experienced South Florida family law attorney who can help you explore your options for reversing that default judgment and getting an outcome that’s fairer to you.

The law prefers that all cases – especially family law matters – be resolved on their merits, not on procedural bases. This gives your request to overturn a default judgment enhanced odds of success.

For example, consider this South Florida husband’s divorce and default judgment case. His wife filed for divorce. The husband submitted an answer that said he didn’t oppose dissolution, but he did oppose the equitable distribution the wife proposed.

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Both in this blog and elsewhere, you may read about the importance of having a powerful South Florida family law attorney by your side “every step of the way.” That’s definitely true if you are someone who is seeking to create a premarital (a/k/a prenuptial) agreement. You need strong legal representation when you negotiate your agreement, when you execute the document and, potentially, when it comes time to enforce that agreement.

That last one – enforcement — is just as important as the others, because it is far from impossible to encounter a spouse who decides they don’t want to “play by the rules” created by that agreement when it comes time to do so.

This was the case for L.B., an ex-wife from the Orlando area. Before she married H.H., the pair created and signed a prenuptial agreement. That contract stated that, if the couple divorced, the husband was required to support the wife, not just during his lifetime, but after his death.

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When going through a divorce, the #1 issue for most spouses is their minor children. In terms of inanimate objects, though, the most valuable asset with which most divorcing spouses must deal is the marital home. Obviously, one of the last things you want is to have your name on the mortgage if your spouse is the one remaining in the home after the divorce. No one wants to be attached to a debt for a home they have no legal right to occupy. There are ways to safeguard yourself financially, both before and during a divorce. One of those ways is by retaining a knowledgeable South Florida family law attorney to make sure you are fully protected.

Refinancing a marital home after a divorce can be a particularly tricky thing here in South Florida. Given the area’s tendency to undergo large fluctuation in home prices, the marital home you’re seeking to address may have a ton of equity, or it may be underwater (meaning you owe more than it’s currently worth.)

Often, when two spouses divorce, one will desire to keep the house. The other spouse, in order to protect him/herself, will insist that the spouse staying in the home refinance the outstanding mortgage loan to finance the property in the receiving spouse’s name only. However, given the complexities of the mortgage lending industry and the volatile value of South Florida real estate, refinancing may be easier said than done. So, you may wonder, what happens if your ex-spouse got the house, but your name is still on the mortgage? That was the quandary faced by one Palm Beach County spouse in his divorce case recently.

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