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Articles Posted in Divorce

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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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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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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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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Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about states decriminalizing the use of marijuana. There is, however, another decriminalization movement underway that you’ve likely heard less about. The State of Utah did it in 2019, and Virginia took action earlier this year. Bills are under consideration in Minnesota and New York. What is it that’s being decriminalized with such increased frequency lately? Adultery and/or fornication.

While lots of states are taking action, Florida isn’t one of them. Section 798.01 of the Florida Statutes makes “living in open adultery” a second-degree misdemeanor. It’s been on the books since the 19th Century, and the Legislature has not yet taken action to repeal it.

While you technically can face a fine of up to $500 and spend up to 60 days in jail for open adultery, there are only certain specific situations where an extramarital affair – whether yours or your spouse’s – will have an impact on what the judge decides in your divorce.

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If you have a court order that obligates you to pay a reasonable amount of alimony to your ex-spouse and you’re capable of paying it, then the best thing you can do is… pay it. Of course, life isn’t always that simple, especially in this time of coronavirus-fueled economic instability, which is affecting more and more ex-spouses who are under court orders to pay alimony. If your court-ordered amount is more than you can pay or is otherwise unreasonable, then you should reach out as soon as possible to an experienced South Florida family law attorney so that your attorney can begin working on getting your alimony obligation modified.

Simply allowing yourself to fall behind on alimony is almost never the right answer, and can come with some serious consequences. However, even if you have made the mistake of racking up an alimony arrearage, failure to pay does not mean that you are without any rights. You are still entitled to certain legal protections and there are still certain processes and procedures the court must go through before administering certain penalties.

As an example, we can look at a recent alimony case from Broward County. That husband owed alimony to his ex-wife in excess of $600,000, and the wife filed a motion to find the husband in contempt.

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As anyone who’s been through divorce litigation knows, getting a favorable ruling from the judge is a huge step, but it may not be the last step. There may be occasions where, despite a clear order from the court, your ex-spouse doesn’t do what he/she was supposed to do. This is one of the many reasons why it pays to have a skilled South Florida family law attorney on your side: so that you can not only win your case in court, but can win the legal battles that come afterward.

For example, look at A.L. and K.M., a married couple who created a postnuptial agreement. That agreement said that the wife would pay the husband a one-time equitable distribution payment. The payment, which was $250,000, was due within seven days of the spouses’ signing of the agreement.

The wife didn’t pay the whole $250,000, though. Instead, she paid $225,000. The husband responded by filing a contempt motion. The magistrate who heard the case initially recommended that the court rule in favor of the husband and order the wife to pay the remaining $25,000.

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Many families with children – even those where divorce is involved – may go through the children’s entire formative years with everyone living in one state. For a lot of other families, though, that’s not the case. When you’re in that latter group, any legal disputes regarding parental responsibility and timesharing can become profoundly more complicated and may possibly force you to have to litigate in some far-away state. Having a skilled South Florida family law attorney by your side can provide you with immense benefit when it comes to seeking to avoid such a disadvantageous situation.

The story of an ended marriage with children and a post-separation family spread across two states hit the news recently. Devoted fans of the Real Housewives of New York reality TV show will undoubtedly recognize the name “Jules Wainstein” as one of the cast members during Season 8. People following celebrity “gossip” news will also recognize Jules Wainstein as a new divorcee. People.com reported that she and her husband, Michael, who share two children and who separated in 2016, received their final judgment of divorce this fall. Although Wainstein and her husband resided in Manhattan, she told BravoTV that she and the kids “temporarily” relocated here to South Florida, living with her parents in Boca Raton.

The mother’s comments to Bravo seem to indicate a clear intent to return to the Big Apple but, certainly, Wainstein wouldn’t be the first New Yorker who “temporarily” moved to South Florida and ultimately decided to stay. If the mother and children were to remain in Florida, any child custody issues that they would have to litigate in the future would implicate a statute known as the “Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act,” or UCCJEA.

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