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Articles Posted in Divorce

Changes in the law happen all the time. Whether it is a new ruling from an appeals court or the Supreme Court or a new bill from the legislature, the law continues to shift and evolve. That fact is one of the many reasons why having the right legal team on your side in your divorce case in Florida is essential. The right Florida divorce lawyer will not only be able to provide you with thoughtful advice about your case but also base that advice on the latest, most up-to-date knowledge of the law.

Alimony reform is again in the news in Florida as legislators once again debate the potential for modifying state law to eliminate permanent alimony here. Florida remains one of just a very few jurisdictions where a court can award permanent alimony to a divorcing spouse. (The others are Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia.)

A bill that recently cleared an important hurdle in the House of Representatives would change that. HB 1559 would alter Florida’s alimony laws and remove permanent alimony as an option. The current reform proposal would allow for bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational alimony. The longest possible duration any alimony award could run would be a period equal to one-half of the length of the marriage.

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Comedic takes on family law disputes, like the country song called “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)”, are common in popular culture. That song, which teaches that “alimony” rhymes with “baloney,” is one of many where one party believes that the outcome was grossly one-sided and unfair. Here in Florida, there are certain statutory safeguards to help ensure that the outcomes the legal system produces in real life are not ones where the supported spouse exits the marriage “living large” while the supporting spouse is destitute. When it comes to ensuring your financial security in divorce litigation, make sure you have representation from an experienced South Florida family law attorney to provide you the protection you deserve.

There are several rules that Florida law imposes on awards of alimony. If an award violates any one or more of these, then that error may allow you to get the ruling overturned. One of those rules, contained in Section 61.08(9) of the Florida Statutes, says that an “award of alimony may not leave the payor with significantly less net income than the net income of the recipient” except in cases of “exceptional circumstances.” That rule played a key role in one recent divorce case from Palm Beach County.

Each of the spouses had their own forensic accountant and each had markedly different views on the family road maintenance business. The wife’s accountant told the court that the husband earned more than $15,200 per month and the wife had a monthly need of more than $9,500.

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If you and your spouse are married for only a relatively short amount of time, you probably don’t expect to owe your spouse permanent alimony. However, permanent alimony is available to some spouses in Florida, even in cases where theirs was a short-term marriage. If your short-term spouse is seeking permanent alimony from you, make sure you have the skilled legal advocacy you need from an experienced South Florida family law attorney to defeat this claim.

When your short-term spouse seeks permanent alimony from you, the law starts out on your side. If your marriage lasts seven years or less, Florida law considers that to be a “short-term” marriage and creates a presumption that permanent alimony is not proper. A “presumption” means that, at the outset of the case, before the court hears any evidence or arguments, it presumes that your spouse should not receive permanent alimony.

A spouse can overcome that presumption and get permanent alimony in a short-term marriage situation, but to do so requires a special evidentiary showing, so you need to be prepared to present the arguments and proof necessary to demonstrate that the presumption has not been overcome, as one Jacksonville-area husband did in his recent alimony case.

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Talk to enough people who’ve been through contentious divorces and, at some point, you’ll probably hear about how the person’s “no-good, low-down, miserable excuse for a spouse” lied on the stand, got away with it, and got the “better end” of the divorce outcome. Oftentimes, these complaints are just the verbal expressions of generalized frustration about having been through the painful process of divorce. However, a question remains: what happens if you discover documented proof that seems to indicate that your spouse did lie during his/her trial testimony, but you only came into possession of that proof after the final judgment? Fortunately, even after your divorce is finalized, you still have options. An experienced South Florida family law attorney can help you choose the best approach based on your specific situation.

A recent Orlando-area divorce case involving a medical sales professional and a stay-at-home mom was an example of an action where alleged falsehoods played a role.

One of the most heavily litigated issues in the case was the amount of the husband’s income. The wife, in seeking to establish the husband’s income, presented evidence related to five physician clients. The husband, however, countered that two of those doctors were not his clients. Regarding one of those two doctors, Dr. G., the husband stated that he never did any business with that physician, never tried to do any business with Dr. G. and, as a result, never received any income from Dr. G.

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Many married people, during their wedding, recite vows in which they promise to remain together “for better or for worse.” Stay married long enough and you’ll likely encounter some of each. If you were hurt in an auto accident while you were married, that might be an example of the latter. Getting a monetary judgment or settlement award based on that accident might qualify as the former. If you have received an award of money during your marriage such as a personal injury settlement, that can be a complicating issue in your divorce. To get the reliable answers you need to potentially complex divorce issues like this and others, be sure you are getting your information and advice from an experienced South Florida family law attorney.

Martin and Mary were a couple who got divorced in Hillsborough County after nearly three decades of marriage. Two years before the couple separated, the husband was injured in a car crash. The couple sued and eventually received $28,000 in a settlement of the case.

In the divorce judgment, the trial judge declared the settlement funds to be a non-marital asset belonging to the husband. The wife contested that ruling successfully in an appeal.

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A lot of times, it may be easy to encounter a family law problem that makes you throw up your hands and say, “My situation is hopeless!” The reality is, though, it’s usually not. Very often, there are ways through or around your seemingly insurmountable barrier. Many times, it starts by retaining and working with the right South Florida divorce attorney who knows how to help you get where you want to be.

A Tampa rock-n-roll radio station’s giveaway contest and a divorce case from the Keys normally would have nothing in common, but recently one such contest and one such case had some overlapping aspects, and those aspects point to some important things about Florida law and complicated divorces.

The radio station contest in question promised to give the winning entrant a “free divorce,” with legal services provided by a local attorney.

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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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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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