Articles Posted in Post Final Judgment

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magnifying glassThere are several things that are essential in order to make a proposed marital settlement agreement appropriate for you to sign. Any agreement should appropriately protect your interests. The agreement also, though, should be completely clear and unambiguous so that any disputes that arise later will not trigger a whole new round of discovery and litigation. For all of these things, rely upon a skilled Florida divorce attorney to help you get the marital settlement agreement you need.

The case of Michael and Regina was an example of what happens when a marital settlement agreement isn’t unambiguous. When the couple married in 1987, Michael was a seven-year veteran of a local police department in Broward County. In 1989, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office absorbed Michael’s employer. When that happened, the couple decided to cash out the husband’s pension and spend the money.

After becoming an employee of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the husband became eligible for an account with the Florida Retirement System. The FRS allowed some members, including this husband, to purchase service credit, which meant that the employee would be entitled to a larger benefit when he retired.

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cash boxThere is an old and colorful saying about the perils of making assumptions. The saying, which popped up on a 1973 episode of The Odd Couple, admonishes that you should “never assume” and reveals its lesson by separating the word “assume” into its first through third letters, its fourth letter, and its fifth through sixth letters. Before entering into any contractual agreements, including marital settlement agreements, it would be wise to heed this advice. It would also be wise to seek out the advice and counsel of an experienced Florida divorce attorney.

One case in which one of the spouses didn’t heed that advice was a recent action that originated in Sarasota County. James and Pamela were married for 27 years before their marriage ended in divorce. James was the son of very wealthy parents. In fact, James’ parents’ wealth was the source of the couple’s retirement plan. According to the court, they never saved for retirement; they simply made plans to live in their retirement years off the very large lump-sum inheritance they expected James to get once both of his parents had passed away.

James’ parents survived longer than James’ marriage to Pamela. Thus, when it came time for James and Pamela to enter into a marital settlement agreement, they simply included their assumptions about James’ inheritance in their MSA.

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stenographerA 1960s song written by Chuck Berry, which was later re-recorded by artists ranging from rock icon Bruce Springsteen to country star Emmylou Harris, states in its refrain that “it goes to show you never can tell.” Litigation — especially family law litigation — can be a lot like that. There are a great many facts, legal issues, and procedural nuances that can make your case unique and unpredictable. Legal counsel can help you deal with the peculiarities and detours of your case. Take, as an example, a recent case in which the Third District Court of Appeal granted a husband’s appeal and awarded a new trial in the man’s divorce case after the court reporter’s records of the original trial were lost through no fault of the husband.

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1040136_justice_srb_1 sxchu.jpgFlorida’s Third District Court of Appeals has ruled that attorney’s fees may be awarded pursuant to Section 61.16(1) of the Florida Statutes in a marital property settlement agreement enforcement action. In De Campos v. Ferrara, a former married couple dissolved their marriage in 1991. As part of the dissolution action, the parties entered into a property settlement agreement that required the former wife to pay her ex-husband one-half of the sale proceeds for a business the couple owned during their marriage. Although the business was not immediately sold, the trial court retained jurisdiction to enforce the parties’ settlement agreement.

In 2008, the wife sold the business, reportedly without telling the husband. He subsequently sought relief from the trial court that included a temporary injunction and an order compelling payment of his half of the sale proceeds. Although the wife argued that she previously disposed of the business by incorporating it into a new business and paying her former husband $48,000, the trial court disagreed. Instead, she was ordered to pay her former spouse one-half of the proceeds from the 2008 sale.

In 2009, the former husband filed a petition with the trial court for an award of attorney’s fees and other costs. The trial court denied his petition based on Flanders v. Flanders, stating that the action was “an equitable declaratory proceeding to construe and enforce the parties’ Property Settlement Agreement.” According to the trial court, Section 61.16(1) of the Florida Statutes did not apply to the parties’ case and the husband was not entitled to attorney’s fees since the property settlement agreement was silent on the matter.

On appeal, the Third District reversed the trial court by stating the matter was simply an enforcement action for a final judgment previously entered by the trial court. According to the Appeals Court, there was no ambiguity regarding whether the husband was entitled to proceeds from the sale of the business. Additionally, his former wife did not contest his rights. Instead, she merely contested whether her obligations under the property settlement agreement were previously satisfied. The Appellate Court stated Flanders did not apply to the case at hand because the proceeding was not a declaratory action. According to the Third District, Section 61.16(1) applied to the parties’ case because the court was merely being asked to enforce a marital property settlement agreement in a divorce matter filed pursuant to Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes.

The Appeals Court also found the husband may be entitled to attorney’s fees because neither party expressly waived their statutory right to such an award in the property settlement agreement. Additionally, there was no implied waiver because the agreement failed to contain any language regarding an award of attorney’s fees. Since Section 61.16(1) applied to the case and governed any award of attorney’s fees, Florida’s Third District reversed and remanded the matter to the trial court.
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A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that 73% of attorney’s who practice marital and family law are reporting an increase in the demand for prenuptial agreements. Broward divorce attorneys believe that the recession has effected people’s assets which now require protection in the event of a dissolution of marriage. Nowadays, the demand for prenuptial agreements is seen in the middle class and those individuals with substantial assets. While some individual’s want no responsibility for their spouse’s dent, others are protecting their pensions, 401k and retirement from equitable distribution.

An entrepreneur has recently created divorce insurance called WedLock. Customers are able to decide the size of the policy and the monthly premium based upon the selected plan. Divorce insurance polices range from $99 to $1,073 per month. Claims can not be submitted until a policy holder has had the plan for 36 months.

Marriage rates in the USA continue to drop. In 2000, 34.5% of individuals aged 25-34 had never been married. In 2009, the number increased to 46.3%. While marriage rates have dropped, many couples have just decided to live together and enter into a cohabitation agreement.

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The purpose of civil contempt is to obtain compliance with a child support, alimony or general court order and can only be used when the contemnor has the ability to comply.

First, your divorce lawyer in Fort Lauderdale must have the court determine whether the defaulting party has willfully violated the court order. Next, the court must determine the appropriate remedial measure. If the Florida marital and family law judge orders that the contemnor is to be jailed, the court must make a specific finding that he or she has the present ability to pay the purge.

In Aburos v Aburos, the former husband appealed an order finding him in indirect civil contempt and requiring him to be incarcerated which was entered by Miami divorce court Judge Amy Steele Donner for failing to pay the former wife alimony and child support pursuant to the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Specifically, the former wife asked the trial court to find the former husband in contempt of court for his failure to pay $1,700 per month for permanent periodic alimony and $1,693 per month in child support.

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Sandy T. Fox, Esquire, a divorce lawyer in Broward and Miami-Dade, represented the Former Wife in an enforcement proceeding in the Florida marital and family law court located north of Fort Lauderdale. The equitable distribution provision of the marital settlement agreement provided that the Former Wife was to receive $141,263.72 from the Former Husband. The Former Husband retained his real property in New York. While no date of payment to the Former Wife was specified in the marital settlement agreement, the final judgment of dissolution of marriage ordered the parties to comply with the marital settlement agreement.

The Former Wife filed a motion to enforce the equitable distribution provision of the final judgment since the Former Husband had only made 5 incremental payments. At the hearing, she testified that she was to receive $141,263.72 upon entry of the final judgment. On the otherhand, the Former Husband testified that the Former Wife was to be paid upon the sale of his New York property.

On appeal in the case of Crespo v. Crespo, the Former Wife argued that the trial court erred in admitting parol evidence as to the intent of the parties. In affirming the decision of the divorce court located north of Ft. Lauderdale, the Fourth District Court of Appeal found that the marital settlement agreement contained a latent ambiguity since it failed to specify the time in which the Former Wife was to receive payment from the Former Husband. The court explained that a latent ambiguity arises when the language in a contract is clear and intelligible and suggests a single meaning, but some extrinsic fact or extraneous evidence creates a necessity for interpretation or a choice among two or more possible meanings.

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During a Broward divorce, your Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer may request that you be awarded alimony. A Florida marital and family court can award you bridge-the-gap, temporary, lump sum, rehabilitative or permanent periodic alimony. However, after the conclusion of your Broward divorce case, one spouse may have their Broward child support, child custody and divorce attorney ask the judge to reduce or terminate the alimony because of a statutorily created supportive relationship.

In determining whether an existing award of alimony should be reduced or terminated because of an alleged supportive relationship between an obligee and a person who is not related by consanguinity or affinity and with whom the obligee resides, the court shall elicit the nature and extent of the relationship in question. The court shall give consideration, without limitation, to circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following, in determining the relationship of an obligee to another person: the extent to which the obligee and the other person have held themselves out as a married couple by engaging in conduct such as using the same last name, using a common mailing address, referring to each other in terms such as “my husband” or “my wife,” or otherwise conducting themselves in a manner that evidences a permanent supportive relationship; the period of time that the obligee has resided with the other person in a permanent place of abode; the extent to which the obligee and the other person have pooled their assets or income or otherwise exhibited financial interdependence; the extent to which the obligee or the other person has supported the other, in whole or in part; the extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other; the extent to which the obligee or the other person has performed valuable services for the other’s company or employer; whether the obligee and the other person have worked together to create or enhance anything of value; whether the obligee and the other person have jointly contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property; evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an express agreement regarding property sharing or support; evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the other person have an implied agreement regarding property sharing or support and whether the obligee and the other person have provided support to the children of one another, regardless of any legal duty to do so.

In Baumann v Baumann, the Second District Court of Appeal reversed the decision of a Florida divorce court that reduced the former husband’s alimony obligation to the Former Wife. The former husband was required to pay the former wife $1800 per month in permanent periodic alimony. In 2007, the former husband petitioned the Florida marital and family law court to reduce or terminate his alimony obligation since the Former Wife was involved in a supportive relationship.

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Your divorce in Broward was most likely an extremely difficult process. While your Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney is not your therapist, it is important for you to let go and move on after your divorce. You should learn to incorporate different specific skills to assist you with emotionally recovering after the child custody, time-sharing, alimony and child support aspects of your Cooper City divorce.

You should take back control of your life by letting go of the pain, resentment and regret. You must also fully accept and take responsibility of your new reality and feelings. It is also important to handle your emotions in a healthy way to avoid collateral damage. During your Broward divorce, you must make the decisions about how you will handle your divorce and how it will affect you and your child’s life.

While 50% of marriages in the United States end in a divorce, a divorce does not have to resemble a war with various casualties. Your Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer will recommend you to be civil and respectful after your marital and family case to ensure a stable and bright future for all interested parties. When a divorce is not overwhelming, a marital and family lawyer can easily settle different parts of your Broward divorce case including , child custody, child support and alimony.

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When you meet with your Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer, you will soon have an understanding of the main elements of your divorce case. These includes sole or shared parental responsibility, a parenting plan that includes a time-sharing schedule, equitable distribution of the marital assets and liabilities, alimony, child support and attorney’s fees and costs. However, once the Broward marital and family court enters your Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, you will be a single mom who is responsible for the day to day care of your children.

When your former spouse exercises his custody rights of time-sharing in Fort Lauderdale, you may initially have some anxiety. How you and your former spouse communicate becomes an example for your children and lays the foundation for how your children will manage their future relationships. Your Broward divorce attorney will explain that you should never discuss your marital and family law case with your children or negatively criticize your former spouse to your children.

Regardless of whether you file for divorce in Miami-Dade or Broward, a divorce can have a major impact of your finances. If you are a newly single mother who relied on her former spouse to pay the bills, you need to quickly learn about your finances. You should establish a monthly budget that takes into account any alimony or child support that your receive, purchase life insurance and understand your credit.