A 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.
Florida’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have recently been divorced in Broward, you most likely never thought that you would be a single mom. In Florida, the odds are stacked against you when you get married and have children. 50% of first time marriages and 67% of second time marriages end in divorce in Ft. Lauderdale. Single mothers in Fort Lauderdale who are becoming adjusted to their custody, time-sharing schedule and parenting plan are not alone. The following are some tips that your Broward divorce attorney should discuss with you after your case has concluded.
You need a group of people to rely on after your Florida marital and family lawyer finalizes your divorce. Consider your friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers when you have an emergency and need a third party to rely on. You should also consider the parents in your childrens play groups, classes and after school activities to provide you with emotional support. Chances are that you will be able to speak to other moms who have been divorced in Hollywood, Plantation, Westin, Pembroke Pines and other cities in Miami-Dade and Broward who can lend a helping hand.
There are many positive attributes about being a single mom. Immediately rid yourself of any guilt that you may feel from being a single mom. You need to find inspiration to feel good about your decision to hire a lawyer and file for divorce, child support and alimony in Fort Lauderdale.
In part one of my last blog, Planning Your First Step After Your Fort Lauderdale Divorce, I discussed why it is important to speak to financial and legal experts following the entry of the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage by the Broward County divorce judge. Most likely, your marital and family law attorney in Fort Lauderdale has advised you to update your estate and financial plans to reflect your new economic circumstances. Here are some additional ideas to consider:
Plan For Special Needs Children
If you have a disabled child who is expected to need lifetime assistance, consider a special needs trust to protect your child from having to give up any public financial assistance. In addition, your special needs child may not have to give up access to medical care that could be taken away due to an inheritance. When assets are held in trust, they are generally not considered the child’s assets.