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When a couple that has children decides to end their marriage, they will generally task the court with determining their paternal responsibility, such as how custody should be split. Prior to making custody decisions, courts consider a number of criteria, including whether one partner has committed acts of domestic abuse. Regardless of whether another court believes that custody should be adjusted because of domestic violence, if a family court issues an order granting timesharing rights, that ruling will govern parental rights. This was proven in a recent Florida decision in which the court overturned a domestic violence order that affected the father’s parenting rights to some extent. If you have any issues about your custody rights, you should speak with a skilled Florida family law lawyer promptly.

The Factual and Procedural History 

Allegedly, in 2016, the wife filed a petition for divorce. She also filed a petition seeking a domestic violence order against her spouse shortly after filing the divorce petition. She detailed multiple incidents in which her husband threatened her with violence, verbally harassed her, and pushed her in the years leading up to the filing of the domestic violence petition.

The court allegedly issued a default order against the spouse but did not include a provision regulating the parties’ minor children’s timesharing. Because the spouse had not received appropriate notice of the final hearing on the injunction, the court annulled the order and scheduled a new hearing in 2020. Following the hearing, the court issued another order, this time granting the wife full timesharing rights. The spouse filed an appeal, claiming that the injunction was in violation of the custody order issued by the family court. Continue reading ›

Broadly speaking, Florida courts have the authority to grant alimony and establish the proper amount of maintenance. However, the courts must follow specific rules, and if they award alimony outside of the prescribed bounds without good reason, their decisions may be overturned. A Florida court recently reviewed grounds for overturning a trial court’s alimony order in a divorce case when the support obligation left the paying party with significantly less money than the party receiving support. If you want to dissolve your marriage or have been served with divorce papers, you should contact a reputable Florida divorce attorney as soon as possible to discuss your choices.

The Trial Court’s Decision

According to reports, the couple filed a petition for divorce. The parties each presented external auditors who testified about the husband’s ability to pay alimony during the case’s trial. The experts’ opinions were based on the value of the husband’s business, changes in industry norms that affected his firm, operational costs, and the line of credit he was obliged to maintain for the business’s operation.

The wife’s expert allegedly stated that she required more than $9,000 every month and that the husband earned more than $15,000 each month. The husband’s expert, on the other hand, testified that the wife needed about $7,800 each month and that the husband had a negative net income of about $2,000 each month. The trial court determined that the husband could pay $8,000 per month in alimony and ordered him to give the wife with dental and health insurance as well as get a life insurance policy to guarantee the alimony. The husband filed an appeal. Continue reading ›

While it may not happen often, it is possible for a party to a divorce action passes away while the case is pending. In such cases, the courts are likely to dismiss the case because a petition for dissolution of marriage is rendered irrelevant if one of the parties is no longer alive. However, as indicated in a recent Florida judgment, the court approaches the issue of implementing a divorce decree differently if one of the former spouses passes away. If you want to leave your marriage, you should talk with an experienced Florida divorce lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your choices.

The Case’s Details

In 2008, the husband and wife got divorced, according to reports. The woman had the right to remain in the former marital harm under their marital settlement agreement, which was incorporated into the final judgment of dissolution. The right was given on the condition that the wife would take on certain financial responsibilities associated with the home. The spouse died not long after the couple divorced.

The husband’s estate then allegedly filed two motions: one wanting to be substituted as a party in the divorce case, and the other asking for the wife to be ordered to leave the residence. The second motion was based on the claim that the wife had failed to meet the financial commitments imposed by the marital settlement agreement, resulting in the home’s foreclosure. The motions were dismissed by the trial court, and the estate appealed. Continue reading ›

When a couple with minor children decides to end their marriage, they will typically be granted joint custody rights.  In some cases, however, the court will grant one parent will be greater custody rights at first. Subsequent changes in the parties’ situations are common, though, and will typically inspire the court to modify the custody order and grant the other parent primary custody of the child. A Florida court recently considered whether a modification order that transfers the majority of parental time from one parent to the other must contain provisions that allow for the other parent to take measures to restore significant time sharing rights. If you are fighting for custody of your child, it is in your best interest to consult a dedicated Florida child custody lawyer to discuss your rights.

The Factual Background

Allegedly, the mother and father separated in 2015. The mother was awarded the majority of parental time with the couple’s minor child under the terms of the divorce decree. The father requested a change in the parenting arrangement in 2019. The adjustment was granted by the court, resulting in the father receiving the majority of parenting time.

Generally, when a parent wishes to define custody rights, they will file a custody lawsuit in the jurisdiction in which they, their child, and their co-parent reside. In some instances, however, co-parents may not agree as to which county or state is considered the child’s place of residence. In such instances, the Florida courts will typically analyze numerous factors to determine where the child’s home exists and if it can exercise jurisdiction over a custody dispute pertaining to the child. For example, in a recent Florida opinion, a court explained what it considers when evaluating whether a child is a Florida resident, in a case in which the mother and father filed custody disputes in New Jersey and Florida, respectively. If you are engaged in a dispute over custody, it is advisable to contact a Florida child custody lawyer to assess your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father lived with the father’s parents in Florida for many years. Once the child was conceived, the parents moved to New Jersey to obtain the care of a specific obstetrician. The mother gave birth to the child in New York, after which the parents and child went back to Florida. They initially intended just to vacation there but ended up living with the paternal grandparents again for over six months. The mother returned to New Jersey on numerous occasions during that time to tend to her business.

Allegedly, the parties’ relationship deteriorated, and the mother returned to New Jersey with the child. She then sought an injunction for protection against domestic violence, and one week later, the father filed a paternity action in Florida. The following day, the mother filed a custody action in New Jersey and moved to dismiss the Florida paternity case, arguing New Jersey had jurisdiction over the child under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The trial court conducted a hearing, after which it denied the motion. The mother then appealed. Continue reading ›

Disputes over money are one of the leading causes of divorce. It is not surprising, then, that in many divorce cases, the parties will engage in contentious disagreements over how assets and property should be divided. In an attempt to mitigate such disputes, the Florida courts engage in a three-step process for determining what constitutes an equitable division of property. If the court disregards the process and divides property without properly identifying assets and liability, it may constitute grounds for a reversal of an equitable distribution award, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling. If you wish to end your marriage, it is critical to engage a capable Florida divorce lawyer to assist you in safeguarding your interests.

The History of the Case

The facts of the case are sparse. It is merely reported that the husband and wife were engaged in divorce proceedings, and the trial court issued a final judgment dissolving the marriage. The husband subsequently appealed, arguing that the alimony award and equitable distribution awards dictated by the judgment must be reversed. The appellate court agreed, and vacated the trial court ruling, and remanded for further proceedings.

The Florida Equitable Distribution Process

In Florida, equitable distribution is typically a three-step process. Specifically, it requires the identification of nonmarital and marital assets, a valuation of any assets deemed marital, and distribution of marital assets as dictated by statute. In the subject case, the husband argued that the trial court erred in failing to identify all of the parties’ liabilities and assets and deem them either marital or nonmarital. The appellate court agreed. Continue reading ›

In Florida, income earned during the course of a marriage, including money placed in a retirement account, is generally considered marital property. When couples divorce, any marital property is typically subject to equitable distribution, but parties can waive their property rights via an agreement. A party that waives the right to marital property in a divorce action cannot later argue that their waiver does not apply based on a technicality, however. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion issued in a Florida case, in which the deceased husband’s estate sought enforcement of a marital settlement agreement to preclude the wife from recovering retirement plan benefits. If you want to end your marriage, it is smart to hire a knowledgeable Miami divorce attorney to help you seek a favorable outcome.

History of the Case

It is alleged that husband and wife married in 1988. The husband, a  television producer, contributed to a 401k plan that was governed by ERISA before and after the marriage. He designated the wife as the first beneficiary and his children as the second beneficiaries under the plan documents.  In 2017, the parties divorced. They developed a marital settlement agreement (the Agreement) that stated they both retained the sole right to their retirement plans and waived the right to recover proceeds from each other’s plans. The husband did not update his plan beneficiary forms, however. The court ratified the Agreement in the final dissolution of marriage.

Florida courts generally find that it is in a child’s best interest to maintain connections with both parents and are reluctant to sever the parent-child relationship. While the courts will usually determine if there are other, less restrictive, means of protecting a child prior to terminating parental rights, such an analysis is not always required. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion in which the appellate court reversed a trial court order denying a motion to sever the parental relationship on the grounds that the father engaged in egregious conduct. If you have questions about your parental rights or the rights of your co-parent, it is smart to meet with a Florida child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

The Subject Case

It is reported that the mother and father shared custody of their minor children pursuant to a time-sharing agreement. The mother and her boyfriend drove to the father’s house to pick up the children, but the father refused to let them go. Then, in front of the children, he threatened to shoot the mother in the face if she took them. The mother loaded the children into her boyfriend’s truck. The boyfriend began driving away, and the father went into his house.

Allegedly, the father then returned with a gun and began shooting at the truck. One of the bullets hit the boyfriend in the back of his head, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and drive into a ditch. The mother suffered injuries in the crash, and one of the children suffered cuts when bullets shattered the truck’s windows. The father was ultimately arrested and charged with attempted murder, and the mother filed a petition to terminate his parental rights. The trial court denied the petition, and the mother appealed. Continue reading ›

Generally, when a couple with children divorces, the courts will find it is in the best interest of the children for both parents to have custody rights. Typically, the courts will issue an order setting forth a parenting plan establishing when each party has physical custody of the children. The plans generally may be modified, but only if the party requesting a change demonstrates that it is warranted and that it is in the best interests of the children, as discussed in a recent Florida ruling. If you need assistance protecting your parental rights, it is prudent to speak to a Florida child custody lawyer to discuss your options.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife divorced in 2016. They had two minor children, and the divorce decree set forth a parenting plan that granted the wife the majority of time-sharing rights and granted the husband time-sharing on alternating weekends and Wednesday nights and set forth a standard holiday and summer schedule. The husband filed a motion asking the court to hold the wife in contempt and for the appointment of a parenting coordinator.

It is alleged that in support of his motion, he argued that his schedule as an emergency room surgeon made it difficult to adhere to the schedule, and the wife was unwilling to compromise. The court held a hearing and then ruled that the husband should be allowed to change one of his weekends each month as long as he gave the wife advance notice. The wife appealed. Continue reading ›

Different circumstances can create different needs for different couples. Many people going to court seeking an end to their marriage desire a divorce. Sometimes, though, the person filing seeks not a dissolution but an annulment, which has a different impact on the spouses in terms of the rights of each. Regardless of whether you’re going to court to seek a divorce or annulment, one thing remains constant (in these and other cases), which is the parties’ fundamental right to due process of law. Experienced Florida divorce counsel can help you protect your rights as you engage with the legal system.

The case of Jeffrey M. and Karen N., which provided a clear illustration of a due process violation, was the result of the couple’s very brief and presumably unsatisfying marriage. The pair wed on May 9, 2014. A mere seven months later, the husband filed a petition in court, asking the judge to annul the marriage. In his court papers, the husband contended that the pair had separated immediately after the wedding, that they had never lived together as husband and wife, and that they “never consummated the marriage in any manner.”

The pair eventually worked out some of their issues when it came to the payment of certain debts and other financial matters. The wife eventually filed a request seeking to enforce a settlement agreement the two had created.