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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 attorney 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.

A recent study is reporting that there are specific peaks of divorce filings in March and August. According to researchers, people who want to get divorced do not want to file during the summer family vacation season or before the winter holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The study found that divorce filings peaked in March and August and were the lowest in November and December. Divorce filings also decreased in April and did not increase until August.

Researchers examined divorce cases in 37 of 39 counties in one state between 2001 through 2015. Irrespective of the size of the counties, the trends appeared to be similar. The research indicated that there were 430 divorce filings in December, 570 divorce filings by March and 558 in August. From December to March the divorce filings increased by 33%. Similarly, from December to August divorce filings increased by 30%. The peaks in divorce case filing happen in the months after the winter and summer breaks.

The delay in divorce filings may be attributed to socially sensitive times during the year. People enter holiday seasons with rising expectations even though they may have had a substandard year. They leave the holidays looking for a new opportunity, a fresh start and a change. For unhappy marriages, vacations can be very stressful when they do not meet expectations. After spending a lengthy vacation with a spouse, individuals often find that they are even unhappier and begin to plan for their divorce.

The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is pleased to announce that Sandy T. Fox, Esquire of the law firm, Sandy T. Fox, P.A. has successfully achieved Board Certification as a family trial advocate. The NBTA was formed out of a strong conviction that both the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization designed specifically to create an objective set of standards illustrating an attorney’s experience and expertise in the practice of trial law.

Sandy T. Fox, Esquire joins a growing number of trial attorneys that have illustrated their commitment to bettering the legal profession by successfully completing a rigorous application process and providing the consumer of legal services with an objective measure by which to choose qualified and experienced legal counsel.

The elaborate screening of credentials that all NBTA board certified attorneys must successfully complete includes: demonstration of substantial trial experience, submission of judicial and peer references to attest to their competency, attendance of continuing legal education courses, submission of legal writing documents, proof of good standing and passing of an examination.

On Tuesday, April 27, 2011, Sandy T. Fox, a divorce attorney in Miami and Fort Lauderdale appeared on CNN The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer. After being contacted by CNN news correspondent, Mary Snow, Fox appeared in a segment that also featured famed New York divorce lawyer, Raol Felder. The news segment focused on the increase of divorce filings as a result of the improved economy.

Sandy T. Fox has been a member of The Florida Bar since September, 2004. He focuses his practice in all areas of marital and family law in Miami-Dade and Broward including divorce, paternity, child custody, alimony and child support enforcement and prenuptial agreements.

According to Foxnews.com and CNN.com, a recent survey of top divorce lawyers indicates that more clients are coming to divorce court with evidence from Facebook which would lead one to believe that there spouse may be cheating. Facebook allows couples who are in an unhappy marriage to look beyond their neighbors and co-workers for a fling. Some client’s have found love notes in their spouse’s Facebook account. However, often friends, neighbors and children learn about an adulterous affair. If you believe that their is electronic evidence on your spouse’s computer indicative of an affair, it is important to discuss this with your Ft. Lauderdale divorce lawyer.

Interfaith separations in Fort Lauderdale can cause a contentious debate in may religious communities such as Plantation, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Pembroke Pines. When a divorce becomes combative, divorce attorneys are often faced with a client that is non-negotiable regarding the religious upbringing of their child and the religious directives of their parenting plan. Clients often look to use anything and everything against their spouse or former parter when they are involved in child custody litigation during their divorce or paternity case in Broward.

Religious differences in how a child should be raised is an obvious tool that may be used by a litigant because of the significant differences in the both of the clients beliefs. While couples who come from two different religious backgrounds negotiate and are motivated to reach a resolution because they are in love and want to get marred, the motivation during a divorce should be the best interest of the child.

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