Category Archives: Divorce/Family Law


Many divorce and paternity cases are settled by a written agreement between the parents. But before it becomes part of the final judgment in the case, the Judge is going to carefully review any issues regarding the minor children involved. If he believes that the agreement is not in the best interests of the minor children, he will not accept that part and send the parents back to talk or make decisions him/herself. Best interests of the minor children will always govern over the wants of the parents.


 If the husband and wife have a small family business, particularly incorporated, it is a marital asset which would be subject to evaluation and if possible, division. Sometimes, a third person is involved. If this is the case, the corporation or entity must be joined as a third party to your “lawsuit” for divorce so the Court has authority to resolve issues regarding that business. This is not necessary with large, publically traded corporations like Amazon or GE. The shares are the marital assets.  Something to keep in mind when you speak with a family law attorney

Failure to Pay Child Support or Alimony.

There is no debtor’s prison here in the United States. One of our basic rules. The exception is one’s failure to pay child support or alimony on purpose. In other words, you knowingly withhold this support when you have an ability to live up to the judge’s orders. Other penalties may be paying for your former spouses attorney or your driver’s license being suspended until the issue is resolved. Remember, penalties are only forthcoming if the actions are on purpose. If you end up in the county jail, the key to the door is money. The judge will set a lump sum amount to be paid up front; this is called a purge. Then the balance will be paid in installments.. My recommendation? If you have the ability to pay, stay out of jail. It’s not a nice place. If you need a modification, seek legal advice.

New Laws in Florida Divorce Child Custody and Alimony.

Over the past couple of years, new laws governing child visitation (now called “time share”) and alimony, have been put in place. Basically, the law is written to try and better provide for both parents to be involved with their children after divorce.

New rules in alimony are an attempt to give judges better guidelines when it is at issue in a Florida divorce. There are 3 basic types of support applicable short term(under 7 years), intermiediate term (under 17 years) and long term (over 17 years) marriages. Short term alimony is for two years only and not modifiable. Long term marriages are where permanent alimony may be available.

There are numerous issues regarding alimony and child support. You want an attorney who is familiar with those issues. Contact James S. Werter, LLC, in you are in the Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beaches area, St. Augustine or Palm Coast, if you are considering or undergoing a divorce. See my background .

Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Family Help

Recently, I represented a family in Ponte Vedra Beach regarding getting their adult daughter help with drug addiction. This case has been featured on The Dr. Phil Show over the past 7 years. What most people don’t know is that even if the person at risk is an adult, a family can attempt to force them into treatment for drug abuse or alcohol abuse through the court system. The procedure is called the Marchman Act ( Florida Statute 397).

If the drug addict or alcoholic is an immediate risk to himself or herself, and it can be shown to the judge, the judge can order that person to be evaluated and even possibly, ordered to in-residence treatment. However, it is a high level of proof which is required.

James S. Werter, Attorney at Law, has handled many of these types of cases as well as other family law issues, such as divorce and custody issues. If you live in the Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Palm Coast or Palatka areas, contact him at 904.827.0446, for a consultation or click here.

Temporary Alimony and Child Support

What most people don’t know is that a spouse in need of immediate support and help when first starting a divorce action in Florida, can have their lawyer ask the judge for temporary alimony based on the spouse’s need and the other’s ability to pay. It does not matter how long the marriage was at the time of filing for divorce. The purpose is to maintain the status quo of the marriage. 

Though the issue of child support is different from alimony, the ability to get immediate help from the court is the same. Judges are even more sensitive to the best interests of the minor child(ren).

If you live in the Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palm Coast or Daytona Beach area, contact James S. Werter, LLC by clicking here or calling 904.827.0446.

Child Support

In Florida, child support is the responsibility of both parents. How it is calculated is by the use and definition of each parent’s income and the application of a formula, child support guidelines worksheet and a chart as outlined in Florida Statute 61.30. The parent who has the child(ren) the majority of time will normally recieve payment from the other parent to supplement the amount of child support required to raise that child or certain number of children.

Calculating the amount of child support required is no easy task unless you are an accountant. Even then, the laws governing child support are further defined by earlier cases. An experienced family law attorney understands these issues.

If you live in the Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Augustine, Palm Coast or Daytona Beach area, contact James S. Werter, LLC by clicking here.

Florida Domestic Violence Injunctions

Unfortunately, domestic violence usually arises during times of high economic stress. Whatever the reason, it should never be tolerated. If you are a victim of violence, call your local police department immediately. If you are in fear of future violence, seek an injunction for protection under Florida Statute 741 .

If you are in fear of immediate violence, the court issues an emergency injunction keeping the offender away from you. The offender doesn’t even know it is coming until he/she is served .

The law office of James S. Werter, LLC, has handled domestic violence situations since 1990. Located in St. Augustine, covering Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palm Coast and Daytona Beach. Call the office for more information or help at 904.827.0446. Domestic violence should never be tolerated.

Florida Child Support and Alimony Modifications

In this downward economy, a former spouse who is obligated to pay child support and or alimony, may suffer a decrease of income or loss of a job through no fault of his or her own. As a result, he or she may not be able to make the payments of support that was previously ordered in his or her divorce case.

Under Florida Statute 61.30(b), there must be a 15% or $50 (whichever is geater) change in the amount of the child support obligation presently set and the amount that would be due under the guidelines in the new situation.

The same can be applied if you need an increase in child support because the paying former spouse is making more money.

Alimony payments do not have a set chart for calculations. It is the judge’s opinions after consideration of the evidence of change, need of the recieving former spouse and the ability to pay by the paying former spouse.

If you live in the Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine, or Palm Coast areas, and need to modify your support order, contact James S. Werter,LLC .

Child Support Histories and Arrearage

These days, all child support payments are supposed to go through the Florida Disbursement Office in Tallassee. It is an attempt to keep accurate records. Sometimes, the records are not accurate and can be off by thousands of dollars. If you pay child support thru Tallahassee and are behind, you are entitled to know an accurate number. If you feel that what the Department of Revenue or your ex-spouse parent are saying you owe and your good faith accounting is telling you are different, you should get an attorney to represent you and get a comprehensive audit.

If you have problems with child support or alimony, as a payor or payee, contact James S. Werter, LLC, representing from Daytona Beach to Jacksonville.

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