Choosing a divorce attorney can be a hard thing to do. Lots of questions to ask. Don’t be afraid to! You should first look at three things. First, what is the majority of family law is the attorney’s practice? It should be at least half. Second, how long has the attorney been doing it? The longer, the better. It may be more expensive. But remember, you get what you pay for. Third, what are the reviews and reputation of the attorney. That is telling. Google away. For more info about what divorce is about, see my free downloadable book at http://www.werterlaw.com/FL-Divorce-5.pdf.
Recently, a mother approached me about getting child support re-instated for her handicapped child (age 21), who has to live with her. The former husband was not helping with expenses; sad that he wouldn’t voluntarily. If the child is afflicted prior to the final judgment of divorce, make sure it is addressed. In this situation, you may be entitled to continued child support after the minor child turns 18. If the child becomes disabled post-divorce but is still under 18, go back for a modification. If all is not in place when the child becomes an emancipated person, you have lost your opportunity for court involvement. It sad that sometimes you have parents who don’t care to help in these situations.
Under Florida Family Law Rules, there is a long list of documents that both parties in a dissolution of marriage cause, must provide to the other. It is automatic. An attorney does not need to file any other demands on the other party unless he suspects that there is more to be found. It happens often so most attorneys file what is called a “Request to Produce” which has an expanded list of documents that one has to provide unless there is a real and reasonable objection to it. It’s up to the person’s lawyer, who gets the request, to see if the sending attorney is overreaching or the demands are inappropriate. Discovery/disclosure in divorce can be quite burdensome and confusing. The objective, where’s the marital assets? For child support or alimony, where’s the income?
A RARE ANIMAL INDEED! You rarely see a true 50/0 schedule. A judge weighs what is in the best interests of the minor child. A 50/50 timeshare schedule may or may not set up an unstable environment for the child/children. So, what’s important to you? What you want or what is best for the kids? Have an honest and open discussion with your attorney about this.
Basically and unfortunately, grandparents do not have timeshare rights to their grandchild in Florida. Not in divorce or otherwise. HOWEVER, if one parent passes, is in a vegetative state, is missing or in jail, and the question of problems that are injurious to the welfare the minor child exists, a grandparent can petition the court for such rights or even custody, if required. See Florida Statute 752 and consult with a family attorney.
As a general matter, the filings of divorce lessen during the holidays. As it should for the sake of the minor children. Put your issues aside and concentrate on making the season enjoyable for the little ones. Don’t put them in the middle, EVER! Divorce, in itself is hard enough on children, common as it may be. A party who makes it worse on the children does not have me as an attorney. Do your best to enjoy the holidays and to make sure the children do. Happy Season!
How assets are divided may start off as simple but can become complex. The judge has to determine what is or is not a marital asset. Basically, if it was yours before the marriage and not comingled afterwards, it is still yours. Of course, there are many exceptions or alterations to the rule. For instance, if you have a savings/retirement account before the marriage but you contribute income to that investment, then that portion is considered a marital asset which is subject to a 50/50 division because income, if accumulated, is a marital asset. With the calculation of associated interest, it’s something for the accountants to figure out. The basic, principles are the same for debts. And it doesn’t matter who’s name is on that property or debt. An experienced family law attorney knows how to identify what is what when it comes to these assets. Worth the cost of a consultation.
You must make best efforts to keep your child support current. If you can’t for a legitimate reason and the Florida Dept. of Revenue has your case, go and discuss it with them. If they are about to suspend your driver’s license, you can have a court judge review the situation by filing a petition at the courthouse. If you need your license to work, no sense it being suspended and you, fired from a job that gives you some ability to pay support.
Many perspective clients come to me regarding the timeshare plan and or child support after divorce. Keep this in mind. There must be a substantial, unanticipated and material change since the last order of timeshare (visitation). Just because the minority timeshare parent feels that since the child is older, the child needs to spend more time with him/her for adult bonding does not work. A child may give input when he/she is much older (16 or 17 usually) with the judge’s permission to testify, the judge has the final say-so. What may reasons are maybe the child has been suffering academically and emotionally more than the usual since the divorce or the former spouse has moved in with a violent person, to name a couple of reasons. Another may be if the legal residence (primary) former spouse continuously interferes with the other’s timeshare rights. Bottom line, the change must be in the best interests of the minor child.
You undergo financial distress and can’t make your payments for child support or alimony. Your Ex says, “It’s OK. You don’t have to pay me.” Yeh, right ! Then the Ex gets mad and filed a motion for contempt for all the payments you missed or may have paid in a manner not directed in the support order. There may be situations where you can get relief or credit. Your better bet? If you suffer a substantial change in income, see a lawyer immediately to file for a modification.