Right of First Refusal

The “Right of First Refusal” is a provision frequently written into custody orders and parenting plans. But what the heck is it? Basically it is a provision that states before a parent can use a third party babysitter or daycare, they must give the other parent the right to watch the children first. If that […]

What is Considered an Emergency in Florida for Temporary Custody

Going to court to resolve legal issues, especially in divorce and child custody cases, can take months or even years to get resolved. In most cases even getting a hearing in front of a judge can take several weeks to several months. However if the child is in imminent danger from a parent, the other […]

Back To School Tips for Parents Going Through a Divorce

It’s the dog days of summer – which, in Florida, means kids are returning to school. While most of the rest of the country waits until after Labor Day….we send our kids back in early August. With the return to school comes an array of problems for divorced parents and those going through a divorce. […]

Do Grandparents have visitation rights in Florida?

Until fairly recently, grandparents had no rights to visitation/timesharing with their grandchildren. Florida Courts have consistently held that it is a violation of the rights of the parents to give grandparents visitation rights. That changed slightly in 2015, when Governor Rick Scott signed a law giving grandparents visitation/timesharing rights under certain conditions. Specifically, in order […]

Calculating Child Support For Members of the Military

One of the issues that pops up quite regularly is how to determine a service member’s income for calculating child support. Not all of a Servicemember’s income is taxable income. However, that doesn’t mean it is not considered income for purposes of calculating child support in Florida. In Florida we first look at a service […]

Can Kids Testify in Florida Family and Divorce Cases?

One of the many questions that I get asked is whether or not kids can be brought to court as witnesses in a divorce or family law proceeding. Generally speaking the answer in most cases is probably not. One of the common misconceptions is that Florida allows a child to decide which parent they want […]

Surviving Thanksgiving During a Divorce

As President George W. Bush said in his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 2008, Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather together and express gratitude for all that we have been given, the freedoms we enjoy, and the loved ones who enrich our lives. But for families torn apart by an ongoing divorce, giving […]

How to Protect Your Rights as an Unmarried Father

In Florida a man that has a child out of wedlock, has very little to no rights to the child. That means the Mother is entitled to primary residential care and custody unless a court orderstates otherwise. Fla. Stat. 744.301(1).  Because the Mother is sole custodian of a child born out of wedlock she can […]

Who Must Consent to an Adoption in Florida?

One question I get asked frequently is whose consent is required to adopt a child here in Florida. Well, Unless the consent is excused by the court, the proper written consent for adoption must be received from: a. The birth mother. b. The birth father, if:       1. The minor was conceived or born while […]

Can I Kick My Spouse Out of the House in Florida While the Divorce is Pending?

In today’s economic climate, especially in Orlando and Central Florida, it is not unusual to find parties going through a divorce still living in the same house. More often than not, this creates more tension for the parties. Most of the time, one spouse will want the other to move out of the house. So, […]

Does My Ex Have to Pay Alimony if I’m Living with Someone Else?

Maybe, maybe not….. it depends on what your Marital Settlement Agreement  (MSA) or Final Judgment says as well as the type of alimony you are receiving. Some MSA’s have a provision that states alimony terminates upon cohabitation with a member of the opposite sex. Some MSA’s even have non-modifiable provisions. A non-modifiable provision means that […]

Does a Foreign Born Child Adopted by a U.S. Citizen Automatically become an American Citizen?

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA) was passed to provide automatic U.S. citizenship to internationally adopted children of American parents.  This act basically states that if the adoptive parents attend the foreign court adoption hearing, then the child automatically becomes a citizen when they enter the U.S. If the adoptive parents do not  attend […]

How Do I Find a Child to Adopt?

There are a couple ways to find a child to adopt here in Florida. One way is to contact a private adoption agency. There are many reputable adoption agencies here in Orlando and throughout Central Florida.  Adopting through a private adoption agency lets you find and select a specific child, however it can be a […]

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Mediation

Whether going through a divorce, a paternity/ child custody case or simply a modification of your divorce or child custody case, in most instances you will be required to attend mediation before seeing a judge. As a family law/divorce attorney and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, I know that mediation can be very […]

When is the Best Time to File for Bankruptcy – Before, During or After the Divorce?

The answer depends on the circumstances of the parties and their level of cooperation with each other. Pre-Divorce Bankruptcy: A bankruptcy before the divorce will save costs and attorneys’ fees charged to the husband and wife for the bankruptcy. Typically the cost of a joint case is not much more than an individual case and […]

Nine Must-Dos Before Filing for Divorce

Divorce is a major transition that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Psychologically, it’s one of the most traumatic experiences in life.It is important to not only be emotionally ready for a divorce but also to be prepared for what to expect during the divorce process as well as your new life after the divorce is final. […]

Divorce and the Recession

It has long been held that finances are one of the top, if not the top, cause of divorce. However, the current economic recession may be debunking that theory as a myth after all. Since the beginning of recession in 2007, divorce filings in the United States are down over ten percent. Here in Central […]

Dealing with Divorce During the Holidays

Bells will be ringing this sad sad New Years Oh what a Christmas to have the blues My baby’s gone I have no friends To wish me greetings once again. (The Eagles “Please Come Home For Christmas”)   The holidays are perhaps one of the most stressful times of the year for many people. With […]

Parent Coordination in Florida

Parenting Coordination is a child-focused dispute resolution process in which a properly qualified, impartial parent coordinator works with a child’s parents or legal guardians to reduce conflict, implement their Parenting Plan, and protect healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships by educating parents, managing conflict, facilitating resolution of disputes in a timely manner and sometimes making decisions […]

In a Divorce, Who Gets the Pets?

In a Divorce, Who Gets the Pets?

Most pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. When a divorce occurs, many times the divorcing couple fights for custody of the family pets, even if they can agree on everything else. In 1993, a Jacksonville couple, Ronald and Kathryn Bennett, divorced and fought for custody of their dog, Roddy. In […]

Does Florida’s Injunction Forms Need to be Revised?

Does Florida’s Injunction Forms Need to be Revised?

 23 year old Alissa Blanton was gunned down and killed at her new job in Orlando by 61 year old Roger Troy before turning the gun on himself. Blanton had met Troy while she was a waitress at a Hooter’s restaurant in Brevard County. About a week before she died, Blanton filed a Petition for […]

Factors That Can Help Predict a Lasting Marriage

No one can guarantee the longevity of a marriage, however, you can play the odds. Researchers studying marriage success rates have found that everything from smoking habits to what state you live in can predict how likely it is that your marriage will last. Columnist Anneli Rufus compiled some factors to gauge whether your marriage […]

Divorce Without Breaking the Bank

One of the chief worries from couples facing an impending divorce is the cost of it. From the filing fees to mediation fees to attorneys fees, a divorce can wipe out all money a married couple may have. However, there are ways to keep the costs down when going through a divorce. Here are some […]

Winning the House: Coup or Curse

Property division is not always as simple as it seems. For example, often times one party is adament on keeping the family home. To achieve an equal split of the total marital assets this means that all the other assets (Retiremnet/401k beneifits, stocks, furniture, cars) are given to the other spouse. What may appear to […]

Is Parental Alienation a Mental Disorder?

The American Psychiatric Association has a hot potato on its hands as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle as the American Psychiatric Association updates its catalog of mental disorders — whether to include parental alienation, a disputed term conveying how a child’s relationship with one estranged parent can be poisoned by the other. There’s broad […]

What is Considered Income for Determing Child Support

When child custody or time-sharing is arranged in a divorce or paternity case in Florida, there is a requirement that a child support calculation be made. The parties cannot just pick a number that’s acceptable to them for child support. The amount must be calculated pursuant to the Florida Child Support Guidelines. As one might imagine this […]

Alimony Reform in Florida

The end of the 2012 Florida Legislative Session marked the death of alimony reform for the year. That is not to say that Florida alimony reform is dead forever. The Florida Bar News is reporting that Alan Frischer, head of the the Florida Alimony Reform Group, is preparing once again to lobby for elimination of […]

10 Ways To Tell If Your Marriage Is Over

Here are 10 ways to tell if your marriage is over: 1. Sex is consistently boring and mechanical. A satisfying sex life is vital to health and well being. A long-term frustration of this basic human need can signal the end of a marriage. 2. There are many problems and only a few solutions. The […]

6 Tips for Co-Parenting With a Jerk

Problem 1: Your ex is nasty and disrespectful to you How to Deal: Address it if it’s happening in front of the kids, telling your ex you would prefer to keep things civil in front of the children, and then let it go. You can’t control what he or she does or doesn’t do. All […]

Heading for a Divorce? First, Get Your Finances in Order

This article is from a three part series written by Mathew Scott. The entire article can be found at the links below. Getting a divorce can be traumatic. It’s an ordeal that can take a financial and emotional toll on everyone involved. Even when the intent is to have a “friendly”, uncontested divorce, both parties […]

Can You Terminate Parental Rights in Florida to Stop Child Support?

Sometimes having a father agree to a termination of all rights to his child in exchange for waiving child support seems like a good idea to everyone. Mothers sometimes think that this is a way to avoid having to deal with shared parenting and timesharing requirements. Fathers may think that haggling time-sharing just is not worth the […]

How Do You Stop A Divorce If You Change Your Mind?

There are two ways to stop a divorce proceeding…if you change your mind completely, or you are not sure you want to go forward to a final divorce and want to give it some time to determine that. For clients who are not sure and want some time after filing divorce papers to try to […]

More Women Paying Their Former Husbands Alimony and Child Support Than Ever Before

The Times They Are a-Changin’. It used to be a foregone conclusion that alimony and child support was paid by the former husband to the former wife. However, in reality, the number of former wives paying alimony and/or child support to their former husbands has been increasing in recent years. More than half, 56 percent, […]

Florida Supreme Court Requires Email Service Beginning September 1st, 2012

Florida Supreme Court Requires Email Service Beginning September 1st, 2012

The Florida Supreme Court last week confirms the adoption of the new Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516 (Service of Pleadings and Papers). That rule requires in part that all documents required or permitted to be served on another party must be served by e-mail. A lawyer upon appearing in a proceeding must now designate […]

What happens to that insurance coverage if the couple files for divorce?

With the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) last week, changes to health insurance policies will continue to sweep the country, many people in Central Florida have questions regarding who is eligible to stay on what policies. In most families, whichever spouse has better health insurance options from their employment often takes out […]

Is The Playing Field Level For Men In The Family Court System?

The father’s rights movement isn’t an anti-mom or anti-woman movement; it’s an anti-unfairness movement. It just so happens that moms have most of the power in the family court system in America. It’s true there has been progress in the family law system overcoming its gender bias, though rarely is the playing field even. In […]

Income Withholding Order Replaces the Income Deduction Order

For quite some time, Florida has permitted child support and alimony payments to be deducted directly from a person’s paycheck. This had been done through an income deduction order authorized by section 61.1301 of the Florida Statutes. Recently, the federal government mandated that OMB Form 0970-0154 (Income Withholding for Support Order) be used in place […]

Five of the Biggest Mistakes You Can Make During Your Divorce

1. Swing from the hip instead of doing some careful planning – There are so many things you can do to improve your chances of success in a divorce. Just as important, there are many ways to damage your chances. People make many decisions by random chance. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to do […]

Should State Legislatures Mandate a Presumption of Equal Time-sharing?

Henry Gornbein doesn’t think so. Gornbein is a Michigan attorney who has specialized in divorce and family law for over 40 years who feels that state legislatures should not mandate equal time-sharing for divorcing couples. He states that “divorce is not a situation – especially with children — where one size fits all. It is important for an attorney […]

Why Divorce and the Internet Doesn’t Mix

It should come as no surprise by now that content posted on Facebook, Twitter and other online forums is open for the whole world to read. Nor is it a secret that such public postings are discoverable in the court of law. For example, at the end of last month, a Manhattan judge ordered Twitter […]

In a Divorce or Broken Engagement, Who Keeps the Rings?

An issue that pops up quite frequently in divorces and broken engagements is who keeps the rings? In Florida, an engagement ring is considered “a gift made upon the implied condition that a marriage ensue”. When it comes to broken engagements, this means that since the marriage did not take place, the engagement ring must […]

Why Your Kids Should Be At The Forefront Of Your Split

There is no aspect of marriage, and for that matter divorce, that engenders more potential emotional or financial mayhem than children and the issues of child custody and time sharing. Yet, it is amazing how two people that created a child out of love can become so embittered and hateful to each other such that […]

Parenting Tips for Parents Going Through a Divorce

Micki McWade, a Collaborative Divorce Coach, Psychotherapist, Author and Parent Educator, recently published an article entitled Parenting Tips While Going Through Divorce. The article is very insightful and gives some great tips….here it is in its entirety: Parents don’t want to hurt their children. Few intend to do damage, but it unfortunately happens when parents are […]

Orange County’s Domestic Partner Registry Now in Effect

Orange County’s Domestic Partner Registry (DPR) went into effect this past Friday, July 6, 2012. Orange County joins the City of Orlando, whose Domestic Partner Registry went into effect last December and Volusia County, whose Domestic Partner Registry went into effect July 1. The registry gives new rights to gay and unmarried couples. The registry […]

Finding Your Spouse’s Hidden Assets

Florida law requires that each spouse going through a divorce file a signed and notarized Financial Affidavit which lists all of the assets and debts of the parties. They are also required to provide Mandatory Discovery to the other spouse. Mandatory Discovery is copies of paychecks, bank accounts, income tax returns, retirement account documents, business […]

I Don’t Want a Divorce – How to Deal with an Unwanted Divorce

The decision for divorce is not always mutual. Although Florida allows one party to make the decision to divorce even though it goes against the wishes of the other party, you may be able to convince your spouse to reconsider. If you are faced with an impending divorce, here are some steps you can take […]

Why should the taxpayers of Florida pay to support another’s child?

Sometimes having a father agree to a termination of all rights to his child in exchange for waiving child support seems like a good idea to everyone. Mothers sometimes think that this is a way to avoid having to deal with shared parenting and timesharing requirements. Fathers may think that haggling timesharing just is not […]