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Is Being Separated a Requirement for a Divorce in Florida?

No, being separated is not a requirement for a divorce in the state of Florida. In fact, in Florida, as in five other states, Texas, Mississippi, Deleware, Pennsylvania, and Georgia,legal separation is not recognized.A couple can choose to live apart, in other words, “separate” but the Florida courts do not have a way to make this legal. However, particularly if minor children (children under 18 years of age or special needs adults) are involved the courts, usually with the help of mediation, can adjudicate issues including child support, child custody, visitation, and division of property. When determining child support payments,...

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When to Switch to a New Attorney

You have done your research, met with some attorneys specializing in handling situations involving your concerns, chosen the attorney you felt the most comfortable with and had confidence in, and your particular case is well on its way to being decided. Without intending there to be problems with your attorney, several issues have surfaced and it may be time to switch to a new attorney.  Changing attorneys during a case can and does happen. Here are some of the reasons why: Lack of prompt and meaningful communication is probably the most frequent cause for concern. Of course, attorneys are busy...

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How a Parenting Coordinator Can Help

In states like Florida, unless there are special circumstances, there is no longer a primary custody parent for minor children between ages new-born to 18years but rather a sharing of parental responsibility. This is termed “parental time-sharing.”Basically,this means parents will share equally the care and nurturing of any minor children born or adopted to them as a couple. (The parents do not have to be or have been married.)Additionally, as part of the parenting plan required by the court, all major decision making must be shared in the areas of education, medial, discipline, and religion. While all the above plans for...

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Divorce Is Not an Ending but A Beginning

Divorce, or as it is now termed, dissolution of marriage, can for many seem the end of the road. This is particularly true in long-term marriages or in marriages where just one partner desires the divorce. And, if the reason for desiring a divorce is another woman or another man, the distress is usually multiplied many times over. Being rejected is probably one of the most hurtful of human experiences and one that puts a huge damper on a person’s ego. In our culture, divorce can be looked upon as “too bad,”and “it was likely your fault in the first...

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What Does It Mean to Advocate for Your Client?

To advocate, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, is “one who assists, defends, or pleads for another; one who renders legal advice and aid and pleads the cause of another before a court. A person learned in the law, and duly admitted to practice, which assists his clients with advice, and pleads for him in open court….” Taking this definition as fact, there are three main areas where an attorney will advocate for his or her client: assist, defend, and plead. The following gives further explanation as to how this is done: Assist:  Right from the first meeting between an attorney and...

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Ethics in Family Law

According to US Legal, Inc. the definition of legal ethics in law “is the minimum standards of appropriate conduct within the legal profession. It is the behavioral norms and morals which govern judges and lawyers. It involves duties that the members owe one another, their clients, and the courts.” These issues of ethics include communications, particularly between client and legal professional, due diligence or the level of care and activity a legal professional exerts on behalf of the client and his or her case, conflicts of interest between the client and legal professional, and treating clients with respect and genuine caring....

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How Does Alimony Affect Child Support?

Going through a dissolution of marriage (divorce) in Florida when there are minor children, that is children under the age of l8 or who cannot take care of themselves, requires the awarding of child support. To calculate which parent will be the receiver and which parent the giver, and how much monthly payment will be ordered, Florida Family Law has developed a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. Such factors as income, health insurance costs, mandatory expenses (example special dietary food requirement), and special expenses such as the cost of travel to and from work will be taken into account. You can...

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Part 3 – How the Mediation Program of the 19th Judicial Court in Florida Works

As was pointed out in the first and second part of this series, mediation is used frequently in Florida to try to resolve Family Court matters including dissolution of marriage, (divorce), child support and shared parenting, including developing a parenting plan, (child custody) and post judgment modification for alimony, child support and parenting plans. There are, as noted, many advantages to successfully arriving at a signed settlement, benefiting the court, the couple, and the children. But what should a person who is ordered to attend mediation expect?  In Florida’s l9th Judicial Circuit, here is how it works. When you receive...

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Part 2 – What Reasons make Mediation such a good idea for Family Legal Actions involving both Adults and Minor Children?

As pointed out in part 1 of this series, most jurisdictions in Florida require a mediation before a court date can be set for a dissolution of marriage (divorce), setting of child support and developing a parenting plan for parental timesharing for unmarried parents, and for post-judgment modification of alimony, child support, and parenting plans. While at first, this may seem unnecessary there are many good reasons Florida has found mediation an excellent precursor and even an alternative to a day in court.  For, if a couple can work out their differences themselves and come to an agreement in a...

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Mediation in Florida, a 3 part series

Part 1 - What is mediation and what part does the mediator play Mediation, according to the Legal Dictionary law.com, is “the attempt to settle a legal dispute through active participation of a third party (mediator) who works to find points of agreement and make those in conflict agree on a fair result….However, mediation does not always result in a settlement.” As this implies, a mediator is a person trained in conflict management and someone who helps others reach a settlement regarding their opposing opinions. In Florida, most jurisdictions require a mediation prior to setting a court date for a dissolution...

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