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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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In Florida, Do I Have to Pay Child Support With 50/50/Equal Time Sharing?

Essentially, 50/50 equal time sharing and paying child support have little to do with each other except that both involve a couple being the legal parents, either by birth or adoption, of a minor child. Taking a closer look at both 50/50 equal time sharing and paying child support the following is important to note: Equal time sharing: In Florida, except in special cases involving for example drugs or child abuse or domestic violence conviction, the term “primary custody” is no longer used as parents are considered partner in raising their minor children following a divorce, or if never married, a separation....

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What is a Subpoena and How is it Used?

The word “subpoena” comes from “suppena”, Middle English and “sub poena”, Latin, both meaning “under penalty” It is interesting to note that even though the word has English roots, in England the term subpoena is no longer used but the phrase “written summons” is used instead. Actually, “written summons” is a good, brief description as the definition, according to Wikipedia, is “...

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Going to Trial and Being Prepared

Note: This blog will assume you are being represented by an attorney as self-representation involves a great deal more preparation and most of it of a different sort. It is time to go to court. Usually, there has been a substantial period of time prior to this event in which both you and your attorney have spent many hours researching the appropriate laws, documenting proof, and preparing strategies for taking your case before a judge. While an appeal of a final judgment is often allowed, it is expensive and time-consuming so it is best to plan to make your one day...

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Choosing the Right Mediator

In Florida, most jurisdictions handling contested divorce (dissolution of marriage) require the case to go to mediation before it can be assigned a court hearing date to be heard by a judge. As mediation allows each party, with the help of their attorney, to hopefully be willing to compromise and work out a marital settlement agreement satisfactory to each, it is most important to select a mediator who will work diligently to try to have this happen. It is highly unlikely either party will get all the results they would like, but one of the advantages of a mediation is...

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