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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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All about Guardian Ad Litem

Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) comes from Latin and, is defined by the online Legal Dictionary as “a unique type of guardian in a relationship that has been created by a court order only for the duration of a legal action. Courts appoint these special representatives for infants, minors, and mentally incompetent persons, all of whom generally need help protecting their rights in court.” Each state has their own guidelines for using GAL. This blog will use Florida as its example and will focus on the Family Law courts use of GAL for issues such as parental timesharing, developing parenting plans,...

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When is 50/50 Equal Timesharing Proper and When Is it not Proper?

As each state has its own laws regarding the care and nurturing of minor children following a separation or divorce of their biological or adoptive parents, this blog will focus on the state of Florida. For many years Florida, as in most states, awarded the custody of minor children to one or the other parent. Children lived with the parent having primary custody and the parent given secondary custody would receive visitation rights which may or may not have included overnights with their child. Decision making usually rested with the parent holding primary custody which often left out the other...

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2019 Alimony and Tax Laws

For 75 years tax laws surrounding alimony have stayed the same. This has meant the person receiving alimony would pay taxes on the amount and the person giving alimony could take the amount of alimony as a tax deduction. While this may not seem significant, for those in high-income tax brackets an increase or decrease in taxable income can change the percentage rate on their taxes by putting them in a higher or lower tax bracket. Additionally, the person receiving alimony would not be able to keep the entire amount as whatever percentage of taxes paid would be taken out...

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Managing Client Expectations

All clients, no matter the business or professional arrangements have expectations as to how they expect the situation to proceed and what they perceive the final outcome to be. This is certainly true when it comes to working with an attorney. Most clients have preconceived ideas as to how their case should proceed and what they hope for as solutions in the final outcome of their legal journey with their attorney. Of course, the client is not a legal professional and so often doesn’t really understand the procedures and how so many factors can affect the final outcomes. So, it...

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