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What Exactly Is The Best Interest of The Child Standard Defined and Meaning

For much of history, and indeed until the last forty or so years, the fate of a minor child, 18 being the age of emancipation, was totally in the hands of the parents or legal guardian. Minor children were “seen but not heard” and even in a courtroom setting decisions were made for them as to what was most convenient and in the best interests of the caregiving adults. Not so anymore. In fact, in many states, Florida being one of these, the standard for legal decisions involving minor children is “The Best Interest of the Child”. How is this...

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Imputation of income

One of the most important and most difficult aspects of determining the final outcome of a dissolution of marriage (divorce) in the State of Florida is deciding on the income allotted to each spouse. This amount, will of course, determine how much spousal support (alimony) will be paid/received and, if minor children are involved, how much child support will be paid/received. Both parties are subject to the scrutiny of the legal guidelines for determining income found in Florida Family Law Statute 61.30 and include imputed income when either party is self-employed as well as imputed income when either party can...

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What is Voluntary Underemployment?

In plain English, voluntary underemployment is when an individual chooses to not work for pay or to work at a job that does not reflect that person’s skills, abilities, or education. But why would this make a difference in a Family Law case involving child support or alimony? As long as a person is managing on the income available to them, what difference does it make? In the state of Florida, for example, it does make a difference, which is spelled out in Florida Statute 61 covering dissolution of marriage (divorce), child support, and parental timesharing (custody). By looking at...

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Enforcing a Marital Settlement Agreement

A Marital Settlement Agreement, as defined by Nolos Plain English Law Dictionary is “The document that sets out the terms of a divorce settlement between two spouses. The marital settlement agreement (MSA) is usually incorporated into the final judgment so that it has the force of a court order.” Areas covered in a MSA include division of marital property both real and personal, marital debt, alimony (spousal support), parental timesharing, and child support. And, depending on an individual case, other concerns such as relocation parameters, attorney fees, and/or a monetary settlement other than alimony may be a part of the...

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All About a Self Employed Spouse and How to Impute Income

In almost all instances, when a couple is going through a disillusion of marriage (divorce) probably the most contested and important item is the financial outcomes which will largely determine the future of each spouse. While it is true parental timesharing (custody), when there are minor children involved, probably ranks the highest concern, without adequate financial considerations both in child support and alimony, the ability to care adequately for a minor child can be severely hampered. Income and expenses of both parties are considered when determining how monies should be adjudicated. And, while this sounds simple to do, in reality...

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Why Minor Children Should Not Testify Against Their Parents – A personal Opinion

The opinion presented in this blog is representative of Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo who practices in West Palm Beach, Florida. Questions were asked to Dr. Julia Meldau, Ed. D, majoring in Child and Youth Studies, who has worked professionally with young children for many years both as teacher and school administrator. There were numerous times when minor children in her professional care were a part of a court litigation such as a custody dispute, divorce contention, and/or a child abuse or criminal allegation against their parent(s). While it would seem the best way to obtain first hand information regarding...

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What is a Forensic Accountant’s Role in a Divorce?

Most frequently a forensic accountant’s role in a divorce (now termed dissolution of marriage) is in the courtroom as an expert witness. As an expert witness the forensic account is allowed to testify in his/her area of expertise even though never having, been witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit. The areas of expertise of a forensic accountant include accounting, auditing, and investigative skills involving monetary considerations and concerns. And, when it comes to a divorce, there are a number of monetary considerations and concerns where the expertise of a forensic account can often prove or disprove an issue...

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The Use of Expert Witnesses at Trial (Forensic Accountants and Psychologists)

While, in most instances, someone who is to be a witness at a trial must have, by the use of one or more of their five senses, experienced some aspect of the case they will be testifying for. There are however exceptions and these people are called “expert witnesses”. An expert witness is defined as” a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion without having been witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case”. Further, Wikipedia goes on to say, “An expert witness in England, Wales, and the...

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Knowing When to Settle and When Not to Settle

Settling, in the legal sense, refers to deciding that the outcomes desired to culminate a case, such as a divorce, have reached the place where no more can or should be done to litigate the issues under consideration. At this point, be it at mediation or in an attorney’s office, a settlement agreement will be executed then presented to the judge for scrutiny at a final hearing so that the Judge can turn the parties agreement into an order of the Court. It is highly unlikely either party will be 100% happy with the outcome but a settlement indicates both parties were willing to compromise and...

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Setting Aside Prenuptial Agreements in Florida

Prenuptial agreements made in the state of Florida are, for the most part, accepted by the court in the event of a legal separation or divorce. There are certain instances, however, when a judge will set aside a prenuptial agreement, which he/she is allowed to do under the Florida Family Law statutes. If you are looking to create a prenuptial agreement, that is an agreement made before you marry, deciding, if a divorce happens, specific outcomes for such issues as assets, debts, alimony, retirement funds, and inheritance (especially in regards to children from prior marriages) you need to be very...

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