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FAQ’s

Questions About Our Services

We can help you in a variety of ways. Here’s a comprehensive list of what we do:

Divorce Proceedings (Petitions for Dissolution of Marriage)

  • Divorce with Division of Property, Businesses
  • Divorce with Children, Alimony, and Child Support
  • Divorce with Children, No Alimony, and Child Support
  • Divorce with No Children and No Property
  • Divorce with No Children and with Property
  • Divorce with Time-sharing Issues
  • Divorce with No Time-sharing Issues
  • Divorce with Supervised Visitation
  • Divorce with Ultimate Parental
  • Divorce with Sole Parental Responsibility
  • Divorce with Restricted Time-sharing
  • Divorce with Abuse Allegations
  • Divorce with Out of State Parents
  • Divorce with Division of S-Corporations; C-Corporations and/or closely held corporations
  • Divorce for Law Enforcement Officers
  • Divorce for Firefighters
  • Defense and Enforcement of Prenuptial and Post Nuptial Agreements

Post Judgment Modifications

  • Modification of Alimony
  • Modification of Timesharing (Visitation)
  • Modification of Parenting Plans
  • Modification of Parental Responsibility

Post Judgment Enforcement

  • Enforcement of Visitation Schedules
  • Enforcement of Alimony
  • Enforcement of Equitable Distribution
  • Enforcement of Parenting Plans
  • Enforcement of Child Support
  • Enforcement of Parental Responsibility (Shared, Sole and Ultimate)

Agreements

  • Review, Revisions and Drafting of Prenuptial Agreements
  • Marital Settlement Agreements Drafting and Review
  • Agreed Parenting Plans
  • Drafting, Review and Revision of Post Nuptial Agreements
  • Review, Revisions and Drafting of Co-Habitation Agreements
  • Paternity Settlement Agreements

Paternity Actions

  • Establishment of Paternity for Father’s (Custody, Timesharing and Child Support)
  • Establishment of Paternity for Mother’s (Custody, Timesharing and Child Support)
  • Disestablishment of Paternity

Step Parent Adoptions
Guardian ad Litem
Highly Contested Custody Cases
Highly Contested Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Liabilities
Relocation Actions

  • Defense and Prevention of Relocation of a Parenting and/or Child
  • Relocation Cases within the United States and Foreign Countries.

Domestic Violence

  • Defense of Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Defense of Respondents in Domestic Violence Actions
  • Dismissals and Modifications of Injunctions for Protection
  • Representation in Injunctions for Protections Against Domestic, Repeat and Dating Violence
  • Representation in Injunction for Protection Against Stalking

If you would like to discuss how we can help you with your case, please call (561) 948-5685 or email the firm at [email protected] .

Our initial intake will serve as a strategic planning session between yourself and our attorneys. During that time, we will discuss and identify the issues in your matter and determine the best approach for your case. The attorneys will consider your unique scenario in light of the most recent case law and statute and advise on possible outcomes for your situation.

Questions About the Divorce Process

“Discovery” is a process used by divorce attorneys to gather information about either party in the divorce. This can be a lengthy process, but if done correctly, prepares your case well and establishes the groundwork for a reasonable settlement.

There are 5 common aspects to the discovery process. During your case, you may or may not experience and participate in one or all of them.

Mandatory Disclosure: At the beginning of almost all family law cases involving support and/or equitable distribution, parties are automatically required to disclose to each other certain financial information and documentation. Florida Rules of Family Law Procedure 12.285 list numerous documents, which will be required to be provided to the other party (but not filed with the court). In addition, you will be required to prepare, file and provide a Family Law Financial Affidavit, which must be in compliance with the rules of procedure and will demonstrate your Gross and Net Income, Identify your Expenses and Assets and Liabilities (both marital and non-marital). At the Reid Law Group, we incorporate the latest technology and software to assure that the process surrounding Mandatory Disclosure and Financial Affidavits is not only accurate but also efficiently executed.

Interrogatories: This is a list of written questions that you’ll send to the other party in the case and they are obligated to respond within 30 days. In Florida, typically you’re allowed to ask a total of 30 questions. Sometimes the court may permit more questions if you present a valid reason for them. Each interrogatory must be answered fully and separately in written form and under oath. Of course, your spouse has the option to object to a given question if they believe the question doesn’t relate to the case. At which point, your attorney may work with the court to get the answer. Use these questions for items that cannot be obtained by other means. Keep them simple and straightforward. Expect to receive a list of interrogatories from your spouse’s attorney, you’ll need to answer or object to each one yourself.

Admissions of Fact: This is a list of facts that you’ll direct to your opposing party or to another person that may have pertinent information regarding the case. They will be asked to either admit to or deny each fact. If anyone fails to respond to these facts, it will be considered the same as an admission of truth.

Request for Production: This is used to obtain documents such as bank statements, statements of income, or any other such documents that you think will aid your case.

Depositions: This is where your attorney will take sworn testimony from your spouse and any other witnesses involved. Anything said during these interviews will be transcribed by a court reporter and can be used in court, if needed.

Depositions are sworn testimonies that your attorney will obtain, if needed, for the benefit of your case. The other party in the case may also collect depositions. These are recorded, and anything said during the recording can be used in court.

This is where you notify the other party in the case that in 10 days you are going to subpoena documents from someone else.

This is where you notify your ex-spouse or their attorney in 10 days you are going to subpoena documents from someone else.

Interrogatories are part of the discovery process leading up to a divorce. Both parties submit written questions (typically no more than a total of 30) that must each be answered completely and truthfully, under penalty of perjury, within 30 days. Either party may object to an interrogatory if they feel the question is unnecessarily difficult, unclear, or doesn’t apply to the case.

Mediation is an event in your case where both parties, their attorneys and a mediator will come together to attempt to resolve all or some of the issues in your case. In initial proceedings, mediation is often required prior to a hearing before a judge or magistrate. During most family law mediations, the parties will settle into separate conference rooms or offices with their respective attorneys and the mediator will go back and forth between the parties while listening and discussing settlement options and issues within the case. The benefits of mediation include inexpensive resolution to cases and a chance to identify previously undisclosed issues and legal positions. Mediation also offers clients perspective in that the mediator and their attorneys will facilitate dialogue usually aimed at the best possible result for the entire family.

As a business owner, or the spouse of a business owner, it is probable that a valuation of your business will be necessary during the divorce process. Valuation of a business requires a set of procedures and processes used to estimate the value of a particular owner’s interest in their business. Usually, the business or businesses are the most valuable and complicated marital asset. Ultimately, it is imperative that the business is fairly valued so that the appropriate equitable distribution can be conducted.

While it is not always necessary, the hiring of a forensic account can be an incredibly cost-effective decision in any high and moderate asset divorces. A forensic accountant can help your case in several ways, including:

  • Examining personal and business financial records with a strategic focus on their ultimate bearing in the equitable distribution of your marital assets and liabilities.
  • Identifying the consequences of certain financial decisions, such as alimony and the transfer of assets.
  • Providing direct assistance your legal team in evaluating potential outcomes of the division of marital assets and liabilities.
  • Assisting your legal team in discovering and identifying your spouse’s “true” financial situation. Assist your legal team to develop a likely representation of your spouse’s “true” financial situation.
  • Help with the valuation of assets and debts (ex. for a business valuation).
  • Testify in court on your behalf.

Forensic CPAs are trained in financial document analysis, accounting principles and auditing techniques. You’ll want to hire a forensic CPA for any of the following scenarios:

  • The marital estate contains property and businesses.
  • You or your spouse earns income, which varies based on market forces and/or commissions and bonuses.
  • You have a high probability of paying or receiving alimony.
  • Your spouse’s spending or earnings need to be evaluated and identified in order to determine an accurate alimony award
  • You believe your spouse is hiding assets.
  • You have no other way, other than a forensic audit, to get an accurate financial picture.
  • You need someone to testify in court regarding the financial aspects of your case.

The typical steps in divorce are as follows:

Pre-Suit

  1. You (or your spouse) retains an attorney to file an action for divorce.
  2. Your attorney (or your spouse’s attorney) files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the accompanying documentation necessary to begin a divorce action.

Divorce Proceedings

  1. You then enter the process of discovery where both sides gather evidence to support their cases. Florida has a “mandatory disclosure” requirement where both parties submit a financial disclosure to their spouse and file it with the petition for divorce.
  2. If both parties are willing, they and their attorneys can enter into mediation where they all work towards a fair settlement that addresses all aspects of the divorce.
  3. In such a case, the date of dissolution of marriage could occur in 5-6 months from the start.

If Contested

  1. However, if mediation is not successful, the case moves to court.
  2. At any time during this process, your attorney may decide you need to obtain depositions, serve subpoenas, file motions, etc.
  3. In contested cases, there could be a pre-trial hearing around 6-10 months from starting divorce proceedings. In this hearing, the judge gets a feel for the contested aspects of the divorce, how many witnesses will be involved, any disclosure issues, and if there are other procedural problems needing to be solved. The judge will decide at this point whether the couple needs to return to mediation, or if the case merits a full court hearing. If that’s the case, the judge will set a date for the final hearing.
  4. During the final hearing, your attorney will work to convince the court to decide in your favor on the contested items of the divorce. Both parties, any evidence, and witnesses must be present. It could take as long as 11-20 months to obtain a final judgment, from start to finish.

It is in the best interest of all parties (both spouses and children) that a divorce proceeds as smoothly as possible. That’s why we have fine-tuned our services to try and bypass the lengthy contested court cases whenever possible. Read more on Our Process.

The final judgment is the document that a judge signs at the end of the court proceedings. It contains the court order for the dissolution of marriage and sets out the terms of the divorce. The marriage terminates on the date the judge signs the judgment. But, the divorce isn’t final until the court clerk enters the judgment into court record.

It is the document used to require specific documents to be submitted and disclosed by someone other than your spouse. It is also used to notify the other side of the subpoena.

When the court deems it necessary to evaluate the mental health of either parent and/or children, a social investigation may be ordered. It is usually conducted by a mental health professional that has had no prior relationship with either parents or kids. They will look at both parents and their abilities to care for the children, lifestyles, and meet the children’s needs. Then the Social Investigator will compose a report of their findings and submit it to the court with their recommendations on custody and timesharing plans

A guardian ad litem is similar to a Social Investigator (see above). Instead of being a mental health professional, the guadian ad litem is a licensed attorney appointed by the judge to investigate solutions that are in the best interest of the children.

A psychological evaluation may be requested by a spouse or by the court in extreme cases. It is conducted by a forensic psychologist. The psychologist will meet with both parents and children, separately and possibly together as a family. They create a report that describes how each person in the family interacts with each other and whether or not the children are hesitant about living with either parent. This report may be used by the judge when ruling.

The Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC) is a way to schedule non-evidentiary motions with the court. During UMC Hearings, no evidence is permitted to be presented and it is typically a time in which the attorneys make legal argument in less than 5 minutes per issue. Only attorneys are permitted to schedule hearings on the uniform motion calendar. Typical Motion Hearings on UMC are Motions to Compel, Uncontested Final Hearings for Dissolution of Marriage

A Marital Settlement Agreement is a contract used in uncontested divorces that divides property, assets and debts of a marriage. It spells out the rights of both parties and settles issues of child custody and spousal alimony.

Legal separation is not currently recognized in the state of Florida. There are, however, ways to bypass this by working with your attorney to take advantage of several different state laws. In this way, you can separate without divorce and still cover things like child support, draft a marital separation agreement, alimony, and more.

It is the document the court requires from both parties to be recorded with the divorce petition. It covers your entire financial situation from assets, to debt and other obligations, to insurance, and all income. You’ll need to certify that it is complete and accurate, and have it notarized.

Questions Regarding the Cost of Divorce

It’s not unreasonable to expect the cost of ending your marriage to be similar to the cost of your wedding – not including such settlement terms as alimony and child support. A dissolution of marriage covers a number of different fees: attorney’s fees, court costs, evaluation fees (if needed), mediation costs, refinancing costs, etc.

Also, take note that a number of different variables play into how much your divorce will cost in the end. For instance, simply fielding emails on your behalf can add up. Other variables to pay attention to, are:

  • Phone calls and associated time
  • Travel
  • Attorney changes
  • Reassurance
  • Attorney fees
  • Opposing counsel
  • Unexpected events with the children
  • Real estate deeds and transfers
  • MSA negotiations
  • Disorganized finances
  • CPA involvement
  • Client behavior
  • Discovery resistance

Basically, the cost of your divorce will be influenced by how much of your attorney’s time you use, how much the opposing side impacts on your attorney’s time, how complicated your situation is, and how much time it takes to reach a settlement.

If both parties are interested in an efficient divorce, costs will be more reasonable than otherwise. Doing the following can help:

  • Understand and value the necessary costs towards an equitable divorce. It’s worth hiring a quality attorney that can handle unforeseen issues, as well as the routine ones. Also, there’s no getting around the basic filing costs for a dissolution of marriage.
  • Act fast. In every stage of the process, respond as fast and timely as you can.
  • Avoid war and play nice. Come quickly to an agreement with your spouse on how to dissolve your marriage. Don’t try to punish the other party. Stop fighting. Be fair.
  • Before getting married, sign a prenup. This can be a sensitive topic to address when you’re in the blush of getting married. However, prenuptial agreements establish mutually agreed upon terms and simplify the divorce process, should the marriage dissolve. It’s not very romantic; it is sensible.
  • Don’t try to use your attorney as a psychologist. Your attorney’s job is to process the legalities of your divorce for your benefit and to advise you on how best to do so. A good one is empathetic to your emotional strain and stress but shouldn’t need to spend a lot of time hand-holding.
  • Come in with your finances in order. The more you are prepared, the less time your attorney spends on it.
  • Don’t rely on a judge. Often, when cases go to court, neither party is entirely happy with the result. You’re both far better off negotiating with each other to find a fair settlement. Not to mention, a highly contested divorce can become incredibly expensive.

Contact us to create a strategic plan on how to get your marriage dissolved as quickly and cleanly as possible.

A motion for temporary needs and relief normally is not filed until after mediation fails and the case is going to court. This is intended to handle contested items on a temporary basis until the final judgment. It covers such items as:

  • Timesharing details
  • Child support
  • Temporary alimony
  • Attorneys fees and costs, in the case where resources are uneven

When you hire a lawyer to see you through a divorce, you’ll sign a retainer agreement. This agreement clearly identifies the parties involved, what is expected of each party, how often and in what amounts you’ll be billed, and what exactly you’ll be billed for. When looking over your retainer agreement, make sure it is detailed and specific.

We customize our services to fit the needs of each client. Plus, as there are so many variables that can play into the cost of a divorce, we have found it simpler to discuss our fees on a case-by-case basis, laying out exactly what our client can expect and what our compensation will likely be.

Questions About Divorces that Involve Children

A parenting plan outlines the details of how you and your ex will handle parenting obligations and continue your individual relationships with your children after the divorce. It is a mandatory aspect in a divorce involving children and becomes a court order once both of you and a judge sign off on it and it is filed with the court. It covers how parental responsibility will be divided, timesharing logistics for each parent, specifics about who’ll provide for health care, school and extracurricular activities. It even goes into details about how each parent will communicate with and about the child. The more detailed the plan, the better it is as both you and your ex will know what your parenting roles are.

Shared parental rights are the default in Florida divorce cases. Both parents continue to share decision making rights for their child(ren). It can be set up where you each have an equal say in everything that affects your child, or you can divide up decision-making authority by specific area.

Sole parental rights are only granted if it is in the best interest of the child(ren). In these cases, one parent has the authority to make any and all child-rearing decisions without the need to consult with the other parent.

Ultimate parental rights mean that you both should still consult with each other when making large decisions that affect your children. However, one of you is granted the final say if you cannot come to an agreement.

Read more

Florida refers to visitation and physical custody of the children as “timesharing”. The court works to preserve and protect both parents’ relationships with each of their children as much as possible. The court also desires to disrupt the lifestyle of the child(ren) as little as possible, so factors that will influence the stability of their living conditions and schooling are considered. There are roughly 19 factors that the court looks at to determine a parenting schedule. Read more…

You won’t be able to completely cut off your ex from contact with your child(ren). However, if there’s a valid reason, the court may grant you certain parental rights and may dictate visitation and timesharing plans designed to protect your child(ren).

You may be able to limit your ex’s decision-making power in certain aspects, providing you and your attorney present a good case. You may be able to limit the amount of time your children spend with you ex, but—again—there must be a valid documented reason. Often these limitations will be granted until your ex can meet certain qualifications (such as, completing anger management, proving over time they have the capability to see to the child’s best interest, etc.)

Give us a call (561) 948-5685 or fill out this form to connect with a licensed attorney about your specific case.

A paternity case is brought when the parentage of a child is uncertain and the welfare of the child needs securing. There are certain legal ramifications of paternity:

  • A man who is legally found to be a child’s father is held accountable for his share of support and responsibility.
  • For the mother, paternity may secure financial support from the father. The flip side of this is that she now may need to share parental rights (custody) and timesharing (visitation).
  • For the child, they secure the right as a minor to financial support, shelter and other aid, the right to inherit, the right to know paternal health risks, and other rights associated to loss if the father dies.

It depends on a few variables. In the absence of safety concerns, the court will mandate that each parent gets timesharing (overnight) privileges and that neither spouse can interfere with the relationships their children have with the other parent.

In cases that involve young infants and it would not be suitable for them to sleep elsewhere, you may need to negotiate unique timesharing schedules until the child is older.

In cases that involve older children or teenagers that fight spending time overnight at their other parent’s house, you must do everything you can to encourage those visits. Try to discover what the deeper issue might be, other than “I don’t want to”, to see if your parenting schedule needs to be legally modified.

If there are concerns over the children’ safety, such as for abuse or addiction, that’s another story and you should consult with your attorney  on how best to handle timesharing.

By and large, though, in most cases Florida courts prefer that each parent gets to spend equal time with their children in a 50/50 split. There is some wiggle room for how that timesharing plan looks, but most involve overnights. If you already have a parenting plan that orders overnights, do your best to make that happen or you may find yourself in contempt.

This is a challenging conversation. Your children may already suspect that divorce is on the horizon, but it is still going to be hard. There are a few things you can do to limit the sting of the announcement:

  • Sit down with the children together and be united in talking points and in stressing your mutual love for the children. Do not allow blame or bickering enter into this discussion, it’s not the time or place.
  • Address the entire family at first, then follow up with each individual child to get a feel for their emotional well being.
  • Plan out what you’ll say, don’t improvise. Develop key points you feel your children should know about what’s happening and how it will affect them. Be age appropriate and sensitive to their relationships with the other parent about why the divorce is happening.
  • Expect a mixed-bag of reactions over time. Be there and allow your children to roll through their emotions.
  • Be open to questions. This initial announcement is just the beginning. During the discussion, stress that when the children have questions, they are free to come to either parent for answers. Expect more and more discussions about the divorce as the children process the change. Be honest and avoid involving the children in your disagreements with your ex.

The default timesharing plan for most cases is 50/50. This can be a logistical nightmare. It is more likely and easier to manage if both parents live relatively close to each other. You have a better chance of establishing a 50/50 parenting split in mediation than in court.

The court looks at a number of factors when timesharing is contested and may not view a 50/50 split as in the best interest of the child. You can improve your chances by involving yourself more in your child’s life. Know their doctors, teachers, friends, coaches, etc. If you haven’t had much contact with them, introduce yourself (a simple email works) to let them know there’s a slight change in your family’s structure and that you wish to be involved in your children’s activities. Get involved early and stay involved.

If you’re requesting a 50/50 split, are you able to arrange your schedule to accommodate parenting responsibilities during your time? Will you need childcare? What is your plan if you do? Or, will you be able to arrange your work around school and extracurricular activities? Does your job require travel? How will you handle that and parenting? Are you expected to be on-call for emergencies? Do you have reliable support that is not your ex to back you up in cases where you can’t be with your kids?

Having well-designed contingency plans in place will also greatly improve your chances for a 50/50 split.

There are a number of different visitation schedule options. For instance, if you’re doing a 50/50 timesharing split, you could do the following:

  • Alternating weeks, where the child(ren) spend one week with each parent.
  • 2 weeks schedule, where the child(ren) spend two weeks with a parent before going to the other parent.
  • The 3-4-4-3 schedule, where the child(ren) spend 3 days with one parent, 4 days with the other, then 4 days with the first, and 3 days with the second.
  • The 2-2-5-5 schedule, where the children spend 2 days with each parent, then 5 days with each parent.
  • The 2-2-3 schedule, where the children spend 2 days with each parent, then 3 days with one and switch it around the following week.
  • You can also alternate every 2 days.

You can customize your own visitation schedules to meet your unique needs. These are just a few options. You may be able to examine a few options here and, of course, your attorney can help you design the best schedule for your situation.

In addition, you may feel that a 50/50 split isn’t the best option for your family. Other options are: a 60/40 split, a 70/30 split, and an 80/20 split. Each of these schedules can be customized to fit parental schedules and children’s needs.

Questions About Alimony and Child Support

Follow these steps to calculate child support:

  • How many children are involved?
  • Gather income details for both parents.
  • Gather expenses for both parents.
  • Gather the number of overnights each parent has a month.
  • Then, gather information on the child’s healthcare and associated costs.
  • Finally, put together a list of the child’s standard needs and associated costs.
  • Get the minimum allowed child support by combining the net incomes of both parents and using the Florida law – standard needs table to find the total amount of support for the number of children you have in common.

Once you have all this information you can:

Please be aware that these calculations are only for informational purposes. Your attorney will make sure all child support calculations are correct and complete.

Alimony is a legal requirement to financially support an ex-spouse for a specific amount of time after a divorce or separation.

The court considers certain factors when deciding alimony, such as:

  • The standard of living and lifestyle of the marriage
  • Age and general health of each spouse
  • How long you both were married to each other
  • The sum of each party’s assets
  • The role each of you played in the marriage
  • Employment prospects for the lower earning spouse
  • Income disparity between spouses
  • Child Support
  • Tax penalties

As there is not a set formula to calculate alimony, it is largely determined by what previous cases were awarded. You can view the factors judges must consider when awarding alimony here. It also outlines the types of alimony and when it would be appropriate to award them.

Under Florida law, income is considered any payment you and your spouse receive from basically any source. These sources could include but are not limited to: employment (including bonuses, commissions, overtime, and tips), business compensation, disability benefits, worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation, pension and annuity payments, social security, alimony, interest and dividends, net rental income, royalties, trusts and estates, reimbursed expenses that reduce living expenses and recurring gains from dealing in property.

Then, allowable deductions will be taken into account for each spouse to determine their net incomes. These deductions include:

  • Federal, state and local tax deductions – adjusted for the person’s actual filing status and allowable dependents
  • Income tax liabilities
  • Social Security and Medicare withholdings
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Mandatory retirement payments
  • Health insurance payments (not including payments for a minor child’s coverage)
  • Court-ordered support for other children which is actually being paid
  • Spousal support paid under a court order from a previous marriage

In addition to the above, if the court determines that you are underemployed they may decide to calculate how much you should be earning based on your skills and work history. This is referred to as “imputed income” and this figure would then be used as the basis for alimony or child support determinations. The only exception to this would be if the court finds the parent is underemployed due to physical or mental issues they have no control over.

It’s about to change for divorces finalized after January 2019. Effective January 1, 2019, alimony will no longer be tax deductible to the person paying the alimony and taxable as income to the recipient. The party paying alimony will no longer receive an off the top deduction. Alimony will become much more expensive for the one that is required to pay the alimony. However, alimony will also no longer be counted as income to the spouse that is receiving the alimony. The new alimony tax laws only apply to divorce finalized after January 1, 2019. The bill is not retroactive and will not impact current alimony agreements.

Alimony is based on need and on ability to pay. There is no standard formula to use when calculating alimony at the moment. There are many factors to be considered (see above). Plus, the type of alimony being awarded will play a factor in amounts and duration. That said, the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) provides a guideline for calculating a starting point for alimony negotiations:

30% of Payer’s Gross Annual Income – 20% of Payee’s Gross Annual Income = Yearly Alimony Estimate

However, there are so many factors to consider that it would be best to consult with your attorney to get an alimony estimate that is more accurate for your unique case.

Questions About the Time Involved with Divorce

An uncontested divorce can take as little as four to five weeks. This means that both you and your spouse agree on all aspects of the divorce settlement. If there are contested aspects, it’ll take longer.

Generally speaking, a dissolution of marriage in Florida can take anywhere from 5 to 20 months. If you and your spouse agree on the settlement points, the time can greatly decrease to four or five weeks. If there are contested points, or if either party dawdles during the discovery or negotiation process, time increases. The time of a divorce depends on how efficient and agreeable you and your ex-spouse are during the process. For more information on the divorce process, go here.

There’s time associated with each step of the process. There is time involved in gathering relevant information. There is time involved in mediation and negotiations. And, there’s a significant amount of time that comes into play if the case goes to court. Then, there’s the normal time the court clerk takes to file and process the petition, any motions (if needed), and the final judgment.

If you’d like to discuss how to limit the time it takes and get your divorce completed in as efficient a fashion as possible, contact us.

Questions About Dating Before the Divorce is Final

Adultery or cheating can affect three areas of a divorce: distribution of assets, alimony, and timesharing plans. If the non-cheating spouse can demonstrate that there were marital resources spent by the cheating spouse in the adulterous relationship, then the court may compensate the non-cheating spouse for the loss by unevenly distributing assets or debts. In addition, adultery may affect the amount of alimony awarded. The Florida law that controls alimony states that, “the court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.”

Then, the court may also look at how the affair has affected any child(ren) within the marriage and can determine the “moral fitness” of a parent when considering parental rights and obligations. If it’s determined that the paramour of a cheating spouse is not in the best interests of the child(ren), timesharing may be affected for that parent.

While dating during a divorce isn’t prohibited, it isn’t smart. Avoid dating before the dissolution of marriage is final. It may overly complicate proceedings if you’re still in mediation. Often, if your spouse discovers it, they may be more difficult to negotiate with and may change their strategy. Adultery or cheating can affect distribution of property, alimony, and how much time you get to spend with your kids

Florida does not legally prohibit dating during the divorce process. That said, if your spouse does date before your marriage is legally terminated and marital assets were used, you may choose to request property compensation or additional alimony. You may also wish to change the timesharing plan to protect your children. This is a sensitive subject and if you feel the new relationship of your ex is detrimental to you or your children, consult with your attorney .

Questions About Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement(“prenup” for short) is a written contract created by two people before they are married. A prenup typically lists all the property each person owns (as well as any debts) and specifies what each person’s property rights will be after the marriage.

While prenups have traditionally been used to protect the wealth of the rich, there are other reasons you might wish to use one:

  • If you have children from a prior relationship and wish to protect what those children get should you die. Without a prenup, your spouse could get a larger share of your property than you’d prefer.
  • You may simply want to clarify your financial rights and obligations.
  • You may want to avoid disagreements should a divorce occur by outlining who gets what.
  • You can also use a prenup to protect you and your spouse from each other’s debts.

Merging the financial lives of two people is challenging. A prenuptial agreement clearly states what each person is bringing into the relationship and what they’ll take out of it, should a divorce happen. Contact us for further information on how we can help you with a prenuptial agreement.

The best approach is to simply be strait forward about it. That said, avoid simply blurting out “I want a prenup.” It’s a sensitive topic and you want to handle your fiancé’s emotions with care. Here are some tips to broaching the topic:

  • Ease it into an existing conversation about finances.
  • Make sure the two of you are alone and can both reasonably discuss its details.
  • Stress how a prenup will help and protect your fiancé.
  • Reassure your loved one that your intention is to protect his or her financial independence, as well as yours. Bring up how a prenup can protect a child’s inheritance, if there are children from a previous relationship involved.
  • Be honest about your concerns and expectations. If you support these with what formed them and why, your fiancé may be more receptive.
  • Listen to your fiancé’s concerns and expectations. Validate them.
  • Don’t get angry and expect to talk about the prenup more than once. Both of you will need to process it and what you want it to cover. This won’t happen in one discussion.
  • Infuse the discussion with as much love and care as you can. While a prenup is a sensible business-like action to take, your intended needs to know of your commitment to them.